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Privacy Policy

Colchester Borough Council collects holds and processes a considerable amount of information, including personal information to allow it to provide services effectively.

Colchester Brough Council does this in it's capacity as a data controller. Contact details for the data controller can be found in the 'Where can I get advice section?' below.

The Council recognises that this information is important to citizens and that it is responsible to the citizens for the information it holds about them. As such, it takes seriously its responsibilities under Data Protection legislation to ensure that any personal information it collects and uses is done so proportionately, correctly and safely.

The privacy notice below explains how the Council uses information about you and the ways in which we protect your privacy. At the bottom of this webpage you'll see a list of services we provide. Under each service is more information about who we may share your information with and why.

What is personal data?

Personal data means any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.

This definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, including name, identification number, location data or online identifier, reflecting changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.

What level of personal data is used?

The Council collects, holds and uses personal data to allow it to provide services on behalf of the citizens of Colchester. These services include, amongst others, planning, recycling and waste, council tax and benefits, elections and voting, parking and travel, housing, business rates, licencing, environmental health and leisure activities.

Why we use personal information?

Colchester Borough Council will use your personal data for a limited number of purposes, and at all times within the rules set out in Data Protection legislation.

We will process personal data for the following purposes:

  • For the purpose for which you provided the information. e.g. processing information given on a benefit claim form for the purpose of processing your benefit claim, and to monitor the Council's performance in responding to your request.
  • To allow the Council to be able to communicate and provide services appropriate to your needs.
  • To ensure that the council meets its legal requirements, including obligations imposed under the Race Relations Act and Health and Safety Acts.
  • Where necessary for the Council's Law Enforcement functions, e.g. licensing, planning enforcement, trading standards, food safety, etc, where Colchester Borough Council is legally obliged to undertake such processing.
  • Where the processing is necessary to comply with its legal obligations, e.g. the prevention and/or detection of crime.
  • To process financial transactions including grants, payments and benefits involving Colchester Borough Council, or where Colchester Borough Council is acting on behalf of other government bodies, e.g. department for Works and Pensions.
  • Where you have consented to the processing.
  • Where necessary to protect individuals from harm or injury.
  • Colchester Borough Council will use your personal data, after it has been anonymised, to allow the statistical analysis of data to allow the Council to effective target and plan the provision of services.
  • To deliver services and support to you, to manage those services, to monitor the quality of services provided and to plan new and updated services.
  • To train staff.
  • Where we need to investigate any worries or complaints you have about your services.

How the law allows us to use your personal information

There are a number of legal reasons why we need to collect and use your personal information. Each privacy notice at the bottom of this page explains for each service which legal reason is being used. Generally we collect and use personal information where:

  • you, or your legal representative, have given consent
  • you have entered into a contract with us
  • it is necessary to perform our statutory duties
  • it is necessary to protect someone in an emergency
  • it is required by law
  • it is necessary for employment purposes
  • you have made your information publicly available
  • it is necessary for legal cases
  • it is to the benefit of society as a whole
  • it is necessary to protect public health
  • it is necessary for archiving, research, or statistical purposes

If we have consent to use your personal information, you have the right to remove it at any time. If you want to remove your consent, please contact and tell us which service you're using so we can deal with your request.

Customer record

Colchester Borough Council is working on improving how it provides services to the citizens of Colchester. The Council holds a customer record, comprising of your name and address. For some services we might also ask for email address and telephone number.

The customer record will allow the council to respond to any queries you may have in respect of the provision of services more quickly and efficiently. By linking into other Council systems, any query or issue can be investigated more quickly. However, access to such Council systems will only take place in response to any query or instruction received by yourself, and only where such access is necessary to answer or respond to the query or issue raised by yourself.

If you call our Contact Centre staff are able to see a summary record of previous contact you have had with Colchester Borough Council. Access to this is restricted and staff are required to operate within the guidelines set out in our Data Protection Policy.

Your account

You can get your own customer account to get extra services such as faster online forms, ordering services without giving your details every time, and the ability to track progress of your requests. If you register, we may contact you about your requests.

We will never contact you to ask for your account password or other login information. Please exercise caution if you receive any emails or calls from people asking for this information and claiming to be from Colchester Borough Council.

Telephone calls

Calls made direct to, or from, our Customer Service Centre are recorded and kept for 12 months from the date of the call. If the call is transferred to a member of staff outside the Customer Service Centre, the recording stops. Calls may be recorded if telephoning direct to other service teams on alternative numbers.

Newsletter subscriptions

If you subscribe to a newsletter on our website(s) or at any events, we will not pass your details onto any third parties, and they will be stored confidentially, in accordance with the Data Protection legislation. In order for us to provide this service to you we will need to collect and store an email address. You can unsubscribe at any time by going to accounts/UKCOLCHESTER/ subscriber/topics?qsp=UKCOLCHESTER_2

Your rights

The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us and how it is used by us.

How can you access the information we hold about you?

You are also legally entitled to request access to any records held by Colchester Borough Council about yourself. When we receive a request from you in writing, we must normally give you access to everything we have recorded about you. However, we will not let you see any parts of your record which contain:

  • confidential information about other people; or
  • information a care professional thinks will cause serious harm to your or someone else's physical or mental wellbeing; or
  • if we think that a crime may be prevented or found out by disclosing information to you.

This applies to paper and electronic records. If you ask us, we will also let others see your care record (except if one of the points above applies). To make a subject access request please visit or email

How can you request correction of inaccurate information?

Whilst Colchester Borough Council tries to ensure that any personal data it holds about you is correct, there may be situations where the information it holds is no longer accurate. If this is the case, please contact the department holding the information so that any errors can be investigated and corrected. You should let us know if you disagree with something written on your file. You may not always be able to change or remove the information. However, we will correct factual inaccuracies and may include your comments in the records.

You can ask to delete information (right to be forgotten)

In some circumstances you can ask for your personal information to be deleted, for example:

  • Where your personal information is no longer needed for the reason why it was collected in the first place
  • Where you have removed your consent for us to use your information (where there is no other legal reason us to use it)
  • Where there is no legal reason for the use of your information
  • Where deleting the information is a legal requirement
  • Where your personal information has been shared with others, we'll do what we can to make sure those using your personal information comply with your request for erasure.

Please note that we can't delete your information where:

  • we're required to have it by law
  • it is used for freedom of expression
  • it is used for public health purposes
  • it is for, scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes where it would make information unusable
  • it is necessary for legal claim

You can ask to limit what we use your personal data for

You have the right to ask us to restrict what we use your personal information for where:

  • you have identified inaccurate information, and have told us of it
  • where we have no legal reason to use that information but you want us to restrict what we use it for rather than erase the information altogether

When information is restricted it can't be used other than to securely store the data and with your consent to handle legal claims and protect others, or where it's for important public interests of the UK.

You have the right to ask us to stop using your personal information for any council service. However, if this request is approved this may cause delays or prevent us delivering that service.

Where possible we'll seek to comply with your request, but we may need to hold or use information because we are required to by law.

You can ask to have your information moved to another provider (data portability)

You have the right to ask for your personal information to be given back to you or another service provider of your choice in a commonly used format. This is called data portability.

However this only applies if we're using your personal information with consent (not if we're required to by law) and if decisions were made by a computer and not a human being.

Right to complain

You have the right to complain about any matter relating to our service, including how we use your personal data. In the first instance please contact our Data Protection Officer by e-mailing

How do we keep information secure?

We will take appropriate steps to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we will only make them available to those who have a right to see them. Our security includes:

  • encryption
  • access controls on systems
  • security training for all staff

Our Data Protection and Information Security policies can be found below:

Data Protection Policy 2019

Information Security Policy 2019

Where in the world is your infomation?

The majority of personal information is stored on systems in the UK. But there are some occasions where your information may leave the UK either in order to get to another organisation or if it's stored in a system outside of the EU.

We have additional protections on your information if it leaves the UK ranging from secure ways of transferring data to ensuring we have a robust contract in place with that third party.

We'll take all practical steps to make sure your personal information is not sent to a country that is not seen as 'safe' either by the UK or EU Governments.

How long do we keep your personal information?

We will only store your personal information for as long as is necessary. Records will be kept in accordance with our retention policy.

Who will we share your personal information with?

We use a number of commercial companies and partners to either store personal information or to manage it on our behalf. Where we have these arrangements there is always a contract or information sharing protocol in place to ensure that the organisation complies with Data Protection law. Arrangements involving sensitive personal data will have been formally assessed in more detail for their compliance with the law.

Sometimes we have a legal duty to give information about people. This is often because we must give that information to courts.

We may also share your personal information when we feel there is a good reason that is more important than protecting your confidentiality. This does not happen often, but we may share your information:

  • for the detection and prevention of crime/fraudulent activity; or
  • if there are serious risks to the public, our staff or to other professionals;
  • to protect a child; or
  • to protect adults who are thought to be at risk, for example if they are frail, confused or cannot understand what is happening to them.

The law does not allow us to share your information without your permission, unless there is proof that someone is at risk. This risk must be identified as being serious before we can go against your right to confidentiality. When we are worried about your physical safety or we feel that we need to take action to protect you from being harmed in other ways, we will discuss this with you and, if possible, get your permission to tell others about your situation. We may still share your information if we believe the risk to others is serious enough to do so. There may also be rare occasions when the risk to others is so great that we need to share the information straight away. If this is the case, we will make sure that we record the information we share and our reasons for doing so.

Wherever possible we will only use anonymised, pseudonymised or de-personalised information.

Data Matching may be used to assist the Council in responding to emergencies or major accidents, by allowing the Council, in conjunction with the emergency services, to identify individuals who may need additional support in the event of e.g. an emergency evacuation.

We do not sell personal information to any other organisation for the purposes of direct marketing.

Where can I get advice?

If you would like further information or if you have any concerns about how the Council is handling your personal data, these can be raised with the Council's Data Protection Officer: Email:

Write to: Information Services, Colchester Borough Council, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3WG.

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) at:

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number. Alternatively, visit or email

Updates to this privacy notice

Colchester Borough Council will continually review and update this privacy notice to reflect changes in our services and feedback from service users, as well as to comply with changes in the law. When such changes occur, we will revise the "last updated" date at the top of this notice. We encourage you to periodically visit the Council's web site to review this notice and to be informed of how Colchester Borough Council is protecting your information.

The privacy notice was last updated on 09/07/2019.

Page last reviewed:


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