Children and Families Services
Everyone working for Children’s Services has a legal duty to keep and process information about you in accordance with the law.
The Children and Families Directorate includes lots of services that the Council provides to support and safeguard children and young people.
This includes social work teams, occupational therapy, early help, school nursing and health visiting services and social care finance.
This guide is for people who use our services. It explains:
- Why we ask for your personal information
- How that information will be used
- How you can access your records.
Sometimes information about carers is collected on our behalf by an organisation called Carer’s Together. This is because they do some of our carers' assessments.
This guide also applies to any information that Carers Together records on our behalf. If there is anything in this guide that you do not understand, please speak to your social worker, health visitor, early help practitioner or key worker.
Why does Children’s Services record information about me?
We use information about you to help us to understand your family’s needs and provide you with the support that you may need. This is lawful because of the Children Act 1989 and government guidance called Working Together. These legal frameworks place the Council under legal duties and responsibilities that relate to the support and safeguarding of children, young people and their families. The Data Protection Act 2018 also provides a legal basis for the processing of your information.
What information do you collect about me and my family?
We collect and record information about children and young people who may be in need of services or in need of protection. We also keep records about carers. This includes:
• People who are referred to Children’s Services
• People who contact us to ask us for help or advice
• People who have had their needs for services or protection assessed by us.
The information we collect and use may be written down (manual records), or kept on a computer (electronic records). These records may include:
- Basic details about you, for example, name, address, date of birth
- Unique identifiers, such as your National Insurance number, or your NHS number, or pupil identifying number
- Records of contact we have had with you, for example, notes from visits or telephone conversations, appointments, letters and emails
- Details about family members' physical or mental health records of assessments, plans and reviews
- Relevant information from other people or organisations that we have been in contact with about the support children, young people and their carers
- Details about the support or services that have been arranged for your family
- Copies of financial information that you provide to help us work out what you can afford to pay towards some elements of the support we may provide
- Information about your direct payment (if you choose one), including information about how you have spent your direct payment, and your employees.
What is the information used for?
Your information is used to:
- Provide you with information and advice that will help
- Make sure that children and young people are safe and have access to the care and support that they need
It is important that your records are accurate and up-to-date so that your worker from Children’s Services is able to provide you with the right help at the right time.
If we do not record your information, we will not be able to make sure you have the support that you need. If you are not able to provide the information yourself, for example because you are unwell, we may ask your family members, or will talk to other professionals who have been helping you.
From time to time we may contact you to ask you for your views about the support that you are receiving, or about what could make things better for you. We will use this information to help us improve the choice and quality of care and support in Redcar and Cleveland.
How long do you keep my information for?
The law tells us how long we must keep your information for. The length of time depends on the type of information and the type of services that you are receiving. The Council’s Document Retention and Disposal Policy explains how long we will keep different types of records. You can request a copy of this document by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who do you share my information with?
When other organisations are involved in your family, we may need to share relevant information about you so that we can work together to meet your needs. We must also share information if we think that children and young people may be at risk of neglect or abuse. Information will only be shared with third parties if they have genuine and lawful need for it.
Examples of who we share information with and why we share it include:
- Education establishments
- Private, community and voluntary sector organisations that may provide you or your family with care and support, we share information to make sure they meet the needs of your child
- NHS organisations when we are working with them to meet your health and social care needs, or to work out whether you are entitled to NHS funding for some support services
- Housing providers, for example if your family may have housing needs
- The Police, if we think that you are at risk of neglect or abuse
- The Fire Service, if we think that your home is at risk of fire
- Other Local Authorities, if you are moving, or have moved between areas and we need to make sure that your family support or protection continues after you have moved
- Our legal services provider or the Courts – if there is a need to make a legal representation in relation to your child
- The Department for Work and Pensions or Liberata Plc (who provide Council Tax and Benefits services on behalf of the Council) - if we are supporting you with benefits claims
Other times that we may share your information with other organisations include:
- If we believe that the health and safety of others is at risk
- For the purpose of crime prevention or the detection of fraud as part of the National Fraud Initiative
- When the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances, for example where we encounter infectious diseases which may be a public health concern, or where a formal court order has been issued
Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential.
Information will be processed within the European Economic Area and will not be shared with overseas recipients.
Can I see my records?
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you to find out what information is held about you on paper and on computer records.
This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Children’s Services record alongside any other council held records.
If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Council’s Data Protection officer at email@example.com.
You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
Do I have any other rights?
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you other rights; for example, if there is an error in your records you have the right to make sure it is corrected or erased.
In some circumstances, you may restrict or object to processing, request data portability and request not to be the subject of solely automated decision making.
You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will report our mistakes to the Information Commissioner's office.
If you think that there is a problem with the way that we are handling your data, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner.