The purpose of this web page is to inform members of the public about what to expect when Devon County Council collects personal information about them. We will collect personal information about different types of people including:
- visitors to our websites
- complainants and other individuals as part of complaints and requests for information
- people who use our services, such as social care clients or other service users
- people who contact the council requesting either information or a service
- job applicants and our current and former employees
Visitors to our website
When someone visits our website we collect certain information about these visitors, such as IP addresses and details of the pages which these people have visited. This information does not allow us to identify individuals but helps us to ensure our website is structured in the most effective and user friendly way.
We will sometimes collect personal information via our website. In these circumstances we will inform individuals why we wish to collect this information, what we will do with it and we will include details of who we will share this information with. This information will feature on the web form being used to collect the information.
Use of IP Addresses
An IP address is a set of numbers that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you log on to your internet service provider (or through your local area network (LAN). Web servers, the powerful computers that provide web pages for viewing, automatically identify your computer by the IP address assigned to it during your session online.
IP addresses may be collected for certain purposes (for example, to audit the use of our site). We do not link a user’s IP address to a person’s personal information, which means we will have a record of each user’s session but the user will remain anonymous to us.
Under certain circumstances, IP addresses and/or domain names may be linked to personally identifiable information, when this information is stored in databases managed by internet registrars or registries such as Network Solutions or ARIN.
Our website search is powered by Google. Search queries and results are logged anonymously to help us improve our website and search functionality. No user-specific data is collected by either Devon County Council or any third party.
We operate secure data networks that are protected by a firewall. Both the Council and our partners have security measures in place to attempt to protect our website against the loss, misuse and alteration of personal information that is under our control.
Information that you supply to us is restricted to only those staff that need access to this information for their jobs. We have a robust Data Protection Policy in place to help our staff to ensure all personal information is handled professionally and in accordance with the law. Any reported breaches or suspected breaches of this policy are investigated fully in accordance with the Council’s Security Incident Management Policy.
People who call our Customer Service Centre
When you call our Customer Service Centre (My Devon) we may collect personal data for the purposes of dealing with enquiries. Certain calls may be monitored and recorded for training purposes.
We are part of the GCSX network. Therefore any email sent to us, including any attachments, may be monitored by the Council. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used in order to protect the Council’s ICT Infrastructure against viruses and other forms of malware.
People who make a complaint to us
We handle a number of different types of complaints including complaints relating to:
- data protection breaches
- freedom of information responses
- service specific complaints
- social care complaints
Any personal information that we collect throughout the course of handling a complaint will be used to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. We may compile and publish statistics showing information like the number of complaints we receive, but not in a form which identifies anyone.
The Council may have to disclose the complainant’s identity to the service which is the subject of the complaint. If a complainant doesn’t want information identifying him or her to be disclosed, we will try to respect that. However, it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.
We will keep personal information contained in complaint files for two years from the closure of the complaint. It will be retained in a secure environment and access to it will be restricted to those who are responsible for responding to complaints.
Similarly, where enquiries are submitted to us we will only use the information supplied to us to deal with the enquiry and any subsequent issues and to check on the level of service we provide.
Sharing your information
We are responsible for the delivery of a wide range of services to members of the public. Many of these services are delivered by the Council directly. However some of our services are delivered by contractors and providers on our behalf. The Council may need to share personal information with these contractors and providers in order for them to deliver a service to you. However we will undertake to only share information which is relevant and necessary for the provision of that service to you.
The Council may share your personal information internally across services in order to help provide a service to you. This information will be restricted to only those staff members that need access to this information. We will not share your information with any third party organisations unless you have provided your consent for this sharing or the council is required to share this information by law.
Circumstances when the Council may be required to share your personal information without your consent may include instances where the information is required for the purposes of prevention or detection of crime, or the apprehension and prosecution of offenders. We may also be required to share your personal information for the purposes of safeguarding or protecting the welfare of yourself and others. In these circumstances we will only share information that is relevant for the intended purpose and information that is shared will be restricted to the minimum necessary.
If you believe that your personal information has been shared inappropriately, you have a right to complain about this. More information about how to make a complaint is available on our Customer Feedback Page.
Reporting security incidents
We have a responsibility to monitor all incidents that may breach security and/or confidentiality of information. In the interest of maintaining strong security protocols, the council encourages all staff and members of the public to bring to our attention, incidents involving the loss of personal or sensitive business information.
Any personal information that is collected via this process will be kept secure and will only be used for the purposes of investigating the specific concern raised.
Job applicants, current and former employees
When individuals apply to work at Devon County Council, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.
We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data. This de-personalised information is published by the Council as part of our equality performance monitoring agenda.
Once a person has taken up employment with Devon County Council, we will create an employment file. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with us has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.
Feedback and complaints
We try to meet the highest standards when dealing with complaints from members of the public. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive very seriously. We also encourage people to bring to our attention any collection or use of information which you feel is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We would also welcome any suggestions for improving our procedures. For more information visit our Feedback and Complaints webpage.
Access to personal information
We are committed to openness and transparency when it comes to people gaining access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998. If we do hold information about you we will:
- give you a description of it
- tell you why we are holding it
- tell you who it could be disclosed to
- let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.
Links to other websites
This privacy notice does not cover the links within this site which link to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on each of the websites you visit.
Changes to this privacy notice
We keep our privacy notice under review. This privacy notice was last updated on Thursday 13 March 2014.
How to contact us
For more information about how the Council will process your personal data, or for information on how to access information from us, please email us or write to:
Customer Relations & Information Governance Service
County Hall, Room 120