Complaints privacy notice

This privacy notice tells you what information the Customer Rights service collects and uses, and your rights regarding your information.

The categories of this information that we collect, process, hold and share include:

  • personal information (name, address, phone number and email address)
  • specific details of your complaint

Why we collect and use this information

Suffolk County Council (SCC) would like to store and use your personal data to:

  • enable us to carry out investigations into your complaint
  • provide a response and agree appropriate actions
  • learn from the experience to inform change in policy and/or process

The lawful basis on which we use this information

Local Authorities are required to have a published complaints procedure to enable members of the public who are in receipt of any service to should they feel their needs are not being met. Therefore we are carrying out a public task which is carried out in the public interest and is also in the exercise of official authority vested in us as a Public Authority.

The legal basis for processing your information for enquiries is because it is necessary for the performance of the task carried out by the Council which is carried out in the public interest.

Collecting this information

Whilst the majority of the Statutory Complaint information you provide to us is mandatory, some of it is provided to us on a voluntary basis. In order to comply with data protection legislation, we will inform you whether you are required to provide certain information to us or if you have a choice in this.

Storing this information

We hold personal data for complaints resolved at stage one for 5 years. Data relating to complaints that are escalated beyond stage one will be held for 15 years.

Who we share this information with

When a complaint is escalated beyond stage 1, we may share your information with:

  • Investigating Officers (IO) or Independent Persons (IP).  For Social Service complaints this will be on a statutory basis under the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009, or the Statutory guidance for local authority children’s services on representations and complaints procedures (PDF, 544KB).
  • Where appropriate we will also share information with NHS on a statutory basis under the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009.

The Local Government Act 1974 (“the Act”) gives powers to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) to investigate complaints made by members of the public about the service they have received from the Council. SCC is listed as an authority which can be investigated by the LGSCO under section 25 of the Act. We are required under Section 29 of the Act to furnish the LGSCO with any information they may require. This may include the Council producing documents which will process your information in order to assist with the LGSCO investigation.

Why we share this information

SCC may share Statutory Complaint data with IOs, IPs, NHS or the LGSCO where appropriate. This helps to fully understand the customer’s situation and allows for an independent assessment and decision on the complaint where we have been unable to offer an acceptable response at stage 1 of the process.

We do not share information about individuals without consent unless the law and our policies allow us to do so.  We share information securely. Anyone who receives information from us is legally required to keep it confidential.

Data collection requirements

The Department may share information about Statutory Complaints for:

  • conducting research or analysis
  • producing statistics
  • providing information, advice or guidance

SCC has robust processes in place to ensure the confidentiality of our data is maintained and there are stringent controls in place regarding access and use of the data.

In some cases the law may require that personal information has to be shared with other agencies without my agreement, this will be to protect adults or children with care and support needs who might be at risk of harm. In the event that an adult at risk lack capacity to share their information a decision will need to be made as to whether this is in their best interests and should follow the principles below.

Any personal information should be shared on the basis that it is:

  • necessary for the purpose for which it is being shared
  • shared only with those who have a need for it
  • accurate and up to date
  • shared securely and in a timely fashion
  • not kept for longer than necessary for the original purpose.

To be granted access to Statutory Complaint information, organisations must comply with strict terms and conditions covering the confidentiality and handling of the data, security arrangements and retention and use of the data.

Requesting access to your personal data

Under data protection legislation, individuals have the right to request access to information about them that we hold. To make a request for your personal information contact data.protection@suffolk.gov.uk.

You also have the right to:

  • object to processing of personal data that is likely to cause, or is causing, damage or distress
  • prevent processing for the purpose of direct marketing
  • object to decisions being taken by automated means
  • in certain circumstances, have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed; and
  • claim compensation for damages caused by a breach of the Data Protection regulations

If you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, we request that you raise your concern with us in the first instance. Alternatively, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information

You can read SCC’s corporate privacy notice.

If you would like further information about this privacy notice, please contact Customer Rights:

Telephone: 0345 266 1821

Email: customerrights@suffolk.gov.uk