Seeing your records

If you receive social care services from the Trust or from Doncaster Council, or have done in the past, you can ask to see your records. Requests to the Trust are handled under an agreement with Doncaster Council, and so there is a single Data Protection Officer address for both organisations. It is:

Data Protection Officer
Civic Office
Waterdale
Doncaster
DN1 3BU

Email:

This page explains how we comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, however, this is not a full statement of the law. If you have any questions about the content of this web page or about seeing social care records, please contact the Data Protection Officer.

What are my records?

We need to keeps accurate details about the work we do and the people we deal with. This helps provide an efficient service as possible, ensures we comply with the law, and means we can be held accountable for what we do.

As part of our work we record information about people who are known to our services, and this is kept in their 'files'. This may be kept partly on computer and partly as a paper record. It will contain details of discussions about the help they need and these are added to the file as they happen. Copies of letters and records of phone calls are also stored in your file – and if anyone else, such as your doctor, gives us information about you, this is added as well. We also keep a note of next of kin and details of ethnic origin should it be relevant for when people meet with us, for example if they need an interpreter.

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.

How long is the information kept for?

All information is kept in line with the Retention Guidelines produced by the Records Management Society.

In the past some records may not have been kept for as long. This will depend on which legislation was in effect at that time.

Who else can see my information?

In order to provide you with the services you need, we may need to give the details about you and your situation to another organisation, or to a team within the Trust. However, we need your consent to do this and this will be explained at the initial gathering of your information, for example:

  • We only give staff in another organisation or team as much information as they need in order to provide an effective service for you.
  • Organisations are only allowed to use the information for the agreed purpose, and their staff are bound by the Data Protection Act and the same rules of confidentiality as our staff.
  • We will record what information has been given to other organisations or teams.
Asking for your permission

When we gather your information we will ask you to allow us to give details from your records to any relevant organisation, this will be done by telephone or you will be asked to sign a form. Under the Data Protection Act there will be some information that we will gather from you that is classed as sensitive that we cannot give to other organisations without your explicit consent. This may include information about your health, your racial or ethnic background and your religious beliefs. If we think we may need to pass on sensitive personal information we will discuss this with you at the time you complete the form. You will be able to tell us if you do not want any of that information to be passed on to anyone else. We will respect your wishes, although we will discuss it with you if we think that passing the information will lead to you receiving a better service.

Refusing to give permission

You can refuse to allow us to give your information to another organisation. However, if you decide not to give your consent, this may affect the services we are able to provide you, and we will discuss this with you at that time. There is some information that we have to pass on under certain circumstances, even if you have not given your consent. For example, information that is required by the courts, relates to a crime, or is needed by the police to investigate a crime or to prosecute and under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

How can I see my file?

One of the main rights which the Data Protection Act gives you is the right of access to your personal information. You can send us a subject access request which requires us to tell you about the personal information we hold about you.

If you wish to make a formal request to view your records under the Data Protection Act 1998, please write to the Data Protection Officer at the address above. You can send an email or a letter.

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 will assess the situation. They will ensure that you are able see as much of your record as possible.

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 of staff is available to answer any questions. You will receive a copy of the records you view. If you are unable to come in to the offices you can have the information sent to you, however we will not send your information by email.

How quickly can I see my records?

We aim to disclose your records to you within 40 days of receiving a valid request, together with the necessary identification documents and payment of the fee (if requested).

To help us respond to your request as quickly as possible, please provide as much information as you can. We will reply and ask you to identify other people, such as family members, who may have contributed to your records. This means we can ask permission for you to see what they have said. It is helpful if you can provide up-to-date details of how we can contact them. In some cases there may be circumstances that make it impossible to provide the records within 40 days. 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 we will arrange another appointment.

What identification documents will I need?

When making a request you will need to give us proof of your identity and proof of address before you can see your records.

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. Please do not send originals.

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?

Under the Data Protection Act we are able to charge £10 to see your records to help cover our costs.

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 Council or the Trust has 21 days to make any changes to your records. We will write to you to tell you what action has been taken.

Seeing someone else's 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 them
  • 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 team.

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 usually 12). 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.
  • 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 council’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 to the:

Freedom of Information Officer
Civic Office
Waterdale
Doncaster
DN1 3BU

Email: foi@doncaster.gov.uk

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.

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:

Adoption Team
Civic Office
Waterdale

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