Help at Hand is here to support children who are in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services. The team provide free support, advice and information. We will also make representations on behalf of these children to individuals responsible for your care if something is wrong.
This page is here to help you understand how we manage your data and your rights when you get in touch with the Help at Hand team.
To deliver this service, the team will need to collect information from you, such as your name, age and where you are living. Information you provide is always kept securely.
When you get in touch with Help at Hand, we will:
- Only ask for the information we need
- Make sure we don’t keep it for longer than necessary
- Protect it and make sure only the appropriate people have access to it
- Ensure it is accurate and kept up to date
- Consider privacy risks if we change the way we use or hold it
- Train our staff to ensure we use and protect it properly
Information you share with us is kept private unless we think you or another child or young person is unsafe. We then may share the information with other organisations that can help protect you. If we need to share the information with other people who could help, we’ll tell you what we are doing and why we’ve decided to do it.
How will we use the information about you?
Your information is used to:
- Understand your situation so that we can provide the help, advice and support that you need.
- Help you to get advice and support in your area, for example from an advocate.
- Speak on your behalf to someone who makes decisions about your care to help solve your problem. For example, we can write to your Director of Children’s Services to report the issue that you are experiencing and use our influence to make sure your rights are being upheld. If we do this, we will discuss it with you in advance and make sure that you are happy before we share your details with anyone else in this way.
- Help the CCO stay up to date on general issues affecting young people who are in care, living away from home or working with social services. If we do this we will never use any information which might identify you, but we might use aggregate data to calculate overall figures on the types of people we help or the types of issues they’re facing. These are used in reports to government decision makers. The Children’s Commissioner uses examples of issues faced by children and young people to persuade the government to improve services for all children and young people.
- Help us to learn and improve by asking you for feedback or to take part in research
Use the links below to find out more information.
The lawful basis for collecting your information
The Children’s Commissioner for England has a legal responsibility to provide advice and assistance to certain children in England. This responsibility is set out in Section 2D of the Children Act 2004.
This sets out that the Children’s Commissioner may provide advice and assistance to any child who is living away from home in any setting regulated by Ofsted or receiving social care. This includes care leavers and those in residential special schools.
When doing this, the Children’s Commissioner may make representations on behalf of a child to a person in England who is providing the child with accommodation or services or otherwise exercising functions in relation to the child.
The Help at Hand service is run by the Children’s Commissioner to deliver this service.
To do this job effectively, the team will need to collect certain information from you. To find out what information we collect click here
Some of the information we collect is known as ‘special category’ data, this means it is particularly sensitive and there are extra conditions we need to meet to use this information. Click the link below for more information about the lawful basis for processing special category data.
Lawful basis for processing: The Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The Data Protection Act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) set out the rights of individuals when it comes to their data and the use of data by organisations. The DPA and GDPR have several articles which set out the requirements that organisations need to meet in order to process personal data. There are additional requirements for organisations that need to process sensitive information known as ‘special category’ data.
Section 2 of the Children Act 2004 sets out that:
The primary function of the Children’s Commissioner is to promote and protect the rights of children in England. This includes promoting awareness of the views and interests of children in England. In carrying out this function the Commissioner must have particular regard to the rights of children who are living away from home or receiving social care.
This function means that the CCO can process personal data under Article 6(1)(e) of GDPR: ‘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’.
Sometimes the Commissioner will require information on ‘special category’ data such as disability. More information on ‘special category data can be seen on the ICO website here.
When we process special category data we do so under GDPR Article 9(2)(g): ‘processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject’
In relying on the substantial public interest condition in Article 9(2)(g) the CCO must also demonstrate that it meets one of the 23 specific substantial public interest conditions set out in Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the DPA 2018.
The substantial public interest condition which is relevant to the CCO is Schedule 1, Part 2(6), ‘statutory and government purposes’.
Schedule 1 Part 2,6(1) sets out that:
6 (1) This condition is met if the processing—
- is necessary for a purpose listed in sub-paragraph (2), and
- is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.
(2) Those purposes are—
- the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment or rule of law;
- the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown or a government department.
The Help at Hand service is part of the Commissioner’s responsibilities set out in law, which is why we use this section to process special category data.
The types of information we might collect:
The information we request from you will differ depending on your specific case and the reason for you contacting Help at Hand. You do not have to provide us with information if you don’t want to, but it might limit the help we are able to provide if we don’t have all the details we need.
The sorts of things we might ask you for are:
- Your name, age and gender
- Where you live
- Information about your situation, for example if you are in care, how long you have been in care
- Information about the issue you are experiencing
- Information about your health and wellbeing
- Information about what has happened and anything that is causing you concern
How long we keep personal data for:
Help at Hand is here to provide you with ongoing support and advice so we will keep your records for five years after you first get in touch with us. We keep records so that if you need to get back in touch with us, we know what help we have provided you with previously.
Click this link to find out more about your rights when it comes to keeping data.
How to find out what personal information we hold about you
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 2018 you are entitled to ask any data controller:
- if they are processing your personal data
- for a description of the data they hold about you
- the reasons they are holding it and any recipient they may disclose it to
- for a copy of your personal data and any details of its source
Requests for your personal information in this way are known as subject access requests. Requests should involve a reasonable search for data and may be refused if excessive, unfounded or a restriction applies.
To submit a subject access request, please contact [email protected]. We may need to ask you for a copy an identification document, such as a passport, to prove that it’s you and make sure we release the right information. We will only ask for ID when necessary.
When submitting a subject access request please tell us what you would like us to provide, and how you would like the information to be provided to you. We must protect your data so we may suggest a method for securely transferring the information to you, such as using encrypted email.
You have other rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), click the links below for more information.
Right to Rectification:
Under Article 16 of the GDPR you have the right to have inaccurate personal data rectified.
If you think there is a mistake in the data we hold about you which you would like us to correct contact us at [email protected] and let us know that ‘right to rectification’ is the reason for contacting us.
Right to erasure:
Under Article 17 of the GDPR you have the right to have your personal data erased. This is also known as the ‘right to be forgotten’.
You can request that we delete any personal data that we hold about you at any time. You can also request that your data be deleted if it has been provided by someone else, such as a parent, guardian or carer.
To request this, contact us at [email protected] and let us know that ‘right to erasure’ is the reason for contacting us.
If you want us to delete your data whilst we are working with you it might limit the services that we are able to provide. If you have any questions about this, please talk to the Help at Hand team. Use the freephone number (0800 528 0731) to talk to the team or email us at [email protected].
Right to object:
The GDPR gives you the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances. You can object to the Children’s Commissioner processing your data as we are processing it under the ‘public task’ article of the GDPR.
If you inform us that you object to the processing of your data, we may need to ask you for a copy an identification document, such as a passport, to prove that it’s you and make sure we stop processing on the correct records.
We will only use your data when we are in contact with you and working for you on an issue you have raised with us. You can inform us that you object to the processing of your data by contacting us at [email protected] and letting us know that ‘right to object’ is the reason for contacting us.
Please provide a specific reason why you are objecting to the processing of your data when you contact us.
If you object to the processing of your data whilst we are working with you it might limit the services that we are able to provide. If you have any questions about this, please talk to the Help at Hand team. Use the freephone number (0800 528 0731) to talk to the team or email us at [email protected].
If you would like to raise a subject a subject access request, request that we rectify data, or object to, or restrict the processing of, your data, please contact us at [email protected].
If you have any questions about the information provided here you can contact us at: [email protected] or use the freephone number 0800 528 0731.
If you have any questions for our Data Protection Officer you can contact them at: [email protected]
Individuals in the UK have the right to raise a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is the information supervisory authority for the UK. You can contact the ICO through their website here or call their helpline: 0303 123 1113.
This policy was last modified on 15th June 2023.