Somerset County Council

Data Protection Act


The Data Protection Act 1998 places certain requirements on the way in which the Council handles your personal information. The Act also gives you the right to access personal information that the Council holds about you.

Handling Personal Information
The Act states that any information that we hold about you must be:

  • processed fairly and lawfully;

  • used only for the purposes we tell you about when you give it to us;

  • accurate, relevant and not excessive.

  • kept securely and for no longer than necessary.

  • not shared with anyone else unless you have given your consent, or unless we are required to do so by law. 

Requesting Personal Information from the Council
The Act gives you the right to access any information that we hold about you (subject to any exemptions). You can get this information by making a subject access request.

In general, personal information will only be given to the person who the information is about (the data subject), once their identity has been verified and the council has the detail they need to locate the information being requested. 

Some circumstances allow you to request information about a person other than yourself. For instance, a parent may be able to request information about their child (under the age of 12) if you provide proof of parental responsibility or you may be able to request information if you provide proof that you have Power of Attorney. However, there is no automatic right to this information. We will respond to all requests within 40 days.

How do I use it?
This service provides help and guidance about your rights and the Council's obligations under the Data Protection Act. You can apply to see your personal information using the form available under Information and Resources. Please note, the Data Protection Act only applies to personal information i.e. information that is about a person and identifies them. Requests for non-personal information can be made under Freedom of Information Act.

Who can use it?
Anyone seeking personal information (that the authority holds records on) about themselves or a third party (in some circumstances) can use this service. Requests will be treated as confidential.

What happens next?
You will receive a response within 40 calendar days. In some cases, we may need to contact you to clarify your request before we can provide information to you. In such cases the 40 days will run from the receipt of clarification.

What is covered?
All personal information that the Council holds. Normally, this will only be for information relating specifically to you.       

How long does it take?
Normal responses are within 40 calendar days.

How do I use it?
You can download the Subject Access Request Application Form and either send it to us by post or email it to us at the address below.



Information Request Team
Post Point PP B3E 2
Floor B3 East
County Hall
TA1 4DY 

How much does it cost?
Normally responses are free of charge, up to certain limits.

Laws and regulation
The Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended)

Quality standards
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your request you can ask for an internal review  to be carried out by the Information Governance Team. If you remain dissatisfied following this review you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act. 

More information about your rights and the Council's responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998 can be found on the Information Commissioner' s Office website.

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