Access to your social care records

Find out what your social care records contain, why we keep them and how you can arrange to see them.

Information we keep about you

We receive and share information about you to provide you with the services you need.

We understand that for some people, giving even the most basic information about themselves is a very sensitive issue. All the information we receive about you is treated as confidential.

We keep records on the services and support you receive. Your information may be written down or held on a computer and may include:

  • basic details about you, such as address, date of birth, next of kin, NHS number and ethnic group.
  • current and past contact we have had with you.
  • notes and reports about your social care, health or housing needs.
  • details and records about the service you receive and who provides the service.
  • relevant information from other providers for example, NHS, voluntary organisation and housing associations.

We keep it for these reasons:

  • to help us to plan and provide your service and support needs.
  • so that we can contact you.
  • so that we know the type and quality of care you have received.
  • to ensure we keep accurate and up-to-date information.
  • to work effectively with other professionals who may also provide care for you, such as health or voluntary organisations and home care providers.

Who can see the information

The only people who have regular access to your records are those involved in providing your care services.

Everyone involved in your service has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential and secure.

When other agencies are involved, they too will have access to your records. However, in these circumstances only the minimum amount of information relevant to your condition is shared.

Your information will not be disclosed to third parties such as partners, relatives, friends or carers without your consent unless:

  • the disclosure is required by law; or
  • the health or safety of others is at risk.

Others in the local authority may need to use some information about you to:

  • review and audit the service we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard;
  • plan services for the future;
  • monitor the way public money is spent;
  • conduct research and improve services;
  • produce statistics for local planning and national comparison;
  • manage care services;
  • train social care or other care workers;
  • help investigate any concerns or complaints about your care;
  • keep track of spending on care services;
  • check the quality of care during inspections; or
  • help to measure performance.

All Local Authorities have a duty to improve the health of the population they serve. To help with this, we use data and information from a range of national and local sources, including hospitals, for public health purposes like understanding more about the nature and causes of disease and ill-health in the area.

Why we share the information

We share information:

  • to reduce the number of times you are asked the same question;
  • to help staff make better and quicker assessments and plans with you; and
  • to enable agencies to work together more efficiently allowing quicker and easier access to services and support from all involved.

Our duties

Our duties are to:

  • keep full and accurate records of the care we provide to you; and
  • keep records about you confidential, secure and accurate.

It is good practice for those providing your care to:

  • discuss and agree with you what they intend to record about you;
  • give you a copy of letters and other documents they write about you;
  • show you what they have recorded about you;
  • ask for your permission to share information with others; and
  • let you know what they have told others about you and who those others are.

Read more about how we protect your personal information(pdf, 386KB).

Your rights

  • You have a right to see your records.
  • You may appoint a person to make the request on your behalf, for example, a trusted family member or a solicitor.
  • You have a right to refuse or withdraw, consent for your information to be shared, however you may be risking the level of care you will receive.

Apply to see your records

You can complete an online subject access request form, or write to the Data Protection Officer at:

Adult and Community Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ

You must give us proof of identification and may have to pay a fee.

Altering the information on your records

You should let us know if you disagree with something written in your file. You may not always be able to change or remove the information. However, we will correct factual inaccuracies and may include your comments in the records.

Updated: 7 September 2016