Returning Officer privacy statement
We keep this privacy notice under regular review and it was last updated on 16 March 2021.
Under section 35 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, each local authority must appoint a Returning Officer. Benjamin Watts is Kent County Council (KCC)’s Returning Officer and is the registered data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The Returning Officer collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you.
The Returning Officer is regulated under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. This privacy notice will inform you of how the Returning Officer processes your personal data in the course of delivering the county council elections.
The personal information the Returning Officer collects and uses
Information collected by the Returning Officer
In the course of managing KCC elections the Returning Officer collects the following personal information from candidates, election agents and subscribers, from district and borough councils.
- contact information, including phone number and email address
- candidate election expenses declaration
- receipts for election spending.
- contact information including phone number and email address - collected by district and borough councils to fulfil certain tasks in the delivery of the elections but is not shared with the county Returning Officer.
- candidate election expenditure return
- agent election expenses declaration.
Subscribers (those endorsing candidates)
- electoral number - collected by district and borough councils to fulfil certain tasks in the delivery of the elections but is not shared with the county Returning Officer.
Members of the press or public, making enquiries about the election
- contact information
Special category data
The Returning Officer also collects the following ‘special category data’ (personal data which is more sensitive and is treated with extra care and protection) when you provide it to us:
- candidates' political affiliation
The provision of special category data (political affiliation) is required from you to enable us to publish the party (if any) a candidate is standing for, as required by the Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations.
How the Returning Officer uses your personal information
The Returning Officer uses your personal information to:
- manage the election of KCC members – including publishing the necessary notices in line with legal requirements
- keeping in contact with candidates and election agents as required – including providing key information on obligations and requirements for candidates and election agents
- managing enquiries from the press and public in relation to the election.
Reasons the Returning Officer can collect and use your personal information
When your personal information is collected and used as outlined above, the Returning Officer relies upon the following legal bases of the UK GDPR.
Article 6(1)(c) will be relied upon when processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject, and Article 6(1)(e) Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of an official authority vested in the controller.
The processing is required to comply with the following legislation:
- The Representation of the People Act (1983)
- The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006
- The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Rules 2018.
Article 6(1)(a) will be relied upon when the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her data for one of more specified purposes, such as the sharing of candidates’ contact information with the Returning Officer by the district and borough councils, and the use of this contact information by the Returning Officer.
Where special categories of personal data are processed, Article 9(2)(g) will be relied upon as the lawful basis when processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.
Article 9(2)(j) will be relied upon when processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes such as the publication of election results on our website, which contain information relating to political opinions.
Article 9(2)(f) will be relied upon where the processing of special category data is necessary for the establishment, exercise, or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.
Additionally, when special category data is processed under Article 9(2)(g) of the UK GDPR, Schedule 1 Part 2 s6 Statutory and Government Purposes condition from the Data Protection Act (‘DPA’) 18 is relied upon.
The following appropriate safeguards are in place in respect of your special category data when relying on the conditions above:
- an Appropriate Policy Document to outline how special category (political affiliation) data is processed. This policy is retained throughout the time we use of your data and for 6 months after we cease to use it
- a retention schedule which explains how long data is retained.
How long your personal data will be kept
The Returning Officer will hold your personal information for:
- candidate information (unless stated otherwise below) – 1 year after the election
- candidate expenditure return, candidate expenses declaration and agent expenses declaration – 2 years from the date on the which the expenses are received. At the end of the 2 year period, the respective candidate or agent can request the return of the expenses documents. Otherwise, the expenses documents will be securely disposed of.
- home address forms will be securely stored for 35 working days by boroughs and districts after the result has been declared. If no petition relating to the election is presented within this period, then the forms will be destroyed the next working day
- if a petition relating to the election is presented within that time, the home address forms will be securely stored until the petition proceedings are concluded, (including any appeals from the proceedings). The forms will then be securely destroyed on the next working day following the conclusion of the proceedings or the appeal.
- Election Notices (Statement of Persons Nominated, Notice of Poll) – Published until the petition period for the election has expired. A petition must normally be presented within 21 calendar days after the day the election was held. If a petition relating to the election is presented within that time, the notices will be securely stored until the petition proceedings are concluded, (including any appeals from the proceedings). The forms will then be securely destroyed following the conclusion of the proceedings or the appeal
- subscriber information – held within election notices and destroyed in line with election notices
- Election Notice (Statement of Election Agents) – 2 months after declaration of the result
- Election Notice (Declaration of Result) – retained indefinitely for archiving purposes.
- press or public enquiries – 1 year after the election.
Who the Returning Officer shares your personal information with
The Returning Officer routinely publishes the following information online:
- names of candidates
- election agents
For the purposes of confirming the accuracy of data received, additional data is shared with the relevant district or borough council conducting the election on KCC’s behalf.
This data sharing enables the facilitation of the KCCC elections.
The Returning Officer will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law or in connection with legal proceedings.
The Returning Officer will share personal information with our legal and professional advisers in the event of a dispute, complaint, or claim.
Under the UK GDPR you have a number of rights which you can access 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
- ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
- object to direct marketing
- make a complaint to the ICO.
Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to:
- object to how we are using your information
- 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
- 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 ICO on individuals’ rights under the GDPR.
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.
Who to contact
Please contact email@example.com 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.
The General Data Protection Regulation also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner.