Data Protection

Data Protection Act 1998

Find out how to request your personal information

Can I access my personal information?

You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request.  This right of subject access means that you can make a request under the Data Protection Act to any organisation processing your personal data.

How do I make a request?

To make a subject access request, follow these steps:

1) Plan ahead

It will save you time if you do the following before writing your request:

  • Find out the right department and the right person to send the request to. Calling an organisation’s helpline or checking their privacy notice or policy on their website may help you find this out.
  • Check about the costs and fees in advance.
  • Make sure you know all the information you need. Organisations are entitled to charge a fee for every request, so you may have to pay another fee to get information you have not included in your original request.

2) Write to the organisation

When requesting your personal information from an organisation, you should include the following information:

  • your full name, address and contact telephone number;
  • any information used by the organisation to identify or distinguish you from others of the same name (account numbers, unique ID's etc);
  • details of the specific information you require and any relevant dates, for example: - your personnel file; - emails between ‘A’ and ‘B’ (between 1/6/11 and 1/9/11); - your medical records (between 2006 & 2009) held by Dr ‘C’ at ‘D’ hospital; - CCTV camera situated at (‘E’ location) on 23/5/12 between 11am and 5pm; - copies of statements (between 2006 & 2009) held in account number xxxxx .

It may also be helpful to include:

  • a reference to the 40-day deadline that applies when dealing with requests to provide personal information;
  • a reference to the Data Protection Act 1998 and subject access requests; and
  • reference to the assistance that the Information Commissioner’s Office can provide.
Alternatively, you may wish to use the template below:

[Your full address]

[Phone number]

[The date]

[Name and address of the organisation]

Dear Sir or Madam

Subject access request[Your full name and address and any other details to help identify you and the information you want.]

Please supply the information about me I am entitled to under the Data Protection Act 1998 relating to: [give specific details of the information you want, for example

  • your personnel file;
  • emails between ‘A’ and ‘B’ (between 1/6/11 and 1/9/11);
  • your medical records (between 2006 & 2009) held by Dr ‘C’ at ‘D’ hospital;
  • CCTV camera situated at (‘E’ location) on 23/5/12 between 11am and 5pm;
  • copies of statements (between 2006 & 2009) held in account number xxxxx).]

If you need any more information from me, or a fee, please let me know as soon as possible.

It may be helpful for you to know that a request for information under the Data Protection Act 1998 should be responded to within 40 days.

If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this letter to your Data Protection Officer. If you need advice on dealing with this request, the Information Commissioner’s Office can assist you and can be contacted on 0303 123 1113 or at ico.org.uk

Yours faithfully

[Signature]

 DPA Request Letter Template

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