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Elected Councillors are data controllers and accountable for the processing of personal information in connection with requests received from constituents.

Collection of personal data

Councillors may need to collect personal data to process constituents’ requests for assistance or respond to their enquiries. Councillors will only collect the personal data from constituents that is needed to provide them with relevant information, services or support.

Information collected

When constituents ask for their Councillor’s help and assistance, the Councillor will need to collect some information from them.

This will generally include personal information such as name, address and contact information together with details of the problem or concern.

The Councillor may also require personal information known as ‘special category’ information. This data requires more protection due to its sensitivity. This information consists of racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation and sexual life, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, political opinions, genetic data, bio-metric data, physical or mental health and criminal convictions and offences.

It will only be necessary for Councillors to collect this type of information where it is of relevance to the request the constituent is making.

Basis for processing

The legal basis a Councillor will primarily rely on for processing the personal information when dealing with requests from constituents could be one of the following:

  • consent or explicit consent;
  • necessary in pursuit of their legitimate interests as an elected representative and those of constituents (and where it is assessed these interests override any privacy intrusion involved in processing personal data about other individuals), or
  • in their performance of a public task as an elected representative for the purpose of responding to requests from you where this is permissible

The Councillor may also lawfully process a constituent’s data where:

  • it is in the vital interests of a data subject or of another natural person (where processing of the personal data is done to protect someone’s life)
  • If the Councillor needs to process your special category data, to assist you, the legal basis the Councillor will rely on is substantial public interest.

Information sharing

Councillors may need to pass a constituent’s personal details and the circumstances of their query/complaint to Council officers to allow the Council to look into the issue.

If you have contacted your Councillor about a personal or policy issue, your personal data may be passed on to a 3rd party in the course of dealing with your request or query, such as other local authorities, government agencies, public bodies, health trusts and regulators. They may also need to share your information with the other Councillors in the electoral ward so that they are aware that the matter you have raised is being dealt with.

Any third parties with whom data is shared are obliged to keep these details securely, and to only use the data for purposes already communicated.

In any event, Councillors will not use constituents’ personal data in a way that goes beyond reasonable expectations.

Constituents can specifically ask their Councillor to not disclose information identifying them to other third parties However, please be aware that it may not be possible to progress a matter for you on an anonymous basis.

Councillors will never sell constituent’s data onto third parties.

Keeping data safe 

Councillors will take reasonable security measures to ensure personal information within their control is protected from accidental loss or alteration, inappropriate access, misuse or theft.

Providing accurate information 

Councillors need to hold accurate and up to date information about constituents so that appropriate services can be delivered. If any of your details change, please inform your Councillor as soon as possible so that records can be updated.

How long data is kept

Councillors will process personal data until the issue is resolved and store electronic data and paper records for a minimum of 4 years in line with common practice. This is to allow for a build-up of case histories and to be able to return to records when further matters arise.

Constituent's rights

Constituents are entitled to the following rights: 

  • Right of access – you have the right to request a copy of your personal data that is held (by making a Subject Access Request)
  • Right of rectification – you have a right to correct data that is held about you if it is inaccurate or incomplete
  • Right to be forgotten – in certain circumstances you can ask for the data held to be erased from records
  • Right to restriction of processing – where certain conditions apply you have the right to ask to restrict [quarantine] processing of your data
  • Right of data portability – in certain circumstances you have the right to have the data held about you transferred to another organisation
  • Right to object – you have the right to object to certain types of processing, such as direct marketing
  • Right to object to automated processing, including profiling – you have the right to ask for a decision made about you, solely by automated means without any human involvement to be reviewed by a human being

Please also refer to the corporate privacy notice for more information on data protection and your rights.

Data sent to countries outside of the EEA

Generally, a Councillor will not process your personal data outside of the UK or the EEA. In exceptions where they do, they will ensure equivalent data protection controls are in place.

Contact

If you are dissatisfied with how Councillors have used your personal information, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You can also contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer Katrina Waite at dpo@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk.

Updated: 09 May 2022

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