Protecting your information

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Access to personal information by Surrey County Council staff

Professionals involved in your and/or your family's care need to be able to frequently access and add to the records we have on you. This enables us to have a detailed and usable record that can be used to deliver the best possible service for your needs.

Professionals who are not regularly involved in your and/or your family's care may also need to access these records. For example, the Emergency Duty Team may need to see these records if there is a crisis out-of-hours, when the professionals you usually have contact with are unavailable. Surrey County Council needs to ensure that appropriate staff can access your records quickly and easily as soon as they are needed.

Duty of confidentiality

Surrey County Council staff have a legal obligation of confidentiality. All information held on you and/or your family is considered to be confidential. Professionals are under a strict obligation to only access this information if it is necessary to do so as a legitimate part of their work. They are subject to disciplinary proceedings if they breach their duty of confidentiality.

Electronic (computer) records

It is a government requirement for local authorities to hold social care records in an electronic format. If Surrey County Council holds a social care record for you and/or your family, at least part of it will be held electronically (on a computer). Surrey County Council is progressively moving towards a situation where all records on its social care service users can be held electronically.

Access to the electronic service user databases that Surrey County Council uses to hold your and/or your family's personal information is restricted. Only staff with a need to access the social care records of service users are granted access to the specific database(s) that are relevant for their work. There are further restrictions in place within these databases dependent on the job function of the staff who have access.

Paper records

Part of your and/or your family's record may also be held in a paper case file. Whilst we are providing you services, these files are held by the individual team with whom you have had contact. Once our contact with you has finished, these paper files will be sent to a secure archive facility.

How long are your records kept?

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, we are legally obliged to only keep personal information for as long as is necessary. This period of time will depend on the reason for our contact with you. Sometimes this is for a period of time that is prescribed by law; other times this is for a period of time that is generally held to be best practice. Please ask the professional or team with whom you have contact if you would like to know how long our records on you will be kept before they are destroyed.

Surrey County Council's data handling guarantee

When we ask you for personal information, we promise:

  • to make sure you know why we need it
  • to only ask for what we need, and not to collect too much or irrelevant information.
  • to protect it and make sure it is only accessed by relevant people.
  • to only share it with other organisations when the law allows, or when we have your consent to do so.
  • to make sure we don't keep it longer than necessary; and
  • not to make your personal information available for commercial use without your permission.

In return, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information; and
  • tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes to your personal details, such as a new address.

This will help us to keep your information reliable and up to date.

Any questions or complaints?

If you have any questions regarding the sharing of your personal data, please contact the Corporate Information Governance Team at Surrey County Council. If you would like to complain about the way your information has been processed, please contact the professional or team involved in supporting you.

Leaflet produced by Surrey County Council about protecting your information

A PDF download of the document 'Protecting your information' is available below, if you would like this document in large print, on tape or in another language please contact us on:

Files available to download

  • Protecting your information leaflet (PDF)
    This leaflet explains access by Surrey County Council (SCC) employees to your personal information, the duty of confidentiality, electronic and paper records and our Data Handling Guarantee.

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