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Your privacy

Swale Borough Council (“SBC”) is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services.

The Privacy Notice below explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy. 

Details about who your information will be shared with and why varies from department to departments, so for detailed information contact the department that will be using your information/the department that you have given your information to. 

We have a Data Protection Officer who makes sure we respect your rights and follow the law. If you have any concerns or questions about how we look after your personal information, please contact the Data Protection Officer at DataProtectionOfficer@swale.gov.uk.

Chapters in this topic

Why we use your personal information

Personal information can be anything that identifies and relates to a living person. This can include information that when put together with other information can then identify a person. For example, this could be your name and contact details.

Special information

Some information is ‘special’ and needs more protection due to its sensitivity. It’s often information you would not want widely known and is very personal to you. This is likely to include anything that can reveal your:

Why we need your personal information

We may need to use some information about you to:

How the law allows us to use your personal information

The department you have given your information to will inform you of the legal basis they have for using your information. 

There are a number of legal reasons why we need to collect and use your personal information including when:

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, please contact DataProtectionOfficer@swale.gov.uk and tell us which service you’re using so we can deal with your request.

We only use what we need

Where we can, we’ll only collect and use personal information if we need it to deliver a service or meet a requirement. 

If we don’t need personal information we’ll either keep you anonymous if we already have it for something else or we won’t ask you for it. For example in a survey we may not need your contact details we’ll only collect your survey responses. 

If we use your personal information for research and analysis, we’ll always keep you anonymous or use a different name unless you’ve agreed that your personal information can be used for that research. 

We don’t sell your personal information to anyone else.

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 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’ve recorded about you. 

However, we can’t let you see any parts of your record which contain:

This applies to personal information that is in both paper and electronic records. If you ask us, we’ll also let others see your record (except if one of the points above applies). 

If you can’t ask for your records in writing, we’ll make sure there are other ways that you can. If you have any queries about access to your information please contact DataProtectionOfficer@swale.gov.uk or 01795 417179.

Who 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 in place to make sure that the organisation complies with data protection law. 

We’ll often complete a privacy impact assessment (PIA) before we share 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. 

We may also share your personal information when we feel there’s a good reason that’s more important than protecting your privacy. This doesn’t happen often, but we may share your information:

For all of these reasons the risk must be serious before we can override your right to privacy. 

If we’re worried about your physical safety or feel we need to take action to protect you from being harmed in other ways, we’ll 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’ll make sure that we record what information we share and our reasons for doing so. We’ll let you know what we’ve done and why if we think it is safe to do so.

How long we keep your personal information for

There’s often a legal reason for keeping your personal information for a set period of time, we try to include all of these in our retention schedule. 

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.

How we protect your information 

We’ll do what we can to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we’ll only make them available to those who have a right to see them. Examples of our security include:

You can find more details of our Information Security expectations on our online policy.

Where your information is stored

The majority of personal information is stored on systems in the UK. But there are some occasions where your information may leave the UK either in order to get to another organisation or if it’s stored in a system outside of the EU. 

We have additional protections on your information if it leaves the UK ranging from secure ways of transferring data to ensuring we have a robust contract in place with that third party.

We’ll take all practical steps to make sure your personal information is not sent to a country that is not seen as ‘safe’ either by the UK or EU Governments. 

If we need to send your information to an ‘unsafe’ location we’ll always seek advice from the Information Commissioner first.

Your rights

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’ll correct factual inaccuracies and may include your comments in the record to show that you disagree with it.

Please send details of any inaccuracies and requests for correction to DataProtectionOfficer@Swale.gov.uk or call 01795 417179.

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:

Where your personal information has been shared with others, we’ll do what we can to make sure those using your personal information comply with your request for erasure. 

Please note that we can’t delete your information where:

You can ask 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:

When information is restricted it can’t be used other than to securely store the data and with your consent to handle legal claims and protect others, or where it’s for important public interests of the UK. 

Where restriction of use has been granted, we’ll 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 delivering that service. 

Where possible we’ll 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’re using your personal information with consent (not if we’re required to by law) and if decisions were made by a computer and not a human being. 

It’s likely that data portability won’t 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 ‘risk 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’ve 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, e.g. your health conditions. 

If and when SBC 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 the Data Protection Officer who’ll be able to advise you about how we using your information.

More advice

If you have any worries or questions about how your personal information is handled please contact our Data Protection Officer at DataProtectionOfficer@swale.gov.uk

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at: 

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number.

Alternatively, visit ico.org.uk or email casework@ico.org.uk.

Cookies and how you use this website

To make this website easier to use, we sometimes place small text files on your device (for example your iPad or laptop) called cookies. Most big websites do this too. 

They improve things by:

By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. 

We don’t use cookies on this website that collect information about what other websites you visit (often referred to as privacy intrusive cookies).

Our cookies aren’t used to identify you personally. They’re just here to make the site work better for you. You can manage and/or delete these files as you wish. 

To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit AboutCookies.org or watch a video about cookies.

How you use this website

We use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use this site. We do this to make sure it’s meeting peoples’ needs and to understand how we can make the website work better. 

Google Analytics stores information about what pages on this site you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on while you are here. 

We do not collect or store any other personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this data cannot be used to identify who you are.

Name of cookie Typically contains When it expires
_utma Randomly generated number 2 years
_utmb Randomly generated number 30 minutes
_utmc Randomly generated number when you close your browser
_utmx Randomly generated number 2 years
_utmxx Randomly generated number 2 years
_utmz Randomly generated number and data on how the site was reached (e.g. direct or via a link, organic search or paid search) 2 years
DIOTabs Remembers which Do it online tab you're on when viewing the homepage when you close your browser
PHPSESSID Allow the correct information to be sent to the correct person when you close your browser

We also collect data on the number of times a word is searched for and the number of failed searches. We use this information to improve access to the site and identify gaps in the content and see if it is something we should add to the site.

Unless the law allows us to, we do not:

Other people’s cookies

We use videos from YouTube and feeds from other websites such as Facebook and Twitter. These websites place cookies on your device when watching or viewing these pages. 

Below are links to their cookie policies: 

Turning off cookies

You can stop cookies being downloaded on to your computer or other device by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser. If you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of this website. 

There is more information about how to delete or stop using cookies on AboutCookies.org. You can also opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics. 

Further guidance on the use of personal information can be found at ico.org.uk.

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