Privacy and data protection
South Somerset District Council is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services. The Privacy Notice below explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy.
View our Data Protection Policy here.
We have a Data Protection Officer who makes sure we respect your rights and follow the law. If you have any concerns or questions about how we look after your personal information, contact the Data Protection Officer, Brendan Downes, at DPO@southsomerset.gov.uk or by calling 01935 462462 and asking to speak to the Data Protection Officer.
The law allows us to use your personal information. There are a number of legal reasons why we need to collect and use your personal information.
Generally we collect and use personal information in the where:
- you, or your legal representative, have given consent
- you have entered into a contract with us
- it is necessary to perform our statutory duties
- it is necessary to protect someone in an emergency
- it is required by law
- it is necessary for employment purposes
- you have made your information publicly available
- it is necessary for legal cases
- it is to the benefit of society as a whole
- it is necessary to protect public health
- it is necessary for archiving, research, or statistical purposes
- it is required to assess and award grant payments
We only use the information that we need. Where we can, we'll only collect and use personal information if we need it to deliver a service or meet a requirement.
If we don't need personal information we'll either keep you anonymous if we already have it for something else or we won't ask you for it. For example in a survey we may not need your contact details we'll only collect your survey responses.
If we use your personal information for research and analysis, we'll always keep you anonymous or use a different name unless you've agreed that your personal information can be used for that research.
If we have consent to use your personal information, you have the right to remove it at any time. If you want to remove your consent, please contact our Data Protection Officer and tell us which service or services you're using so we can deal with your request.
National Fraud Initiative (NFI)
The Local Authorities and the Registered Providers are under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.
The Cabinet Office is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
The partner Local Authorities and the Registered Providers participate in the Cabinet Office's National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud and are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise.
Links to other websites
SSDC websites contain hyperlinks to websites owned and operated by third parties. This privacy notice does not cover the links contained on this site which takes you to another website. These third party websites have their own privacy policies and you are encouraged to read the privacy statements on the other websites that you visit.
SSDC is only responsible for the content it inputs on its own website and social media and we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any other content including links to third party websites. Your use of such websites is at your own risk.
Social networking sites
We may monitor and respond to comments or opinions on social networking sites, for example Facebook and Twitter.
General Election privacy notice
You can view a copy of our General Election privacy notice online.
Changes to this privacy notice
We keep our privacy notice under review and if this privacy notice changes in any way, an updated version will be placed on this page. If you think there are any errors or you have any other comments or queries on the content of this Privacy Notice, contact us
How to contact us
If you are not happy with the way in which we have processed and dealt with your personal information then you can make a complaint using the Council's complaint procedure.
If, after following the complaints process, you are still unhappy then you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner.
Do you know what personal information is and what 'special' personal information is?
Personal information can be anything that identifies and relates to a living person. This can include information that, when put together with other information, can then identify a person. For example, this could be your name and contact details.
Some information is 'special' and needs more protection due to its sensitivity. It's often information you would not want widely known and is very personal to you. This is likely to include anything that can reveal your:
- sexuality and sexual health;
- religious or philosophical beliefs;
- physical or mental health;
- trade union membership;
- political opinion;
- genetic/biometric data;
- criminal history.
Why do we need your personal information?
We may need to use some information about you to:
- deliver services and support to you;
- manage those services we provide to you;
- train and manage the employment of our workers who deliver those services;
- help investigate any worries or complaints you have about your services;
- keep track of spending on services;
- check the quality of services; and
- to help with research and planning of new services.
Who do we share your information with?
We may share your personal information across the Council and with other partner organisations, where this is necessary, e.g. to provide a service. We will never share your personal information with a third party unless we have a lawful reason to do. We sometimes share your information when we feel there's a good reason that's more important that protecting your privacy. This doesn't happen often but we may share your information:
- in order to find and stop crime and fraud; or
- if there are serious risks to the public, our staff or to other professionals;
- to protect a child; or
- to protect adults who are thought to be at risk, for example if they are frail, confused or cannot understand what is happening to them.
We use a range of organisations to either store personal information or help deliver our services to you. Where we have these arrangements there is always an agreement in in place to make sure that the organisation complies with data protection law.
We'll often complete a privacy impact assessment (PIA) before we share personal information to make sure we protect your privacy and comply with the law.
Where your information is shared, we'll make sure that we record what information we share and our reasons for doing so. We'll let you know what we've done and why if we think it is safe to do so, unless we are not required to do so. For example if a person is under investigation for fraud, letting them know that an investigation is taking place may disrupt the investigation so we would not need to tell them.
Will I be contacted for marketing purposes?
We do not make your personal details available to third parties for marketing purposes and SSDC will only send you marketing emails and otherwise contact you for marketing purposes if you sign up to a mailing list, for example, to the Octagon Theatre so you could be kept informed of forthcoming shows, or otherwise asked to be kept informed.
If you wish to have your name removed from a mailing list or have any questions, contact DPO@southsomerset.gov.uk.
What you can do with your information
The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us, and how it is used by us. Find more information about is available.
How do we protect your information?
We'll do what we can to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we'll only make them available to those who have a right to see them. Examples of our security include:
- Encryption, meaning that information is hidden so that it cannot be read without special knowledge (such as a password). This is done with a secret code or what's called a 'cypher'. The hidden information is said to then be 'encrypted'.
- Pseudonymisation, meaning that we'll use a different name so we can hide parts of your personal information from view. This means that someone outside of the Council could work on your information for us without ever knowing it was yours.
- Controlling access to systems and networks allows us to stop people who are not allowed to view your personal information from getting access to it.
- Training for our staff allows us to make them aware of how to handle information and how and when to report when something goes wrong.
- Regular testing of our technology and ways of working including keeping up to date on the latest security updates (commonly called patches).
Where in the world is your information?
The majority of personal information is stored on our systems in the UK. But there are some occasions where your information may leave the UK either in order to get to another organisation or if it's stored in a system outside of the EU.
We have additional protections on your information if it leaves the UK ranging from secure ways of transferring data to ensuring we have a robust contract in place with that third party.
We'll take all practical steps to make sure your personal information is not sent to a country that is not seen as 'safe' either by the UK or EU Governments.
If we need to send your information to an 'unsafe' location we'll always seek advice from the Information Commissioner first.
How long do we keep your personal information?
There's often a legal reason for keeping your personal information for a set period of time, we try to include all of these in our retention schedule.
For each service the schedule lists how long your information may be kept for. This ranges from months for some records to decades for more sensitive records.
Our retention schedule is currently under review and is not complete. If you cannot find information you are looking for, contact DPO@southsomerset.gov.uk.
What can you do with your personal information
Find out more about your rights by visiting our page what can you do with your personal information.
Where can I get advice?
If you have any worries or questions about how your personal information is handled , contact our Data Protection Officer at DPO@southsomerset.gov.uk or by calling 01935 462462 and asking for the Data Protection Officer.
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.
Alternatively, visit ico.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.