Data Protection Policy – August 2023

A guide to the Council's implementation of the principles set out in the Data Protection Act 2018


Colchester City Council needs to collect and use information about the people with whom it works; members of the public; current, past and prospective employees; customers; suppliers and others in order to carry out its duties.  

This Data Protection Policy sets out the organisation’s commitment and approach to data protection and provides a clear frame of reference for employees to determine the organisation’s standards, aims, and ideals in respect of data protection compliance.

The processing of personal data in the United Kingdom is regulated by law.  The principle statutory instrument setting out the legal obligations of those handling personal data is the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018).  Other laws inter-relate with the DPA 2018 including, but not limited to, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (2003) and the Freedom of Information Act (2000).  

These laws are collectively referred to in this Policy as Data Protection Legislation.  

Policy statement

Colchester City Council is committed to compliance with all relevant Data Protection Legislation and will formally delegate appropriate powers and responsibilities to its personnel to ensure that it is fully able to comply with Data Protection Legislation and its own defined standards in the field of data protection and information governance.

The Council will ensure that sufficient and appropriate resources are available to ensure that it meets both its legal obligations in respect of Data Protection Legislation and the standards that it sets through its policies.  

The Council will ensure that the organisation works within the 6 data protection principles and that it will implement sufficient controls to ensure that it is able to demonstrate compliance with the Data Protection Legislation including the keeping of sufficient records, risk assessments and decisions relating to personal data processing activities. 

The Council will uphold the rights and freedoms of people conferred on them by the Data Protection Legislation.  It will ensure that those rights and freedoms are appropriately taken into account in the decisions it takes which may affect people.  

The Council will ensure that data subjects have appropriate access, upon written request, to personal information relating to them (via Subject Access Requests) and will ensure the data subjects’ rights to rectification, erasure, restriction, portability and object are adhered to.

This policy applies to all Council activities and operations which involve the processing of personal data.

This policy applies to anyone who is engaged to process personal data for or on behalf of the Council including: employees, volunteers, casual and temporary staff, directors and officers, Councillors and third-parties such as sub-contractors and suppliers, and anyone who the Council shares or discloses personal data with/to.

The Council will ensure that all personal data is handled properly and with confidentiality, at all times, irrespective of whether it is held on paper or by electronic means.  X

This includes:

  • The obtaining of personal data
  • The storage and security of personal data
  • The use and processing of personal data
  • The disposal of or destruction of personal data.

Definition of personal data

Personal data includes information relating to persons who can be identified or who are identifiable, directly from the information in question or who can be indirectly identified from that information in combination with other information.  This will include any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual. 

The principles of data protection

Whenever collecting or handling information about people the Council will ensure that:

  • Personal data is processed, lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • No data collection or processing activities will be undertaken or commissioned without an appropriate privacy notice being provided to the person about whom data is being collected
  • No data collection or processing activities will be undertaken or commissioned without there being a lawful ground for the data processing activities intended to be applied to the personal data
  • The purposes for which personal data is obtained and processed are specified and that personal data is not used for any other purpose (unless permitted within the data protection legislation)
  • Processing of personal data is adequate relevant and limited to what is necessary
  • It uses reasonable endeavours to maintain data as accurate and up-to-date as possible 
  • Personal data is retained only for as long as necessary
  • The Council will maintain a data retention schedule setting out retention periods for each service
  • Data is disposed of properly
  • All personal data is processed in accordance with the rights of the individual(s) concerned
  • Personal data is processed in an appropriate manner to maintain security
  • The movement of personal data is done in a lawful way, both inside and outside the Council, and that suitable safeguards exist, at all times.
  • A Data Breach Reporting Procedure is maintained
  • All employees and those with access to personal data are aware of it
  • The Council will log all personal data breaches and will investigate each incident without delay
  • Appropriate remedial action will be taken as soon as possible to isolate and contain the breach, evaluate and minimise its impact, and to recover from the effects of the breach (including identifying actions to prevent such a breach re-occurring)
  • If a breach is assessed as meeting the threshold for reporting to the Information Commissioner’s Office, a report will be made without delay
  • If a breach is assessed as meeting the threshold for notification to data subjects, notification will be made without undue delay
  • It strives to foster a culture of data protection by design and by default in all data processing activities
  • The Council’s Chief Executive Officer is the Accountable Officer ultimately responsible for ensuring that all information is appropriately protected.

Definition of special category data

The legislation makes a distinction between 'personal data' and 'special category data’:

Special category data is defined as personal data consisting of information as to:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinion
  • Religious or other beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Physical or mental health or condition
  • Sexual life or sexual orientation
  • Criminal proceedings or convictions
  • Philosophical
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data.

Roles and responsibilities

Colchester City Council will ensure that:​​​​

  • A member of staff, the Data Protection Officer (DPO), is appointed who has specific responsibility for data protection within the Council
  • Any disclosure of personal data is in compliance with the legislation and is disclosed via approved procedures
  • Anyone managing and handling personal information understands that they are legally bound to follow good data protection practice
  • Anyone managing and handling personal information is appropriately trained
  • Staff have access only to personal information relevant to their roles
  • Appropriate advice and guidance is available to anyone wanting to make enquiries about personal information processing by the Council
  • Enquiries and requests regarding personal information are handled courteously and within the time limits set out in law
  • All staff and councillors are fully aware of this policy and of their duties and responsibilities under Data Protection Legislation
  • Where personal data may need to be shared with third parties in order to deliver services or perform our duties, the Council will only share personal data when a lawful basis can justify that sharing, where it is necessary to achieve a clear purpose and, with that purpose in mind, it is fair and proportionate to do so
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) are conducted, and approved by the Data Protection Officer 
  • A record of personal data processing is kept and maintained.

Everyone will ensure that:

  • All data processing operations under their control or sphere of responsibility or commissioned by them are undertaken in compliance with this policy,  related policies and Data Protection Legislation
  • Ensuring processing is lawful, fair and transparent
  • Ensuring personal data is only collected and processed for specific explicit purposes
  • Paper files and other records or documents containing personal and or special category data are kept and destroyed securely
  • Personal data held electronically is protected by the use of secure passwords and/or access controls, is kept securely and destroyed securely 
  • All users must choose passwords which meet the security criteria specified by the Council in its Password Policy
  • Staff working remotely from home or elsewhere must keep any Council owned equipment they use secure and prevent systems and data for which the Council is responsible being used or seen by members of their family or any other unauthorised person
  • No personal data is disclosed either verbally or in writing, accidentally or otherwise, to any unauthorised third party
  • Personal data is not stored on non CCC devices or forwarded to personal email accounts
  • Personal data is not to be left where it can be accessed by persons not authorised to see it
  • Personal data is kept up to date and accurate
  • Personal data is kept in accordance with the Council’s retention schedule
  • Any data protection breaches are swiftly brought to the attention of the Data Protection Officer and that they support the Data Protection Officer in investigating and resolving breaches
  • They assist the Data Protection Officer with any remedial actions required following a personal data breach
  • Where there is uncertainty around a data protection matter advice is sought from the data protection team.
  • Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against staff held responsible for repeated personal data breaches.

The Council reserves the right to contract out data processing activities or operations involving the processing of personal data to third parties, in the interests of business efficiency and effectiveness.

No third-party data processors will be appointed who are unable to provide satisfactory assurances that they will handle personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Legislation.  

All processors, contractors, consultants, partners must:

  • Confirm in writing that they will abide by the requirements of Data Protection legislation with regard to any personal data obtained from the Council or held on it's behalf
  • Provide assurance relating to their compliant handling of personal data and when requested allow the Council to audit the protection of data held on its behalf
  • Ensure that they and all persons appointed by them who have access to personal data held or processed for or on behalf of the Council are fully trained in their duties and responsibilities under Data Protection legislation
  • Ensure that the Council receives prior notification of any disclosure of personal data to any other organisation or any person who is not a direct employee of the contractor
  • Indemnify the Council without limitation against any prosecutions, claims, proceedings, actions or payments of compensation or damages arising from the loss or misuse of data.  Any breach of any provision of Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) or the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be deemed as being a breach of any contract between the Council and that individual, company, partner or firm.

The Council’s Data Protection Officer is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that staff are aware of this policy
  • Advising the Council and its staff of its obligations under Data Protection legislation
  • Assessing the impact of any personal data breaches and identifying remedial actions
  • Ensuring the provision of Data Protection training, for staff within the Council
  • The development of best practice guidelines
  • Ensuring compliance checks are undertaken to ensure adherence, throughout the authority, with Data Protection Legislation
  • Providing advice on Data Protection Impact Assessments
  • To co-operate with and act as the contact point for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
  • Conducting an annual review of this Data Protection Policy and the practices and procedures pertaining to it to ensure continuing compliance with all relevant statutory provisions.

The Council’s Senior Information Risk Owner, is responsible for: 

  • Ensuring appropriate mechanisms are in place to support service delivery and continuity
  • Being the organisation’s leader and Champion for Information Risk Management and Assurance
  • Advocating good information management and security practices
  • Acting in an arbitrary role – to challenge risk mitigation
  • Ensuring others are undertaking risk assessments and assurance activities
  • Is the senior manager with accountability for data protection and information risk and provides a link to the Council’s Senior Leadership Board

Data subject rights

The Council recognises the legal rights of those whose data it is processing and will ensure that appropriate information is provided to them advising them of their rights, and that policies and procedures are maintained to ensure that the organisation is able to recognise information rights requests and handle them appropriately when they are exercised.  These rights include:

  • Right to information about data processing operations
  • Right of access to personal data
  • Right to portability of personal data
  • Right of rectification of personal data
  • Right of erasure of personal data
  • Right to restriction of processing
  • Right to object to direct marketing
  • Right to object to data processing operations under some circumstances
  • Right not to be subject to decisions made by automated processing under some circumstances
  • Right of complaint about the organisation’s processing of personal data and the right to a judicial remedy and compensation

The Information Commissioner

Colchester City Council is registered with The Information Commissioner as a data controller.  The DPA 2018 requires every data controller who is processing personal data to notify and renew their notification on an annual basis. 

Policy review

The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated as necessary at these reviews.

Further information

For further information about Colchester City Council’s compliance with Data Protection Legislation, please visit or email

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