How we use your personal information in the Coroner's Service
The Council provides services for local communities and the people who live in them. Undertaking this work means that we must collect and use information about the people we provide services to and keep a record of those services. Because we collect and use personal information about individuals we must make sure that they know what we intend to do with their information and who it may be shared with.
We have summarised in this privacy notice some of the key ways in which we use your personal information in our capacity of the Coroner's Service to the Council. This information should be read in conjunction with the Council’s corporate privacy notice.
1. Who we are, what we do.
A Coroner is an independent judicial office holder, appointed by a local Council. Coroners investigate deaths that have been reported to them if it appears that:
- the death was violent or unnatural
- the cause of death is unknown, or
- the person died in prison, police custody, or another type of state detention.
In these cases, coroners must investigate to establish the identity of the deceased, along with the circumstance of their death.
2. What and whose personal information we hold?
The Coroner’s Office will hold personal information on at least two categories of identifiable persons:
- Firstly, in relation to a deceased person – although information about deceased individual is outside of the scope of the GDPR living persons may also be directly identified from data which is held about a deceased person, for example the deceased’s next of kin, or their doctor or solicitor. It can also be possible to piece together, indirectly, information about living persons from data the Coroner’s Office may hold on a deceased person; and
- Secondly, in relation to other people the Coroner (or their staff) are in contact with during the course of normal coronial business. Examples include local authority employees (including coroners’ officers), police officers, ambulance staff, pathologists, jurors, registration staff, GPs, NHS Staff, solicitors, funeral directors, witnesses and expert witnesses, members of the public and other interested persons.
In both categories this personal data may include information such as the following:
- Maiden name
- Address and postcode of usual residence
- Date of birth
- Place of Birth
- Email address
- Marital Status
- Bank Account Information
3. Where does the service get my information from?
The information comes from a variety of sources, but in most cases the information comes directly from you following a request from HM Coroner to provide such information. This may be because you are related to the deceased or that you are a witness or juror on a case and the HM Coroner requires your information in order to assist with their enquiries or progress a particular matter.
In addition, outside agencies such as other local authorities; the Police Service or Health Agencies may provide us with personal information.
4. What we will do with your personal information?
It is the duty of Coroners to investigate deaths, which are reported to them. The information collected will be used in the conduct of such investigations. For example, you may be a witness or juror on a case and we need your personal information to advise you of arrangements relating to the case.
5. What is the legal basis for the use of this information?
Coroners are independent judicial officers - this means that they cannot be instructed how to carry out their duties when undertaking an investigation/inquest. They have a wide judicial discretion to conduct investigations into a death and they may make whatever enquiries they deem necessary. When a member of coronial staff (Coroners’ officers, local authority staff, police staff or others) is carrying out activities in pursuit of the Coroner’s powers and responsibilities this is regarded as judicial activity.
The legal basis for processing such information when a Coroner is carrying out judicial activities will generally be that it is necessary for the administration of justice, and as such is a task carried out in the public interest.
However there will be instances where data is not processed for a judicial reason. For example where the Coroner fulfils a personnel, leadership, welfare or other HR function. When carrying out processing for non-judicial purposes the lawful basis will be necessity in the pursuit of a ‘public task’, the exercise of lawful authority vested in them, or legitimate interest.
6. Does the service share my personal information with any other organisation?
From time to time, we may share information with organisations such as:
- Police Service
- Health Agencies
- Local Authorities
Requests may be made by “Interested Persons” for information. The Coroner must disclose relevant (in the Coroner’s opinion) documents upon request as soon as is reasonably practicable.
This information may include:
- post mortem examination reports,
- other reports provided to the Coroner during the investigation,
- any other document the Coroner considers relevant to the inquest (which may include the deceased’s medical records).
There are some circumstance where it may be necessary for the Coroner to refuse the disclosure of information, for example:
- There is a statutory or legal prohibition on disclosure (which may cover privileged material shared only with the Coroner)
- The consent of any author or copyright owner cannot reasonably be obtained
- The request is unreasonable
- The document relates to contemplated or commenced criminal proceedings or the Coroner considers it irrelevant to the investigation
7. How long will my information be kept?
We will only keep your personal information for as long as we need it. However, we are required to retain certain information for a period at the end of our investigations. Coroners case files must be retained for a period of 15 years unless direct otherwise by the Chief Coroner.
8. Your information, your rights
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you important rights, including the right to access the personal information the services hold about you (however please be aware that there is an exemption in respect of exercising certain rights where personal data is processed by a Coroner acting in a judicial capacity).
View further details on your information rights and how to exercise them.
9. Contact us
If you have any concerns or would like to know more about our use of personal information, please contact us in one of the following ways:
By email : Coroneradmin@rctcbc.gov.uk
By telephone : 01443 281100
In writing : HM Coroner, South Wales Central Area, The Old Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Pontypridd, CF37 1JW