Data Protection: Asking on Behalf of Others
Making a request on behalf of children, or as someone's carer
Data is valuable and the council has a duty to protect it. Generally, the rights someone has to ask for data about another person (where they are the "data subject") are limited by law.
Making an application
You won't always be entitled to information about someone else, but there are a few circumstances where requests for other people's data might be considered. Some of these are explained below.
Accessing children's records
If you're the parent of a child of school age, there is some information about your child which you have a legal right to see.
Access to your child's educational records are covered by other legislation, and you may ask for copies (for which you may be charged a photocopying fee) directly from your child's school.
A child under the age of eighteen is not automatically assumed to be unable to make decisions for themselves about their personal information. This means that a parent can ask for access to their child's personal information (in other words, by acting as an agent for their child), but if the child is able to understand the nature of the request and their rights, then they should give their permission as well.
If your child doesn't live with you, or legal restrictions on access are in place, we will need to establish your right to act as an agent on their behalf.
Children may also make requests on their own behalf - these don't have to be in writing. If this is the case, a member of staff will talk through what they can see and answer any questions they may have.
Access for carers
If you're a carer for a vulnerable adult, for instance someone who is a relative, friend, or someone you work for in a caring capacity, you may need to ask questions about their care and have access to information that would normally not be available.
You may act as an agent for the person with their permission, or you may have an official legal authority (known as 'power of attorney') to act on their behalf. You can find out more about power of attorney on the GOV.UK website, here.
If the person cannot give their permission, and/or you have no power of attorney, we can discuss with you what information you need and why; special provisions within law may allow us to share information if doing so will help protect the person's interests.
Access through a solicitor
You may also make a request through a solicitor. The solicitor will usually provide a formal statement or form for you to sign which they can then copy to us.
You don't need to use a solicitor to access your own personal information, but where the solicitor is collecting information about someone else (for example related to a court case) this option will be available.
Access to detect or prevent crime
The police and other official organisations (such as other local authorities or government departments) can be provided with personal data if they are able to provide evidence of how the data would:
- prevent or detect crime
- be in the interests of safeguarding children or vulnerable adults
- be used in the interests of national security
These organisations need to be able to explain how the data will help them in order for the request to be considered. The council does not have to agree to provide data if it judges the reasons for the request aren't persuasive enough.
If you're acting on behalf of another council, a government organisation or in an official capacity as a law enforcement officer, then you should email email@example.com with your request, providing sufficient explanation of the purposes for which you need the data.
In the case of the police, this should be done using a standard form countersigned by a senior officer.