We are committed to transparency in Local Government and have illustrated this through, for example, providing relevant information to the Community. As part of our commitment we have developed a strategy on Open Data which aims to publish a number of datasets in a format that can be easily manipulated and used by you, and appropriate software packages.
5 key principles
- Accountability (transparency, FOI).
- Choice (customers, personalisation agenda social care for example).
- Productivity (effective and efficient use of resource).
- Quality and Outcomes (aligned to 8 outcomes).
- Social and Economic Growth (business, skills training).
Publishing our data
To support this strategy we have established a working group to identify and publish datasets to the Community.
We are working closely with the Open Data Community in Sheffield, as well as other partners on what we make available to the public.
You can use our dataset site to search for, or browse through datasets.
Data matching to prevent fraud
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for:
- administering public funds
- where undertaking a public function
We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud.
We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise, as detailed here.
Checking personal information records
The Cabinet Office is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises. Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match, which is usually personal information.
Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified.Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
Publication scheme (Freedom of Information)
We operate a Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI). FOI and the related Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by ourselves.
The FOIA aims to promote openness and accountability amongst public authorities and to facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do and how they spend public money.
We are fully committed to making as much information as possible available and is committed to open and transparent government. We have adopted the definition document for principal local authorities approved by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). This commits us to make information available to the public as part of our normal business activities.
Types of information available
Our Publication Scheme shows the types of information that we will routinely make available on our website:
- who we are and what we do
- what we spend and how we spend it
- what are our priorities and how are we doing?
- how we make decisions
- our policies and procedures
- lists and Registers
- services we provide
- election information
Organisations requesting personal data: Section 29(3)
Organisations can request Personal information from us under Section 29(3) of the Data Protection Act. If you are a member of the public wanting to request a copy of your own personal information (or someone acting on behalf of a member of the public) then please make a subject access request.
The Data Protection Act is a law designed to ensure organisations protect any personal information they hold from disclosure to a third party. However, in certain circumstances, there are times when we are permitted to disclose personal information to a third party organisation.
Section 29(3) of the Data Protection Act allows ourselves, to disclose personal information to a third party, where it would help:
- the prevention or detection of crime
- the apprehension/prosecution of offenders
- the collection of taxes
Requests for information like this generally come from the Police, HM Revenue and Customs, UK Visas and Immigration and other organisations with the power to investigate crime and/or collect tax
Request information under Section 29(3)
We will help organisations where possible by disclosing information which would help the prevention/detection of crime and/or for the collection of tax.
However, disclosures will only be made when we are satisfied that Section 29(3) of the Data Protection Act applies and the requesting organisation has exhausted all other avenues of investigation.
When an organisation submits a request for personal information and states that it is Section 29(3) request, there is no obligation on ourselves to disclose the requested information.
Even if Section 29(3) does apply, we may decide not to release the requested information.
So that we comply with the Legislation, all Section 29(3) requests submitted to ourselves must clearly detail:
- what information is required
- who the information relates to
- the reason why it is required (this may include what law has been broken and being investigated and/or what type of tax is being collected)
- how it would assist the prevention/detection of crime and/or for the collection of tax
Any requests which simply state Section 29(3) Request and provide no further details will not be processed.
Make a Subject Access Request
If you are a member of the public wanting to request a copy of your own personal information (or someone acting on behalf of a member of the public) then please make a subject access request. A subject access request needs to be made in writing by filling out and returning one of our forms. There is a £10 fee per application and we require 2 forms of identification:
- one with your name and date of birth
- one with your name and current address (dated within the last 3 months)
If you are the personal representative acting on behalf of someone (ie your child, relative, friend), we will also need some additional identification to prove that you are entitled to act on their behalf.
Once we have received your request, fee and satisfactory identification, you should expect to receive a response to your request within 40 calendar days.
Keeping information confidential
The information gathered will only be seen by staff with authorised access. Only staff that are responsible for inputting information will see any completed forms. Once the information has been input onto the computer system the paper documentation is safely destroyed.
All our systems are password protected and access strictly restricted. Where we use agency staff or consultants that require access to personal information to carry out their duties, we ensure that they meet the same standards of data protection as our own staff. Only relevant information will be shared.
All information will be held securely and in compliance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. Where you provide Bank Account details for payments via Direct Debit your details will be securely held in compliance with financial regulations.
When you contact us by telephone, you will be asked a security question to confirm your identity.