Privacy notice – support and safeguarding

North Somerset Council is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for the purposes of processing personal data.

Support and safeguarding for children and young people within North Somerset Council is made up of the following areas:

  • referral and assessment
  • community family teams
  • disabled children’s team
  • resource service
    • children looked after team
    • care leaving and after care team
    • fostering team
  • youth offending service
  • high impact families 
  • education inclusion and virtual school
  • early years 
  • children’s centres 

The legislative reasons for collecting information are included in the following documents which outline where local authorities have duties placed on them:

  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • Children Act 1989
  • Working Together 2018

Information collected by us

In the course of providing specialist support for a child, young person and their family, we record 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)
  • 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 children looked after, 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 North Somerset children’s services teams from our existing records
  • court decisions relating to our statutory legal duties
  • details of any child or young person in care placed in North Somerset by another local authority

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

How long your personal data will be kept

The information you provide will be held and used in accordance with the requirements of UK and European data protection law. The information will form part of your social care record, and will be held for the retention period stated below, in line with North Somerset Council’s retention schedule:

1. Individual child or family case records for:

  • early help
  • children in need

These children will not have been subject to child protection procedures, nor looked after, nor adopted.

These records will include

  • contact forms
  • referrals
  • children in need (S17) assessments and records of provision of services
  • specialist needs assessments
  • care and support planning

These records will be kept until the child reaches the age of 30. If the child dies before age 18, records will be kept for six years from the date of death.

2. Child protection case records for children not looked after. This will include:

  • where a strategy discussion is convened
  • investigations under child protection (Section 47) of the Children Act 1989
  • child protection conference documents (assessments, reports, minutes and plans) and associated case recordings

These records will be kept for 35 years after a case has been closed.

3. Records relating to children looked-after including individual child case records and children leaving care records.

These records will be kept for 75 years from the child's date of birth. If the child dies before age 18, records will be kept for 15 years from date of death.

4. Records relating to private law applications made by parents where private proceedings (Section 7) and care proceedings (Section 37) reports have been prepared by social care.

These records will be kept until the child reaches the age of 30. If the child dies before age 18, records will be kept for six years from the date of death.

5. Documents used in any pre-proceedings case, for example:

  • assessments (parenting and kinship etc)
  • expert reports (drug, alcohol and DNA testing, psychological, psychiatric)
  • pre-proceedings plans (written agreements)
  • disclosure from health and police authorities and educational bodies

Documents used in any court applications made in respect of the child for any public law orders but where private law orders were made, for example: 

  • child arrangements orders
  • special guardianship orders

Documents used in any court applications made in respect of the child for any public law orders, for example: 

  • emergency protection orders
  • care orders
  • placement orders
  • supervision orders
  • family assistance orders

These form part of the child’s social care record. These records will be kept for 75 years from the child's date of birth. If the child dies before age 18, records will be kept for 15 years from date of death.

6. Case management files, records and court papers for adopted children and all records relating to the management of the adopted children where an adoption order has been made.

These records will be kept for 100 years.

7. Adoption case file where an adoption order is not made.

These records will be kept as set out in the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, Regulation 40.

8. Case records for foster carers:

  • approved under regulation 28 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2002
  • including relatives, friends or connected persons granted temporary approval under regulation 24 of the Care Planning and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010

This will consist of any information relating to them as part of their case records under regulation 30 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2002, including enquiry, application, assessment and training records, reviews and statutory register maintenance.

These records will be kept for at least 10 years from the date on which their approval is terminated.

9. Records listed in schedule 2 of the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. This includes records regarding each child placed with foster carers, records regarding all those working for the fostering service provider and a record of all accidents that occur to children or young people while they are placed with foster carers.

These records will be kept for a minimum of 15 years from the date of the last entry. Files should be reviewed before being destroyed as consideration needs to be given to the age of the child at potential destruction date and the possibility of them making a claim, particularly if the file contains any adverse comments or concerning incidents.

10. Case records for people who are not approved as foster carers or who withdraw their application prior to approval.

These records will be kept for at least three years from the refusal or withdrawal.

11. Private fostering (where parents make their own arrangements for their child to be privately fostered).

These records will be kept for 75 years from the child's date of birth. If the child dies before age 18, records will be kept for 15 years from date of death.

Reasons we can collect and use your personal data

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 individuals at risk, and equality of opportunity or treatment), for the provision of social care, or the management of social care systems or services, for social security or social protection law, and for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims whenever courts are acting in the judicial capacity.

The information we collect is gained from the referrer, family members or an agency that is working with the family once we have been given explicit consent to complete an assessment. We also collect information about those parents who have parental responsibility as well as your extended family as families are very important in helping to protect children.  We will also collect information about the services we provide to you.  It is important to have details of both parents/carers, whether you live together or not.

Who we share your personal information with

  • teams within North Somerset Council working to improve outcomes for children and young people
  • commissioned providers of local authority services (such as independent foster carer agencies, children’s homes, semi-independent accommodation providers, supported lodgings providers, residential special schools and secure accommodation)
  • schools
  • partner organisations signed up to North Somerset 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 for Education, Department for Work and Pensions and the Home Office
  • Ofsted (in the even of a local authority inspection of children’s services)

We will also 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 Commissioner's 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.

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 on 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.

You have the right to see the personal data we process about you, as well as the right of rectification, and restriction (of destruction of records only). 

If you have any questions or concerns about the way we process your personal data, contact our Data Protection Officer at