Your information rights
Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the full impact of COVID-19 there are likely to be disruptions to our services. At the moment, we are focusing on high priority work and the remainder will be subject to delays. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to help protect personal data. It sets out rules and conditions which Gloucestershire County Council must follow when collecting and using this data. It aims to ensure that people know where their data is held, what it is used for and who it is shared with.
The GDPR allows you to access your personal information - a request for your personal information is known as a subject access request.
If you would like to request access to adoption records, please note that there is a different process to follow, via Adoption West
Do you hold my social care records?
If you have had involvement from social care in your life, there may be written information about you held by Gloucestershire County Council.
If you would like to obtain a copy of any information held, please follow the steps below.
If you have a social worker, you may wish to talk to them about seeing your files. They can help you to submit a request.
How do I ask to see information about me?
You can request access to information held about you either verbally (in person or by phone), or in writing.
You must provide your name, address, date of birth, and details of the information you are requesting. Please provide as much information as you can to help us locate the data such as previous addresses, names of social workers/contacts within Gloucestershire County Council. You must also provide proof of identification. This may be:
- a copy of your birth certificate or
- a copy of your passport or
- a copy of your driving licence or
- verification by a Council Officer who has been working with you or
- if you cannot provide any of the above, a copy of 2 different utility bills and/or bank statements from within the past 3 months
- proof of change of name (if applicable)
Once you have your proof of identity ready you can complete the online form to request information.
Documents can be uploaded when completing the online form, emailed to email@example.com, or brought in to Shire Hall in person.
Please note we will not acknowledge or deal with requests requiring us to open links to portals or websites acting as intermediaries. Please make your request as described above so that it may receive prompt attention.
The Council has a Information Rights policy and Subject Access supporting procedures which details our approach to requests for personal information, these documents can be found on our Information Management and Security policies page.
If you would like to request access to adoption records, please note that there is a different process to follow, via Adoption West - You can access your birth records if you don’t have them because you were adopted.
You need to be 18 or over to do this.
Everyone adopted before 12 November 1975 will need to attend a counselling session with an approved adoption advisor first.
Do I have to pay to access my personal information?
No. As required by GDPR there is no charge for access to personal information, unless the Council deems that the request is 'manifestly unfounded' (e.g. malicious or disruptive) or 'excessive', in which case we are allowed to charge a reasonable fee.
Can someone else make the request for me?
You can authorise someone to make the request for you - this could be a parent, solicitor or another adult. You must provide them with written authorisation for them to do this, which they will need to provide to us along with a copy of your and their ID.
Where a person is not able to understand or exercise their rights because they are too young (under 13) or unable to fully understand (e.g. if they suffer from a severe mental impairment) then access requests may be made by parents or other persons who are legally able to act on their behalf. You must provide proof of this, for example by sending us proof of parental responsibility or a copy of correspondence confirming power of attorney.
Can I request information for or about someone else?
Your child's records
As a parent or guardian you can request access to school records until your child is 18 years old. This should be done directly to the school or college that your child attends. You may be charged photocopying costs. For information other than school records, if your child is over the age of 13, and they understand what access to their information means, they must provide consent for their information to be disclosed. If your child is under 13 you will need to prove parental responsibility.
Another adult's records
You must have their written consent or a power of attorney:
- Written consent - You must provide us with the written authorisation for you to make the request on their behalf, along with a copy of your and their ID.
- Lasting Power of Attorney (PoA) -If you have PoA for another adult and are making a request on behalf of that person, you need to provide us with a copy of the PoA along with your request. We cannot process your request until we have received the PoA and all relevant proofs of identification.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which cover different decisions you can make and information you can access for that person:
- Health and Welfare - this allows you to receive information about things like their daily routine (e.g. eating and clothes), medical care, moving them into a care home, and refusing life-sustaining treatment.
- Property and financial affairs - this allows you to receive information relating to paying their bills, collecting their benefits, or selling their home, not information about their welfare or social care.
The type of PoA will affect the amount of information we are able to release to you.
I am a child; can I get access to my files?
- You can request access to your own information if you are 13 or older and/or able to understand the impact of accessing your information.
- You can agree for someone else to access your information.
- If you are under 13 and/or not able to fully understand the process your parents or other person with parental responsibility can access your information on your behalf.
If your parent or other person with parental responsibility is making the request on your behalf, the Council will not give information to them that:
- You gave to us knowing that it would not be shared with them.
- You gave as a result of any examination or investigation knowing that it would not be shared.
Can I request my school files?
You can, however this would need to be requested directly to the school, who will then handle the request.
I have requested to see my personal information - what happens next?
By law we must provide you with a copy of your information within 1 calendar month of receipt of your request and all relevant identifications. However, we will provide you with your information as soon as possible. In some circumstances, we may need to extend the response time. We will try to keep you updated on the progress of your request and inform you of any delays that may occur. If we do not hold the information you have requested we will inform you as soon as possible.
If there is not enough information to complete the request or we have not received the correct documentation, you will be sent a request for the appropriate documents.
How will I receive the information?
You can choose whether you receive the information via email, or in paper. If you have requested paper copies, you can either receive this information through the post or you can arrange to come to the Council's main reception at Shire Hall in Gloucester to pick it up. In some circumstances you may wish to view your file with a member of staff or someone you trust for support.
If you provided us with an email address we will try to send you the information via secure email; however, if this is not possible we will post it to an address provided.
When will I receive my information?
Once we have received all required proof of identity/consent we have one calendar month to return your information to you, however, if the request is complex, this deadline can be extended up to a further two months. You will be kept updated on the progress of your request and when you will expect to receive a response.
How much information will I receive?
You will need to be clear on where we are required to search for your information, e.g. Social Care files, Parking, HR etc. If you are aware of names and/or dates, these can also help speed up the process and get you more specific information.
If you can specify a date range, this can help. You can receive information for up to the time of your request.
Other partner organisations may also hold your personal data, to receive this, you will need to contact them directly, please see some below:
City Councils, GP’s, Hospitals, Police, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Will I be able to see all the information held on me?
There are legal reasons under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 that mean we may have to withhold some information from your file. These are known as exemptions. We will tell you if any information has been taken out of the copy provided to you and why. There may be other reasons why some information is not released to you, in most cases we will explain these to you.
What support is available to me when I receive my files?
Depending on the sensitivities in your files, you may wish to have a social worker or professional to be with you to talk through some of the documents. We will offer this is we see suitable prior to sending the response to you, however, you may also request this following receipt of your files. It might be handy to use our Jargon Buster to assist with understanding any GCC jargon and acronyms used in the files.
What if I think the information is wrong?
You have a right to request that the council corrects any data we hold about you that you feel is incorrect. If you think any information recorded about you is wrong, you should tell the council straight away. For further information, please see our Information Rights Policy, also see our Right to Objection, Rectification, and Erasure documents to the right of this page for more information on your rights.
What do I do if I think I have not been given all of the information I asked for or if the Council has breached my or someone else's information rights?
If you feel that you have not been given all of the information you requested, please contact the Information Management Service in the first instance.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this, or if you believe the Council has breached someone's information rights, you can appeal to the Council through its Information Compliance Complaints Procedure or you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner's staff will look into the matter on your behalf.
Who is the Information Commissioner?
The Information Commissioner enforces and oversees the GDPR, the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The Commissioner is a UK independent supervisory authority, which reports directly to the UK Parliament and has both an international and national role. For more information on the Commissioner and the Act visit the Information Commissioner's OfficeOpens new window
Contact the Information Management Service
Gloucestershire County Council
First Floor, Block 4a - Shire Hall
In recognition of our commitment to Care Leavers accessing their personal records, the Care Leavers Association has awarded Gloucestershire County Council with the CLEARmark award which is valid until September 2020.