Your rights, your information and how we use it
The guidelines for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require us to have a lawful basis for holding someone’s personal information. The lawful basis we have chosen is called “legitimate interests”. This means that, in order to effectively provide independent advocacy for you, we need to hold certain pieces of personal information about you. We will only collect the personal information about you that we need in order to advocate for you. We also ensure that, as far as possible, you will have control over how this information is used.
Information we collect and how it is used
When you first make contact with the service we will ask for information about you including:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your date of birth
- A contact phone number or email address
We use this to keep in contact with you and to create a file on our system to allow us to keep all your information together.
We will also ask you about:
- Details of the issues you would like an advocate to help you with
- Information about any physical or mental health issues you may have
- Any difficulties you may have with communicating with us or other people
- Other people or services that may be helping you at the moment.
We use this information to make sure that we are able to help you, that advocacy is the right service for you and to match you with an advocate.
If someone else contacts us on your behalf to refer you to the service, we will check that you know they are contacting us before we ask them for personal information about you. We will always contact you to check that you wish to use our service and that the information we have been given is correct.
When you have been matched with an advocate they will:
- Keep notes about what you have asked them to do.
- Place in your file any other information or letters you give us about your advocacy issues.
- Keep notes about who we have contacted on your behalf and any information they have given us.
This allows your advocate to explore the advocacy issues with you and keep you informed about the progress.
Who we may share your information with
As part of the advocacy process, other than in the circumstances detailed below, an advocate will only share information with a third party with your consent and in connection with your advocacy issues. Whenever we share your personal information, we will do so in line with our obligations to keep your information safe and secure.
However, in cases where you disclose to us or where we observe that someone may be at risk of harm we are obliged to report this on to the relevant authorities, even when you do not consent. This is the case also if you disclose or we observe that crime may have occurred.
How we protect your information
We take information security very seriously. Any personal information which is collected, recorded or used in any way will have appropriate safeguards applied in line with our data protection obligations. We have procedures designed to minimise loss and protect confidentiality. We regularly review the procedures and ensure staff are familiar with them.
How long we keep your information
We will keep your personal information only where it is necessary in relation to your advocacy issues. When the advocacy issues come to an end, we will discuss options with you in regard to what you want done with your information.
Your individual rights
You have several rights in relation to how we use your information. We have tried to make these part of the usual advocacy process. We have summarised the rights below. More information is available on the website for the Information Commissioner’s Office (www.ico.org.uk). Your advocate can assist you to access further information. The rights are:
Right to be informed about the information we have, why we have it and who we share it with
Right of access to your personal information.
Right to request that your personal information be rectified. If your personal information is inaccurate or incomplete, you can request that it is corrected.
Right to request erasure. You can ask for your information to be deleted or removed if there is not a compelling reason for us to continue to have it.
Right to restrict processing. You can ask that we block or restrict the processing of your personal information for certain reasons.
Right to data portability. You can ask for a copy of your personal information for your own purposes to use across different services.
Right to object. You can object to us processing your personal information. However, as we only hold and process data in connection with your advocacy issues, we would not be able to carry out our advocacy role without this.
How to make a complaint
If you are still unhappy, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Their contact details are as follows:
Information Commissioner’s Office
0303 123 1113