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8.1.8 Access to Records

AMENDMENT

In December 2013, the contact details/person at Section 7, What is Third Party Information? about this subject or any other data protection issue were updated.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a Data Subject?
  3. What are Data Subjects Entitled to Receive?
  4. How is an Application Made?
  5. How Much Can We Charge?
  6. How Long Do we Have in Order to Respond?
  7. What is Third Party Information?


1. Introduction

The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 1st March 2000. It regulates the holding and processing of personal data that is information relating to living individuals, which is held either on computer or in some cases in manual form. The Act gives enforceable rights to these individuals (known as data subjects) to know about and obtain information held on them by the Council. Those of you who control the manner and the purpose of the processing of personal data are called data controllers.


2. What is a Data Subject?

A data subject is a living person on whom the Council has personal information which is stored by means of electronic or computerised storage or by means of a structured manual filing system. The definition does not include corporate entities such as companies.

Who is entitled to receive the information?

Usually, only the data subject is entitled to receive information held on the Council's relevant files, computer systems and other data such as CCTV. Similarly, the information given must relate only to them and no one else. If the request is from a solicitor on behalf of a client, the solicitor must enclose a written consent from their client to enable the solicitor to receive the information. A parent (including anyone with parental responsibility or anyone with day to day care and control of a child) can also make a request about their child if the child does not have sufficient understanding to make his or her own request. You will need to be satisfied that the child lacks capacity to make a valid application and that the application is in the child's best interests. If the child has capacity, the parent can still make the application provided he or she has been authorised.


3. What are Data Subjects Entitled to Receive?

Technically, the data subject is entitled to receive all the non-exempt information held about himself or herself by the Council. If you have the opportunity, try to find out exactly what the data subject is asking to see so that the search can be narrowed as much as possible. It should be noted that any correspondence between respective departments and the Legal Services Unit is privileged and therefore exempt from disclosure.


4. How is an Application Made?

All requests for information held on the data subject by the Council must be made in writing. If you receive a request over the telephone, ask the data subject to make their request in writing, and we will send them a Subject Access Enquiry Form.


5. How Much Can We Charge?

The Council is entitled to charge £10 per written request.


6. How Long Do we Have in Order to Respond?

Data controllers have up to 40 calendar days in which to respond to a written request accompanied by the fee from a data subject. Remember it is receipt of the fee that triggers the start of the 40 day period, not the written application. Whilst this seems a long time, it should be remembered that data subject access means access to all personal information held by the Council and could easily involve more than one department. Data controllers are therefore advised to act quickly on receipt of a request.


7. What is Third Party Information?

Another reason not to be complacent about he 40 day deadline to respond is the issue of third party information. In some circumstances, responding to a request may involve providing information relating to another individual who can be identified from that information. This is third party information. In most cases, you will need the written consent of that third party before you disclose the information to the data subject.

For further information about this subject or any other data protection issue, please contact

Peter Bode x6634.
Brighton & Hove City Council
Hove Town Hall
Norton Road
Hove East Sussex
BN3 4AH

Telephone number: 01273 296634

End