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Right to access

What is my right?

You have a right to ask the Council if it holds personal information about you, what it uses the information for and to be given a copy of that information.  

How do I make a request and what information do I need to provide?

Your request must include enough information for us to be able to identify you. For example your name, address and date of birth.

It should also contain enough information for us to be able to identify the information you are requesting. Wherever possible we ask that you include reference numbers, dates and details of the service to which the information relates and the names of any officers you’ve had dealings with in the Council.

Providing us with as much information as possible will help us locate the information you are requesting more easily, enabling us to respond to your request more quickly.

Do I need to prove my identity when making a request?

In order for us to be sure that we are providing the right information to the right person, and to speed up your request we ask that you provide us with proof of your identity and address when making the request.

The following is a list of documents that will be accepted as evidence. Copies will be accepted, but we may request sight of original documentation if there is a query as to your identity. 

Proof of identity

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence (Full or provisional)
  • Birth / Adoption Certificate
  • Marriage / Civil Partnership Certificate
  • HM Forces ID Card
  • EU National Identity Card
  • Concessionary bus pass / Disabled bus pass
  • Blue Badge

Proof of address

  • Recent government (DWP, HMRC) letter / document e.g. P45/P60, benefits, pension award letter etc.
  • Bank / Building Society / Credit Card statement
  • Recent utility bill - electricity, gas, water, telephone, mobile phone etc.his can be provided as part of the online application or alternatively by email or post to the address below:

How do I make a request?

You can make your request using the online application form below.

Apply online
If you need to make alternative arrangements due to your protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, we will make suitable adjustments.

Or, alternatively you may make a request by telephoning the Information Management team on 01443 562289.

What happens when the Council receives my request?

Upon receipt of your request we will check the details to ensure that we have everything we need to proceed with your request. If we have all the information we need, your request will be validated. Once validated we will write to you (usually by email if you have provided us with your email address, if not letter) providing a reference number for your request and a date by which you can expect to receive a response.

If we do not have all of the information we need to proceed with your request we will contact you to obtain further information. This may be by email, telephone or letter depending on the contact information you have provided us with. 

How long does the Council have to comply with my request?

Once a request has been validated the Council has one month to provide you with the information it holds about you. Where the request is complex or numerous this may be extended by a further two months. If we need to apply a time extension we will inform you as soon as possible and explain to you why it is necessary.

How will I receive the information?

Wherever possible we will provide you with a hard copy of the information by secure email unless it is impossible for us to do so or you have asked us to provide it in another way e.g. verbally. If we are unable to provide you with a hard copy of the information we will explain to you the reasons why and work with you to find an alternative way to make the information available to you. This may, for example be, an invitation to view the information in person at a Council office at a mutually convenient time 

Can the Council withhold any of my information?

Our starting point is to release all of the information to you unless we have a good reason not to. There are certain circumstances where the information you have asked for may be withheld. The most common reasons for withholding information are listed below:  

If the information you have requested contains information about other people:  

There are some circumstances where the information you have asked for contains information that relates to another person. Unless the other person gives their permission, or it is reasonable in all the circumstances to provide the information without their permission, the Council may withhold this information.

You should be aware, that when dealing with your request the Council may contact the individual to gain permission for their information to be released to you. In order for that individual to make an informed decision about the release of their information to you, it is likely that the Council will need to inform that person that you have made a request and what information the request covers (that relates to them).

If you are aware that the information you have asked for may contain information relating to others and you do not wish for the Council to contact the individual to gain their permission to release their information to you, please let us know when making your request.

If the information you have requested would prejudice an investigation  

There are several situations where the information you have asked for may not be released to you as doing so would prejudice an on-going investigation. 

Example: A person is being investigated for Fraud. The person is not aware of this as the Department is still gathering evidence to support the allegation of fraud. The person submits a subject access request to the Council. Before responding to the request the Council must determine whether disclosing the information relating to the fraud investigation would jeopardise the investigation and would adversely affect the Council’s ability to investigate and prevent criminally fraudulent claims. 

Can I access personal information about my child?  

Even if a child is very young, the information the Council holds about them is still their personal information and does not belong to you as a parent or anyone else. It is the child who has a right of access to the information held about them. 

Information about a child may be requested by and released to a parent or person with parental responsibility. However, the best interests of the child will always be considered before any disclosure is made direct to the parent etc.

Before responding to a request for information held about a child, the Council will consider whether the child is mature enough to understand their rights i.e. that the child is able to understand (in broad terms) what it means to make a subject access request and how to interpret the information they may receive as a result of doing so (this will very much depend on the information requested).

If the Council is confident that a child can understand their rights and interpret the information covered by the request we will respond directly to the child rather than the parent or person making the request.

How do I prove parental responsibility? 

If you are making a request on behalf of a child you must provide the Council with evidence of parental responsibility. Accepted evidence may include a recent:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Adoption Papers
  • Court Order eg: Parental Responsibility / Special Guardianship / Care / Placement
  • Child benefit/tax reward letter

Can I arrange for someone else make a request on my behalf?

Yes. Providing we have written permission from you authorising another person (e.g. a family member, friend etc.) to make a request on your behalf.  

Please note: the information you are requesting may contain sensitive information about you and information that you may consider confidential or private. Before giving your permission for another person to act on your behalf please ensure that you are clear what information will be released as part of the request and that you are happy for your information to be provided directly to that person.

Where the Council has concerns about disclosing your information to the person who is acting on your behalf (for example due to the sensitivity of the information) we may contact you to discuss this further before releasing the information and/or arrange for the information to be sent directly to you.