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 information such as the type of issue you are facing 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.
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.
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.
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. Find out more information on ‘special category data.
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.