Privacy Notices - Swindon Borough Council Fostering Team Privacy Notice
This is a Privacy notice specifically for the services provided by Swindon Borough Councils Fostering Team relating to; the assessment and approval of Connected Carers and Foster Carers, the support and supervision of Connected Carers and Foster Carers, the assessment of Special Guardians and Private Fostering.
This notice explains what personal data (information) we hold about you, how we collect, how we use and may share information about you. We are required to give you this information under data protection law.
- What is a Privacy Notice?
A Privacy Notice is a statement issued by an organisation which explains how personal and confidential data about individuals is collected, used and shared.
- Who is collecting and using your personal data?
Swindon Borough Council’s Fostering Service recruits, approves, supports and pays foster carers, providing them with ongoing support, guidance and training to ensure they are fully skilled to be effective foster carers.
Our Fostering Service works with Family and Friends carers; assessing, approving and supporting Connected Persons to ensure they are fully skilled to meet the needs of the young people in their care.
Our Fostering Service also completes Special Guardianship assessments and assesses, monitors and supports Private Fostering arrangements within the Swindon Borough area.
Swindon Borough Council will act as a “Data Controller” for any personal data that you provide to us. We will ensure that the data given to us is processed in line with our Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 18) and the UK and EU General Data Protection Regulations. (GDPR)
To find out more about Swindon Borough Council’s data protection policies please contact our Data Protection Officer. email@example.com or in writing to Data Protection Officer, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 2JH.
- Your personal data – what is it?
Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data. Identification can be by the information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. The processing of data is governed by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 18) and the UK and EU General Data Protection Regulations. (GDPR)
- What personal data do we collect?
We collect the following personal information from applicants and their family and friends network:
- Personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth, language) email address, telephone numbers
- Special category characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, language, health and medical information)
- Family history, family network and relationship information
- Employment information
- Financial information
- Information relating to assessments and approvals for suitability to care for children
- Explicit consent to receive emails, newsletters, letters and or other correspondence related to fostering
We also obtain personal information relating to applicants and their family and friends network from the following other sources:
- The Disclosure and Barring Service
- Childrens Services records in the local authority where you currently live
- Childrens Services records in local authorities where you have previously lived
- Other council departments
- Past and present employers including a British Forces check if applicable
- References – personal and family references – this will include interviews with adult children
- Employment references – current and previous
- Current and previous partners
- Health services
- Education services
- Social media
This is not an exhaustive list.
- How do we process your personal data?
Processing is necessary for:
- the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
- compliance with a legal obligation to which the council is subject
We comply with our obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 18) and the UK and EU General Data Protection Regulations by keeping personal data up to date; by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data.
- Why do we need your personal information?
We collect and use your personal information to comply with our legal and statutory obligations under the:
- Children Act 1989
- Fostering Services Regulations 2011
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Children and Young Persons Act 2008
- Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010
- Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013
- Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 as amended 2016
- Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
For special category (sensitive) personal information, we rely upon reasons of substantial public interest (equality of opportunity or treatment), for the provision of social care, for social security or social protection law, and for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims whenever Courts are acting in their judicial capacity.
We use it specifically to:
- safeguard children
- respond to your initial enquiries about becoming a foster carer
- process and assess foster carers, connected carers, special guardianship applications and private fostering arrangements, which will include carrying out background checks
- train and develop people
- make recommendations to the Fostering Panel
- process connected carer, foster carer and special guardianship payments
- provide supervision and training
- carry out annual reviews
- share your information with another fostering agency in the event of a transfer from Swindon
- share your information with another fostering agency in the event that prospective foster carers transfer at any point in the adoption process
- provide other local authorities with information should they request foster placements in Swindon. We may share your information with them for this purpose in order to provide the best match for children and carers.
- share your contact information with external Fostering organisations which SBC has set up paid membership to allow all foster carers to have access to independent support and advice
We may also need to use some information about you to:
- deliver services and support to you
- manage those services we provide to you
- train and manage the employment of our workers who deliver those serviceshelp investigate any worries or complaints you have about your services
- keep track of spending on services
- check the quality of services
- help with research and planning of new services
- deliver newsletters, promotional material and updates on relevant services
- How the law allows us to use your information?
Please see the paragraph above.
If we have consent to use your personal information, you have the right to remove it at any time.
If you want to remove your consent, contact DataProtection@Swindon.gov.uk and tell us which service you are using so we can deal with your request.
- Who do we share your information with?
We use a range of organisations to either store personal information or help deliver our services to you. Where we have these arrangements there is always an agreement in place to make sure that the organisation complies with data protection law.
We will often complete a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) before we disclose personal information to make sure we protect your privacy and comply with the law.
Sometimes we have a legal duty to provide personal information to other organisations. This is often because we need to give that data to courts, including:
- if we take a child into care
- if the court orders that we provide the information
- if someone is taken into care under mental health law
We may also share your personal information when we feel there is a good reason that is more important than protecting your privacy. This does not happen often, but we may share your information:
- in order to find and stop crime and fraud; or if there are serious risks to the public, our staff or to other professionals
- to protect a child
- to protect adults who are thought to be at risk, for example if they are frail, confused or cannot understand what is happening to them
For all of these reasons the risk must be serious before we can decide to override your right to privacy.
If we are worried about your physical safety, or feel we need to take action to protect you from being harmed in other ways, we will discuss this with you and, if possible, get your permission to tell others about your situation before doing so.
We may still share your information if we believe the risk to others is serious enough to do so.
There may also be rare occasions when the risk to others is so great that we need to share information straight away.
If this is the case, we will make sure that we record what information we share and our reasons for doing so. We will let you know what we have done and why, if we think it is safe to do so.
We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to provide a service to you, or where we have a public duty to do so.
Organisations that we may disclose information with, or obtain personal data from, include:
- local authorities and local education authorities
- Department for Education
- health agencies and GPs including the Agency Medical Adviser
- any person undertaking a Statutory Inquiry under section 81 of the Children Act 1989
- CAFCASS Officers, The Court and officers of the Court, parties within the Court Process as per the Courts direction
- any person appointed to deal with a complaint or representation
- an Independent Review Panel convened to challenge the local authority’s decision-making
- any person undertaking a Serious Case Review in relation to a child
- the Secretary of State or persons authorised on his/her behalf, an Ombudsman or regulatory authority
Should you be approved as a Connected Carer or a Foster Carer, your GP Surgery will be notified of your approval and any subsequent resignation or deregistration to enable the service to safeguard children in your care.
This applies retrospectively to all Connected Carers and Foster Carers on the Foster Carers register as of 15 November 2021.
- How do we protect your information?
We will do what we can to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we will only make them available to those who have a right to see them.
Examples of our security include:
- encryption, meaning that information is hidden so that it cannot be read without special knowledge (such as a password). This is done with a secret code, or what is called a 'cypher'. The hidden information is said to then be 'encrypted'.
- pseudonymisation, meaning that we will use a different name so we can hide parts of your personal information from view. This means that someone outside of the Council could work on your information for us without ever knowing it was yours.
- controlling access to systems and networks allows us to stop people who are not allowed to view your personal information from getting access to it
- training for our staff allows us to make them aware of how to handle information and how and when to report when something goes wrong
- regular testing of our technology and ways of working including keeping up to date on the latest security updates (commonly called patches)
- How long do we keep your personal information?
There is often a legal reason for keeping your personal information for a set period, so we try to include all of these in our corporate Retention & Disposal schedule and they are often explained within each service-related Privacy Notice.
For each service, the schedule lists how long your information may be kept for. This ranges from months for some records to decades for more sensitive records.
- Approved Foster Carer – records will be kept until their 100th Birthday or 25 years following the last child ceases to be looked after
- Fostering applicants who were not approved – records will be kept until their 65th Birthday
- Fostering Applicants who withdrew – records will be kept for 5 years from closure
- Process involved in assessing a family’s suitability in the care of children – records will be kept for 25 years from the DOB of youngest child
- Private Foster Carer – records will be kept for 25 years after closure
- Children looked after – records will be kept until their 75th birthday, or 15 years from date of death if child dies before 18th birthday
- Children Privately Fostered – records will be kept until their 75th birthday, or 15 years from date of death if the child dies before their 18th birthday
- Enquirers agreeing to receive regular communication – The operating system Mailerlite will keep a record for six months after last use
- What you can do with your information?
The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us and how it is used by us.
You can ask for access to the information we hold on you
We would normally expect to share what we record about you with you whenever we assess your needs or provide you with services.
However, you also have the right to ask for a copy of all the information we have about you and the services you receive from us. When we receive a request from you in writing, we must give you access to everything we have recorded about you, however, we cannot let you see any parts of your records that contain:
- confidential information about other people
- data a professional thinks will cause serious harm to you or someone else’s physical or mental wellbeing; or
- information that may stop us from preventing or detecting a crime
This applies to personal information that is in both paper and electronic records. If you ask us, we will also let others see your record (except if one of the points above applies).
If you cannot ask for your records in writing, we will make sure there are other ways that you can.
If you have any queries about access to your information contact DataProtection@Swindon.gov.uk.
You can ask to change information you think is inaccurate
You should let us know if you disagree with something written on your file.
We may not always be able to change or remove that information but we will correct factual inaccuracies and may include your comments in the record to show that you disagree with it.
You can ask to delete information (right to be forgotten)
In some circumstances, you can ask for your personal information to be deleted, for example:
- where your personal information is no longer needed for the reason it was collected in the first place
- where you have removed your consent for us to use your information and where there is no other legal, legitimate or lawful reason for us to keep it
- where there is no legal reason for the use of your information
- where deleting the information is a legal requirement
Where your personal information has been shared with others, we will do what we can to make sure those using your personal information comply with your request for erasure.
Please note that we cannot delete your information where:
- we are required to have it by law
- it is used for freedom of expression
- it is used for public health purposes
- it is used for, scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes where it would make information unusable
- it is necessary for legal claims
You can ask us to limit what we use your personal data for
You have the right to ask us to restrict what we use your personal information for where:
- you have identified inaccurate information, and have told us of it
- where we have no legal reason to use that information, but you want us to restrict what we use it for rather than erase the information altogether
When information is restricted, it cannot be used other than to securely store the data and with your consent to handle legal claims and protect others, or where it is for important public interests of the UK.
Where restriction of use has been granted, we will inform you before we carry on using your personal information.
You have the right to ask us to stop using your personal information for any council service. However, if this request is approved this may cause delays or prevent us from delivering that service to you.
Where possible we will always seek to comply with your request, but we may need to hold or use information because we are required to by law.
You can ask to have your information moved to another provider (data portability)
You have the right to ask for your personal information to be given back to you or another service provider of your choice in a commonly used format. This is called data portability.
However, this only applies if we are using your personal information with consent (not if we are required to by law) and if decisions were made by a computer and not a human being.
It is likely that data portability will not apply to most of the services you receive from the Council.
You can ask to have any computer made decisions explained to you, and details of how we may have 'profiled' you.
You have the right to question decisions made about you by a computer, unless it’s required for any contract you have entered into, required by law, or you have consented to it.
You also have the right to object if you are being 'profiled'. 'Profiling' is where decisions are made about you based on certain things in your personal information. For example, your health conditions.
If the council uses your personal information to profile you, in order to deliver the most appropriate service to you, you will be informed.
If you have concerns regarding automated decision-making, or profiling, please contact our Data Protection Officer who will be able to advise you about how we are using your information.
- Your right to complain
In the event that you wish to complain about the way that your personal data has been handled by Swindon Borough Council, you should write to the Data Protection Officer and clearly outline your case. Your complaint will then be investigated in accordance with our customer complaint procedure.
If you remain dissatisfied with the way your personal data has been handled, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ICO.org.uk. You may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office whose contact details are below:
Information Commissioner’s Office
This website also contains information on data protection and your rights and remedies.
- What if you do not provide personal data?
You are under no statutory obligation to provide personal data to Swindon Borough Council. However, if you do not provide the data, we may not be able to proceed with the assessment or offer support.
- How will we ensure compliance?
Regular internal and external audits will take place on personal data to ensure that we remain legally compliant in accordance with current data protection legislation.
- Main privacy notice
You are viewing the Privacy Notice for Swindon Borough Council Fostering Team.