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Further information about some classes of records subject to access restrictions at Surrey History Centre

Surrey coroner records

Exempt for 30 years. Coroners' records are treated as Court records under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and are covered by an absolute exemption until they are 30 years old.

Inquest papers and coroner records less than 75 years may be subject to access restrictions although requests for access can be made.  However, the coroner is not a public authority within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore not obliged to provide any information requested under the Act.  Surrey History Centre holds information on behalf of the coroner and as such is unable to release information from inquest papers or coroners' records between 30 and 75 years old without the coroner's permission.

A search fee the equivalent of one hour's research is charged to tell you whether or not we hold specific information.  Only after receipt of the fee along with a completed form requesting access to restricted documents can a search be undertaken.  If the requested papers are found permission from the current coroner for Surrey is sought and, if granted, access is allowed.  Requesters should be aware that the above fee is chargeable even if the subsequent search is unsuccessful.

All coroner records, including inquest papers, over 75 years old are open and can be viewed in our search room.

For access to information in coroners' records between 30 and 75 years old, please apply in the first instance to: Modern Records Officer, Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND.

Surrey school records

A recent decision notice by the Information Commissioner has advised that some of the information recorded in school admission registers and log books less than 100 years old can be considered to be personal data if it relates to living or potentially living individuals. Access restrictions will therefore apply to all school admission registers, log books and punishment books less than 100 years old. Requests for access to these types of school record will therefore be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

People seeking access to their own school records/information (Subject Access Requests)

Any person seeking his/her own records (i.e. the data subject under the Data Protection Act 1998) may apply for access subject to provision of two forms of proof of identity, completion of a form requesting access to restricted documents and payment of a Data Protection search fee of £10. Please note that the above fee is chargeable even if the subsequent search is unsuccessful. If the requested information is found we will, if necessary, review any relevant access restrictions in liaison with the depositor of the records and release as much information as we can in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. If a personal file is held relating to the data subject, and permission for access is given, we may need to charge a further fee for supplying a photocopy or digital copy if the applicant is unable to visit us in person to consult the record. The total fee will not exceed £50.

People seeking access to another person's school records/information

Enquiries from persons requesting access to school records of people other than themselves or their children will be treated as requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It may be necessary to charge a fee equivalent to one hour's research (please see our table of fees) to tell you whether or not we hold the specific information you are seeking. The searcher should understand that such a fee is payable even if the requested information is not found.

Any personal information found within the records relating to persons who may still be living will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998; therefore it is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please note that other exemptions may still apply even if all persons named in the record are deceased.

Surrey hospital records

Information recorded in hospital records relating to living or potentially living individuals can be considered to be personal data and should be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. As such, and in view of the nature of these records and the sensitive, sometimes distressing personal information that they may contain, it is necessary to place strict access restrictions on records that name patients for 100 years after the last date in the record. Records relating to hospital staff are similarly restricted for 75 years.

People seeking access to their own hospital records/information (Subject Access Requests)

As with school records above, people seeking their own records (i.e. the data subject under the Data Protection Act 1998) may still apply for access subject to provision of two forms of proof of identity, completion of a form requesting access to restricted documents and payment of a Data Protection search fee of £10. Please note that the above fee is chargeable even if the subsequent search is unsuccessful.

If the requested information is found we will review any relevant access restrictions in liaison with the depositor of the records and release as much information as we can in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. If a personal file is held relating to the data subject, and permission for access is given, we may need to charge a further fee for supplying a photocopy or digital copy if the applicant is unable to visit us in person to consult the record. The total fee will not exceed £50.

People seeking access to another person's hospital records/information

Because of the enduring sensitivity of much of the information contained in hospital records, such information relating to living or deceased individuals within records less than 100 years old will only be released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if no valid exemption applies which would prevent disclosure.

If you are seeking information about a person other than yourself, please note that a search fee the equivalent of one hour's research (please see our fees and charges) will be charged to tell you whether or not we hold the specific information you are seeking. Only after receipt of the fee along with a completed form requesting access to restricted documents can a search be undertaken. If the requested information is found we will review any access restrictions in liaison with the depositor of the records and release as much information as is not deemed to be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Requesters should be aware that the above fee is chargeable even if the subsequent search is unsuccessful.

If a personal file is held relating to the data subject, and permission for access is given, we may need to charge a further fee, at our normal copying rates (please see our fees and charges), for supplying a photocopy or digital copy if the applicant is unable to visit us in person to consult the record.

Surrey care and adoption records

We do hold some Surrey Social Services adoption and care records here, which may contain relevant information if your enquiry relates to adoption or pre-adoption care involving Surrey County Council in some way. Unfortunately, because of the sensitive nature of these records, we cannot divulge any information to searchers directly. Data Protection legislation also places strict controls on the release of information relating to a third party. If searchers require a formal search to be carried out on their behalf they should apply to the duty post-adoption worker at Surrey Adoption and Permanency Services at: Room 26, Runnymede Centre, Chertsey Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 2EP.

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