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South Wales Central Coroner's Service Privacy Notice Information

How we use your personal information in the South Wales Central 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 South Wales Central 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.

The South Wales Central Area represents the following Local Authorities: 

  • Bridgend County Borough Council
  • Cardiff City Council
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
  • Powys County Council
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council. 

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council is the Relevant Authority for the South Wales Central Area.

2.    What and whose personal information we hold?

Although the Coroner’s role is to investigate certain deaths, and personal information relating to the deceased is not covered by Data Protection Legislation, they will be processing personal information relating to individuals as part of their investigation process. The personal information processed could relate to:

  • Family members
  • Witnesses
  • Staff within the Coroner’s office dealing with the case
  • Other professionals whose expertise or professional opinions have been sought
  • Colleagues from other organisation who are part of the investigation, e.g. Police officers, ambulance staff, pathologists, jurors, medical professionals, NHS staff, solicitors, funeral directors, psychologists, prison staff, probation workers or any other individual connected with the investigation.

The type of personal information may include, but will not be limited to:

  • Name
  • Maiden name
  • Home address and postcode 
  • Telephone number
  • Date of birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Email address
  • Marital Status
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Photographs
  • 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 the individuals involved in the investigation process. For example, by providing:

  • Witness statements
  • An antecedent
  • A eulogy
  • Expert opinions / reports
  • Police reports
  • Photographs

4.    What will we 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 to undertake these investigations, create reports and documentation to be discussed at an inquest with a jury, and potentially press present.

If you are a family member of the deceased, your contact details will be used to keep you informed and up to date with the investigation.

5.    What is the legal basis for the use of this information?

Data Protection law says that we are allowed to use and share personal information only where we have a proper and lawful reason for doing so.

Our lawful basis for processing personal information as the South Wales Central Coroners Service in order to meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is as follows:

Personal Information:

Article 6 1.(c),(e) - to fulfil our legal and statutory obligations under the:

  • The Coroners and Justice Act 2009
  • The Notification of Death Regulation 2019
  • The Coroners (Investigation) Regulations 2013
  • Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

If any special category information is required to be processed, i.e. information about a person’s race, ethnic origin, politics, religion, trade union membership, genetics, biometrics, health, sex life or orientation, this will be processed in line with the legislation detailed above.

6.    Does the service share my personal information with any other organisation?

Data protection legislation states that we are allowed to share personal information where we have a legitimate reason for doing so.

From time to time, depending on the nature of the investigation, we may need to share any personal information we have gathered as part of the investigation with other organisations. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • 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

Additionally, as all inquests take place in an open court, members of the public and the press have the right to attend and to report on proceedings. Some personal information may be disclosed at the court hearings, but this will be limited.

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 20 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).

Click here for further information 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:

By telephone : 01443 281100

In writing : HM Coroner, South Wales Central Area, The Old Courthouse, Courthouse Street, Pontypridd, CF37 1JW