Specialist Children's Services privacy notice

This notice explains what personal data (information) we hold about you, how we collect, how we use and may share information about you.  We are required to give you this information under data protection law.

Who we are

Kent County Council (KCC) collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so we are regulated under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information for the purposes of those laws. Our Data Protection Officer is Benjamin Watts.

Children’s social care is provided by Specialist Children’s Services (SCS) and comprises a range of services that offer specialist support to children, young people and families. Support is provided by children’s social work teams, Fostering and adoption services, the Leaving Care service, and Virtual School Kent. We work in an integrated way with other children’s services teams in KCC and with partner organisations to ensure we deliver the best possible outcomes for children, young people and families in Kent.

Personal information we collect and use

Information collected by us

In the course of providing specialist support for a child, young person and their family we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth, gender)
  • special category characteristics (such as ethnicity and disability)
  • personal identifiers (including NHS numbers and Port-Reference and Home Office numbers)
  • details of family relationships, including those of extended family and friends
  • reasons for support (such as what is working well and what you are worried about)
  • assessment and plan information for children in need (such as further details of your issues and challenges, and how we are going to work together to bring about the changes required)
  • information gathered during child protection processes (during Section 47 enquiries/investigations and Child Protection Conferences)
  • episodes of being looked after (such as important dates and information on placements)
  • outcomes for looked after children, such as whether health and dental assessments are up to date, strengths and difficulties questionnaire scores and personal education plans
  • adoption information, including dates of court orders and decisions and information relating to post-adoption support provided
  • information on care leavers, including their education and employment status and the type of accommodation they are living in

We also obtain personal information from the following other sources:

  • details of any young person reported missing from home, from the Police
  • referral and involvement information from partner organisations
  • attendance and exclusion information (such as sessions attended, number of absences, reasons, details to support statutory processes) pupil characteristics, and unique pupil number, from your child’s school
  • involvement with other KCC children’s services teams from our existing records
  • court decisions relating to our statutory legal duties

How we use your personal information

We use your personal information to:

  • safeguard and support children, and to monitor their progress
  • enable integrated working with other teams and organisations to ensure you receive the right support at the right time
  • plan and provide the most appropriate level of support to you and your family
  • support you to access relevant support and advice, services and groups
  • evaluate and quality assure the services we provide, and improve our policies on children’s social care
  • inform future service provision and the commissioning of services
  • register your family at your local Open Access Children’s Centre/Youth Hub so that additional support can be accessed easily, if you have consented for us to do so
  • inform you about forthcoming events/activities in Children’s Centres or Youth Hubs that may be of interest to you, if you have consented for us to do so

How long your personal data will be kept

We keep your information securely in line with the retention periods shown in the table, after which it is archived or securely destroyed, unless we are required by legal reasons to retain records for longer than the stated retention period.

Category

Retention Period

Children and young people with a Child Protection Plan

Date of birth +40 years

Children and young people who have been in the care of the local authority (Looked After Children and Care Leavers)

Date of birth +75 years

If the child/young person dies before the age of 18 records will be retained for 15 years from their date of death

Adoption

Date of birth +100 years

Private fostering arrangements

Date of birth +75 years

Private foster parents where parents made own arrangements for child to be fostered

Last contact with the Private Foster Parent +10 years, or date of death of Private Foster Parent + 2 years

All other records relating to Children and Young People Records of children and young people who don’t fall into any of the above categories, including Children in Need, and general papers where a file has not been opened

Date of Birth +25 years

Register of persons posing a risk to children and those cautioned or convicted of offences against children

75 years from the date of the caution/conviction

Reasons we can collect and use your personal information

We collect and use your personal information to comply with our legal obligations, and to carry out tasks in the public interest. If we need to collect special category (sensitive) personal information, we rely upon reasons of substantial public interest (safeguarding of children and of individuals at risk, and equality of opportunity or treatment), for the provision of social care, for social security or social protection law, and for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.

These legal bases are underpinned by acts of legislation that dictate what actions can and should be taken by local authorities, including:

  • The Children and Families Act 2014
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • Children Act 1989

Who we share your personal information with

  • teams within KCC working to improve outcomes for children and young people
  • commissioned providers of local authority services (such as Independent Foster Care Agencies, Children’s Homes, Semi-Independent accommodation Providers, Supported Lodgings Providers, Residential Special Schools and Secure accommodation)
  • schools
  • partner organisations signed up to the Kent and Medway Information Sharing Agreement, where necessary, which may include health visitors, midwives, district councils, housing providers, police, school nurses, doctors and mental health workers
  • government departments including the Department of Education, Department of Work and Pensions, and the Home Office
  • Ofsted (in the event of a local authority inspection of children’s services)
  • The Share-Foundation

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law.

Your rights

Under GDPR you have rights which you can exercise free of charge which allow you to:

  • know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it
  • ask to see what information we hold about you (subject access request)
  • ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
  • object to direct marketing
  • make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office
  • withdraw consent at any time (if applicable)

Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to:

  • ask us to delete information we hold about you
  • have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • object to how we are using your information
  • stop us using your information in certain ways

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties. Please note, your request may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under GDPR.

If you would like to exercise a right, please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at data.protection@kent.gov.uk.

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Contact

Please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at data.protection@kent.gov.uk to exercise any of your rights, or if you have a complaint about why your information has been collected, how it has been used or how long we have kept it for.

You can contact our Data Protection Officer, Benjamin Watts, at dpo@kent.gov.uk, or write to: Data Protection Officer, Sessions House, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ.

GDPR also gives you right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted on 03031 231113.

Read our corporate privacy statement.