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Privacy notice for Councillors

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) elected Councillors are committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services and when you approach a Councillor for assistance or a response to a query.

This Privacy Notice explains how SWT Councillors use information about you and how, together, we protect your privacy.

Using your personal information

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:

  • sexuality and sexual health
  • religious or philosophical beliefs
  • ethnicity
  • physical or mental health
  • trade union membership
  • political opinion
  • genetic/biometric data
  • criminal history

In order for the elected Councillors to deal with your request for assistance or respond to your query, it is necessary for them to collect, store and process your personal information to provide you with the relevant information, services or support requested.

Generally Councillors will use your personal information based on the public interest or substantial public interest condition when dealing with your request for assistance or responding to your query. Where a Councillor wishes to use your personal data for a different reason, they will gain your prior consent.

If a Councillor has your consent to use your personal information, you have the right to remove your consent at any time. If you want to withdraw your consent, please contact your Councillor directly.

Where they can, Councillors will only collect and use personal information that they need to help deal with your request or query.

If they don't need personal information they'll either keep you anonymous or they won't ask you for it.

To assist in dealing with your request or responding to you query Councillors may need to share some of your personal information with our Officers. They may also need to share your personal information with other relevant agencies and bodies, such as local authorities, government agencies, public bodies, health trusts and support organisations.

Any sharing will be made on a case-by-case basis; using the minimum personal information required, with the appropriate security controls in place and on a 'need to know' basis. Where the information is shared with another relevant agency or body, they will inform you of with whom it was shared, unless there is a legal reason not to do so.

When campaigning for election, as the representative of a political party, Councillors can use personal information, such as mailing lists, legitimately held by their parties. However, personal information they hold in their role as your local representative, such as complaints casework, should not be used without your consent.

Councillors will only keep your personal information for as long is required to deal with your request or query. In the main Councillors will review all records containing personal information every six months and delete those that are no longer needed. Where information is shared with an Officer of the Council, the council’s own retention schedule will apply.

Your rights

The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by a Councillor and how it is used. If you wish to exercise any of these rights, you should contact the Councillor directly.

You have the right to request a copy of the information that a Councillor holds. This is known as a Subject Access Request.

You have a right to correct data that a Councillor holds about you if it is inaccurate or incomplete.

In certain circumstances you can ask for the data a Councillor holds about you to be erased from their records.

Where certain conditions apply you have the right to ask Councillors to restrict [quarantine] their processing of your data.

In certain circumstances you have the right to have the data a Councillor holds about you transferred to another organisation.

You have the right to object to certain types of processing, such as direct marketing.

You have the right to ask for a decision made on wholly automated basis which legally affects you to be reviewed by a human being.

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
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.

Alternatively, visit Information Commissioner's Office website or email casework@ico.org.uk.