Department for Education publishes updated privacy notices for schools and local authorities

On 26 April 2016, the DfE published updated forms of privacy notice, for schools and local authorities to issue to individuals about the collection of…

Executive summary

On 26 April 2016, the Department for Education (DfE) published updated suggested forms of privacy notice, for schools and local authorities to issue to individuals including staff, parents and pupils about the collection of personal data. The updated model privacy notices include suggested text to: 

  • Notify pupils and the school workforce through brochures or noticeboards.
  • Display on a local authority's website.
  • Explain the uses of information held about looked after children and children in need. 

The suggested forms of privacy notices are intended to enable schools and local authorities to fulfil their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (‘the DPA’). 

In detail

Under the DPA, when an organisation collects personal information about an individual, it must make that information available to them. The DfE recommends that schools and local authorities use and amend the examples of privacy notices to suit their local needs and circumstances, subject to discussion of the suggested text with bodies’ own data protection adviser in order to reflect local policies. The DfE also suggests some mechanisms for issuing privacy notices, including: 

  • As part of a school brochure or induction pack, or in a school diary
  • On the school notice board
  • As part of a staff contract or induction pack
  • On the staff notice board
  • On the school or local authority website.                       

A child receiving social care services or a looked-after child could receive their privacy notice with information about the services offered which are available to them. 

Conclusions and recommendations

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recently consulted on "Privacy notices, transparency and control – a code of practice on community privacy information to individuals". The consultation closed on 24 March 2016 and it appears that the revised notices are intended to reflect proposed wider changes to best practice around the use of privacy notices. 

Privacy remains high on the political agenda whilst compliance with the DPA is complex. Coupled with increasing public awareness of the legal position around the collation and storage of personal information, if you are in any doubt about your responsibilities under the DPA, please contact us for expert assistance. 

For further information about Weightmans or to discuss any of the issues in this update, please contact either:

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