The Data Protection Act was introduced in 1998 to protect personal data about individuals. The Act protects the data by setting rules and conditions that all users of personal information, including Gosport Borough Council (GBC), must obey when obtaining and using information about you. We keep personal information so that we can provide the people of Gosport with the services they require and maintain a record of the services we provide. The Act also gives you several other rights that we respect. These include your right to:
- ask if we hold personal information about you and what we use the information for
- view or be given a copy of the information
- be given details of other organisations or persons to whom it is disclosed
- ask for incorrect data to be corrected
- be compensated for damage or distress that may be caused by our failure to comply with the Act.
We require your consent if we are going to process data about you for purposes other than those we are required to provide by law.
If you would like to see information you think we hold about you, please complete a Subject Access Request Form. In order to see your information, you must provide details that will enable us to search our records and send a cheque or postal order for £10 made payable to Gosport Borough Council. This charge is to help cover our administration costs. Your request will be processed within 40 days in accordance with the Act.
If the data is incorrect, write and tell us and we will correct it. We will reply to you, telling you what has been done, within 21 days of receiving your suggested amendment. If we do not agree that the information is incorrect, you can ask us to note your disagreement in the personal records we hold on you. You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner (see below) or the courts if we do not correct the information. If you are not satisfied with the action we take, you should write to the Data Protection Officer at GBC. You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner.
You may think we have used your personal data to send you promotional literature or advertising that you do not wish to receive. Please write to the Council requesting us not to use your details for direct marketing. And if you think that the use of your personal data could cause you damage or distress, write stating why we should stop the processing.
Seeing office files and personal information.
You do not have the right to see office files but we will usually show you the information they contain. However, sometimes we cannot show you what is on our files because they may contain personal details about other people. We also cannot let you see papers about matters that we are asking a court to resolve.
In many of our systems we hold personal information about individuals where it is necessary in order to provide the particular service e.g. Housing Benefits. We do not usually let anybody else - even members of the same family - see personal information without the agreement of the individual concerned. Councillors are not permitted to see personal information concerning any individual unless they have that person's explicit consent. However, the law sometimes requires us to pass on information without agreement to other organisations, for example if a court says so.
If you have a query
If you have a query, our staff will usually help you find the information you need or do their best to point you in the right direction for solving your problems. If you think information is being withheld, you should write to your county councillor or to the Manager for the service, setting out what you want to see and why.
To find out more, contact
Linda Edwards, The Data Protection Officer, Gosport Borough Council, Town Hall, Gosport, PO12 1EB (Tel: 023 9254 5401). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (Tel: 01625 545745). www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk (external website)
Subject Access Request Forms
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, you are entitled to receive a copy of the information we hold about you. If you wish to apply for a copy of the information please complete this form so that you can prove your identity and we can locate the information. If you fail to answer any of the questions we may have to contact you again, causing a delay in the process. The Data Protection Act 1998 states that we have 40 days to process your request from receipt of this form, together with the required evidence of identity and the fee. A charge of £10 is required to enable the processing to commence. (Please make your cheque or postal order payable to Gosport Borough Council and enclose it with your completed form). Subject access request forms must be submitted in paper form to Gosport Borough Council's Data Protection Officer, as signatures and evidence of identification are required. You may print your own form, if you have a printer, as an alternative to asking for a form to be sent to you by post.