Access to personal records

Find out why we hold personal information and what you need to do if you would like to see your files.

Why do we keep information about you? 

When you make contact with social services or the children's trust a file is created. This contains information about your situation, your family, problems you may be facing and the help you are getting now or have used in the past.

We may also include information from other people who can comment on your situation such as a carer or GP. We only keep a record of those details we need to provide you with the best possible care.

Who sees the information we hold about you? 

We take confidentiality very seriously and the Data Protection Act 1998 strictly controls the sharing of sensitive personal information.

We only share information about you if it is genuinely needed by another professional for the provision of your care and we will usually ask your permission before doing so. 

Staff involved in your care will only see the information that is directly relevant to the service they are providing.

Can you see the information we hold on you? 

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a right to find out if we hold any information on you and to request to see our records. We will give you as much information as possible but may have to withhold certain details if: 

  • it is deemed that by providing the information it may cause harm to you or another person 
  • if your file contains information provided by, or about, another person and it is not possible to obtain their consent to disclose that information.

How do you request your files? 

If you would like to see your files you must send a written request to the service(s) providing your care. If services were provided for you a long time ago, please include as much detail as possible to help us find your records.

You may also be asked to provide identification. Once we have all the information we need from you to conduct our search we have 40 days to provide you with access to your file or to explain why we are withholding any information.

A social worker will go through your file with you and explain anything that is unclear. You may also bring a friend or relative if you wish. 

What if you think your records are inaccurate? 

If details such as your address, date of birth or the spelling of your name are incorrect you can ask to have them changed.

If you are unhappy with what has been written in your file you can add a note so that your views are reflected.

If you have a complaint about the way your information has been recorded or used, please contact below.

Westminster City Council is now sharing its adoption service with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

This will help to ensure that children in our care are placed with the best possible families. It also means that we can devote more resources to helping find foster carers for the children who need them.

Last updated: 9 August 2016