One of the main rights which the Data Protection Act gives you is the right of access to your personal information. If you receive children’s social care services from the Trust or from Doncaster Council, or have done in the past, you can ask to see your records by making a subject access request. Requests to the Trust are handled under an agreement with Doncaster Council.
- How do I access my file?
If you wish to make a formal request to view your records under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation, please write to:-
Doncaster Children's Services Trust
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- What records can I see?
You can see all the records we hold about you, both on paper or on computer, except for:
- third party information that has been given in confidence about you by someone who hasn't given their permission for you to see it. 'A third party' can be, for example, a member of your family or a friend. Although this information is about you, it isn’t yours in the same way that, for example, information you have provided is, and you don’t have a right to see it without the permission of the person who provided it,
- information that relates to criminal offences or information that is being used to detect or prevent crime (for example, by the police)
- information that could cause physical or mental harm to you or someone else
If there is any doubt about your seeing any part of your records, a social worker from the relevant department will make an assessment of the situation. They will ensure that you are able see as much of your record as possible. In some instances the information in your file may be edited to protect the privacy of other people mentioned in it.
- Where can I see my records?
- If you make a request to see your records, once we have prepared them, we normally ask you to come to one of our offices to see them. We make sure that you have enough time to look through your records in private, and that a member f staff is available to answer any questions. You will receive a copy of the records you view to keep, if you wish. If you are unable to come into the offices, you can opt to have the information hand delivered or sent to you, this will be sent using First Class Recorded Delivery.
- How quickly can I see my records?
We aim to disclose your records to you within 1 month of receiving a valid request, together with the necessary identification documents (if requested).
To enable your request to be processed as quickly as possible, please provide us with as much information as you can. We will acknowledge your request and before a deadline date is provided we will check our records to establish if we need to contact you for further information or to identify other people, such as family members, who may have contributed to your records, this will enable us to ask permission for you to see what they have said. In some cases there may be circumstances that make it impossible to provide the records within 1 month and, if this is the case, we will let you know. If we no longer hold your records, we will write to you to and provide an explanation.
If you are to be invited in to view your file we will contact you to make arrangements for you to see them. If you are unable to make that date and time a suitable alternative will be made at your convenience.
- What identification documents will I need?
When making a request you will need to give us proof of your identity and address before you can see your records. Please do not send originals. We accept the following as proof of identity:
- copies of passports
- medical cards
- driving licences
- birth certificates and deed poll or marriage certificates if your name has changed
We accept the following as proof of address:
- recent utility bill
- bank statement
- driver’s license etc
If you are applying on someone else’s behalf, you will need to provide proof of their identity as well as your own. See ‘Seeing Someone Else’s Records’ below for further information.
- Can I have my records in large print?
Please let us know in advance if you want the information in your file provided in large print, in Braille, or translated into another language. We can also arrange for someone to read the information to you.
- Is there a charge for seeing my records?
In most cases we cannot charge a fee to comply with a subject access request. However, where the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive you may charge a “reasonable fee” for the administrative costs of complying with the request. The Trust can also charge a reasonable fee if you request further copies of your data following a request. The fee incurred will be based on the administrative costs of providing further copies
If the charge is requested, the 1 month processing period will not start until we receive your payment.
- What if my records are wrong?
If factual details are wrong (such as your date of birth) we will correct them when you give us proof of the changes you want us to make. If you disagree with what is written in your records – for example, if your view of what happened is different from what has been recorded – we will add your account of events to your file. We need to receive this request in writing and the Trust has 1 month to investigate and make any necessary changes to your records. We will write to you to tell you what action has been taken.
- Who else can apply to see my records?
- authorised members of staff, but only for work purposes
- staff from other organisations, if you agree that they can – but only as much as they need in order to provide you with a service
- anyone who has contributed to your records – but only the parts that they have supplied. However, this would not apply if it could cause harm to you or someone else
- anyone that you agree can see your records – for example, a member of your family
- Seeing someone else's records - Applying on behalf of someone else for them to see their records
If someone using our services is unable to make their own request to see their records, but wants to see them, you can apply on their behalf if:
- you have parental responsibility for them
- you are the person named as a Deputy for Health and Welfare on a Court of Protection Order
- you have valid and registered Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare for the
- you have written consent or a Form of Authority from them
- If you are acting on behalf of someone, but you don't have an official right to do so (as listed above), please contact us to discuss the situation whereby we will take advice from our legal department.
- Seeing another living person's records
- a decision as to whether you can see the records you asking for will be based on the information you provide you can only see someone else's records, even if they are a close family member, if they give permission for you to see them
- parents do not have an automatic right to see their child's records. However, we will allow a parent to see their child's file in certain circumstances, such as when the person holds parental responsibility and/or their child gives permission (if they are old enough to do so, under the Data Protection Act this is 13). We may ask for proof that a person holds parental responsibility e.g. the child’s birth certificate. In some cases we may allow a parent to see their child's file if we believe it is in the child's best interest
- holding an Enduring Power of Attorney, a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Affairs or if you are named as a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection for Property and Affairs for someone does not give you the right to see their personal records, as the powers are limited only to the management of their property and affairs. A care manager decision may be sought to see if it is in the client’s best interests. Information disclosed may be limited
- If you ask to see someone else's records you should apply in writing and enclose a written authorisation from the person whose records you are requesting to see. This authorisation should say that they agree to you seeing their records, and that this agreement was given willingly. You will need to provide proof of your own identity and that of the person whose records you are asking to see.
- Seeing the records of someone who is mentally ill
If someone is mentally ill – that is, has any condition that either permanently or temporarily impairs their mental functioning – they may not be in a position to agree to someone else seeing their records. If this is the situation and you apply to see their file, we will only agree to you seeing it if we think it is in the best interest of the person who is ill, and/or that it would be what they would want.
- Seeing the records of someone who is deceased
It is the Trust’s policy to maintain the confidentiality of a client’s record, even after death. If you want to see the records of someone who has died, you should apply in writing:
Freedom of Information Officer,
DN1 3BU email: email@example.com
Please give enough information for us to identify the records, including the person's address when they were receiving a service from us. You should also include information about yourself such as proof of your identity, your relationship to the person whose records you are asking to see, and details of why you want to see the records. If you are the executor of the person's will and have letters of administration, you should provide proof of this. A decision as to whether you can see the records you are asking for will be based on the information you provide.
- Seeing adoption records
Access to adoption records is covered by the Adoption and Children Act (2002) and the responsibility for maintaining these records is that of the agency who placed the child. If you were adopted through Doncaster Borough Council or the Trust and wish to access your records please contact the Adoptions Team. The team also advises any person living in the Doncaster area on how to access their adoption records. For more information, contact:
If you were adopted before 1976 you must have had an interview with a Counsellor before any information regarding your birth records can be accessed. This application needs to be made to the General Register Office.
General Register Office,
tel: 0151 471 4755
The General Register Office holds the Adopted Children's Register for England and Wales, and will be able to provide you with some information and link you to your Local Authority which will be able to help you find the records you are looking for.
If you are unhappy about the way a request for information has been dealt with you can complain by writing to the Data Protection Officer:-
Data Protection Officer
Doncaster Children’ Services Trust
or by emailing: DCSTDPO@dcstrust.co.uk
If your complaint is in respect of the service you have received please contact our Customer Services team by calling 01302 862845, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to us at Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, Colonnades House, Duke Street, Doncaster, DN1 1ER.
All records are securely held in paper files or on computer, and have strict rules for staff dealing with them. Only authorised staff can access and see records, and only in order to carry out their work. We also have strict rules about who we can pass information on to and what can be passed on.