Councillors privacy notice
Learn about what types of data councillors collect, how they use or share personal data, and what your information rights are.
Published: 22 December 2020
Last updated: 28 January 2021
Councillors represent residents as part of their work in the community.
They contact officers of the council and other organisations on your behalf to investigate your concerns and respond to your enquiries.
They are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a data controller in their own right.
What type of personal data does a councillor collect?
When a councillor deals with your enquiry, they might collect the following information to help you:
- postal address
- contact phone number
- email address
- details of the enquiry
In some cases, such as assisting you with specific issues or specific organisations, they might need more information such as:
- National Insurance number
- reference numbers
- date of birth
- information about your health needs
- details of family members
In some cases, they might handle special category data such as medical information.
How a councillor collects personal information
A councillor might collect information from you in a number of ways, eg:
- when they meet you in the community or at surgeries
- when you telephone or email
- when you send letters
What is a councillor’s power to obtain and use personal data?
To collect and use your personal information, it is necessary for a councillor to have a lawful basis. The ones that cover their work with your personal information are:
- consent - you provide your information and ask them to act on your behalf
- protect your vital interests - such as a life or death situation or to protect you from harm, or the vital interests of another person
- a task in the public interest or because of their role as a councillor - they are authorised to use your personal information
- legitimate interests – they need to process your data for their legitimate interests, or the legitimate interests of a third party
For the special category data, such as your medical information, they rely on the following conditions:
- explicit consent – this will usually be in writing
- protect vital interests – when you are unable to give consent and you or someone else is at risk of harm
- establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity
What is your personal information used for?
It may be used for:
- investigating and responding to your request for advice, guidance or information
- investigating and responding to an enquiry or a complaint you have contacted us about
Will your personal information be shared?
In some cases, to enable the councillor to deal with your issues, they may have to share your information with other organisations such as the DWP, the NHS, or other bodies, such as schools and charities. Where appropriate they may also share your information with other councillors in order to proactively work to resolve the issues you have raised.
Where possible, the councillor should let you know when they have shared information.
There may, however, be instances where it might not be possible to tell you that the information was shared because of public interest issues such as an investigation or a police matter.
When undertaking party political activities your information will only be shared where you have consented to the process.
How do councillors keep your personal information secure?
All councillors are required to keep your information safe and keep it secure. In addition to the security provided by council devices and systems, they should have adequate measures in place to safeguard access to any information you have provided.
How long will councillors keep your personal information?
As part of a councillor’s work keeping track of your case, they will have to hold onto your information. Usually, this will be for 6 years, but it will vary depending on the type of issue involved since that creates different types of records.
Some of your personal information such as that associated with minor correspondence, eg scheduling meetings, is held for less time.
Any information the councillor holds at the end of our term in office is either passed to the appropriate council representative or securely destroyed.
Is your personal information processed overseas?
Usually, councillors will not send your personal information outside the EEA. If they have to, for any reason (such as using cloud computing servers with overseas data centres), they will ensure that it is done within the appropriate procedures and safeguards as set down by the Information Commissioner’s Office (the body that regulates data protection).
At no time will councillors use your information or pass it to another organisation for marketing or sales purposes without your prior express consent.
What are your information rights?
Your information rights are set out in the law. Subject to some legal exceptions, you have the right to:
- have any inaccuracies corrected
- have your personal data erased
- place a restriction on any processing of your data
- object to processing
- request your data to be ported (data portability)
You also have the right to request a copy of the personal information the councillor holds about you. To exercise any of these rights please contact the councillor in the first instance.
To learn more about your rights please visit the Information Commissioner's Office.
In the event of a complaint regarding the processing of your personal data you should contact the councillors involved immediately.
If you do not feel they have properly dealt with your complaint, you can also contact the Information Commissioner's Office.