Data Protection Policy

1. This data protection policy is designed to ensure that the rights to privacy of individuals are protected. Personal Care Consultants is committed to the principles set out in the General Data Protection Regulation and has reviewed its personal data processing activities so as to carry on its business on a professional basis in compliance with the provisions of the Regulation.

2. Data protection lead: this person is responsible for ensuring compliance with policies and procedures on data protection, for providing any staff training, for conducting audits, risk assessments and data protection impact assessments, for responding to requests from data subjects and dealing with data breaches. He or she also handles queries and complaints from data subjects about the processing of their data, including from any members of staff. The name of the data protection lead is Jill Baigent.

3. Data subject: an individual whose personal data is processed.

Personal Care Consultants processes personal data belonging to those who are pursuing litigation in terms of personal injury or clinical negligence and / or require expert therapeutic or clinical advice in relation to legal issues/vital interests, and also individuals linked in any way to the circumstances giving rise to those issues. The personal data of any members of staff is also processed.

4. Personal data: any information from which a living individual can be identified, either directly or indirectly. It is not limited to Personal Care Consultants and identification numbers, or to photographs or addresses.

The categories of personal data Personal Care Consultants processes include:

Legal cases

Names, addresses, dates of birth and other personal data contained in witness statements and other evidence relevant to the legal issues;
Health information contained in medical records, together with information on sex, race and ethnic origin;
Personal data in invoices and copy receipts, accounting records, tax and VAT returns and related information;

Members of staff

Names, addresses, dates of birth, personal email addresses and telephone numbers;
CVs, contracts of employment, DBS checks, references, appraisals and salaries;
Bank details and pay slips;
Health information;
Continuing Professional Development History

5. Special category data: information revealing an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic and biometric data, health information and data in relation to a person’s sex or sexual orientation.

The special category personal data Personal Care Consultants holds includes: Medical and other health records, information on sex, race and ethnic origin which are evidenced within our reports.

6. Processing: covers any activity involving personal data, including holding, storage and destruction.

7. Personal Care Consultants processes personal data in order to carry out the work of Consultants and Associates working as expert witnesses, case managers, risk assessors, therapists or clinicians and when carrying out other functions necessary to its business.

8. The data processing activities include: compiling expert reports, sending and receiving emails internally and externally, submitting invoices and filing them with receipts, uploading documents onto the server, using a customer relationship management system, holding staff details on hard copy/electronic personnel files, archiving and destroying information.

9. Sharing of personal data: Personal Care Consultants shares personal data internally, and also externally only when necessary to achieve its business purposes. In particular, it shares data with the following:

Confidential waste disposal companies
Digital typing services
Website providers
Cloud storage providers
IT support providers
Accountants and other professional advisers
VAT Commissioner
Companies House

Special category data is encrypted before it is shared. There is no transfer of data abroad.

10. Data controller: decides the why and the how of personal data processing. A controller can be a sole trader, a partnership, a private or public limited company or a large multi-national organization. It decides why it needs to collect personal data and how to process it.

11. Data processor: Personal Care Consultants is a data processor and is required to collect personal data in response to the written instructions of data controllers i.e. solicitors / the legal profession / health and social care commissioners.

12. Legitimising conditions: The processing of personal data is unlawful unless a legitimising condition, or lawful basis, applies. Personal Care Consultants generally relies on the following legitimising conditions:

Legitimate interest as a business
Contract (with employees)

When processing special category data, Personal Care Consultants generally relies on one of the following additional legitimising conditions

Legal claims
Explicit consent by way of data controller

Personal Care Consultants avoids relying on the consent basis where possible. In order to be valid, consent must be freely given and as easily withdrawn as it was to give it.

13. Data protection principles: Where there is a lawful basis for processing personal data, Personal Care Consultants takes proportionate steps to ensure it carries out its personal data processing activities in accordance with the various conditions or principles contained in the GDPR.

14. Accountability: This principle is designed to ensure that data protection is embedded in an organisation at all levels of decision making and becomes fundamental to its culture. Not only must Personal Care Consultants comply with the General Data Protection Regulation but it must be able to show it complies. It is for this reason that this policy, and the appended policies have been written. All staff receive training in these policies and Personal Care Consultants ensures that they are implemented.

15. Data protection by design: This is an aspect of the accountability principle. It means that data protection risks are evaluated and eradicated and reduced at the very earliest stage, whenever there is a significant change in processor procedures which entail a risk to data subjects. Examples: a substantial upgrade to an IT system, the introduction of CCTV cameras, outsourcing such as engaging a new cloud provider. Data Protection Impact Assessments are carried out by the data protection lead in these and other circumstances where there is likely to be a high risk to data subjects.

16. Data protection by default: minimisation: Another important principle is data minimisation. In other words, no more data should be collected, shared and stored than is strictly necessary. The retention periods for the personal data Personal Care Consultants stores are up to six years, as necessary. A schedule of retention periods is appended to this policy.

17. Security: This is one of the most important principles. Personal Care Consultants has taken physical, organisational and technical measures to ensure that its personal data is secure. Hard copy as well as electronic data is processed in accordance with Personal Care Consultants’ security policy, attached to this policy.

18. It is important that all members of staff comply with the security policy. Failure to do so is a disciplinary offence that may result in dismissal.

19. Personal data breach: The data protection lead is responsible for responding to personal data breaches. He or she notifies the Information Commissioner as necessary, and also data subjects where the risk to them is high.

20. Breaches which carry any risk to data subjects must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours, together with a summary of the nature of the breach, the steps taken to reduce the risk to data subjects, and measures to prevent the breach from happening again. Personal Care Consultants’ data breach policy is attached.

21 Rights of data subjects: Data subjects have eight rights which include:

Right to be informed about what Personal Care Consultants does with personal data;
Right of access to personal data by means of a subject access request;
Right to rectification of inaccurate data, and to add to the information Personal Care Consultants holds about the data subject if it is incomplete;
Right to erasure, otherwise known as the right to be forgotten;
Right to restrict the processing of personal data;
Right to object to the processing Personal Care Consultants carries out based on its legitimate interest.

Personal Care Consultants must respond to requests from data subjects within one month. The procedure for responding to requests is appended to this policy.

22. Human Resources: is responsible for processing the personal data of members of staff. It is stored in hard copy files that are stored securely/electronic files stored securely in the cloud. Access to these files is restricted. Special category data, such as medical records, is further restricted as appropriate. Special category data stored electronically are encrypted. No personal data is shared outside Human Resources, other than with the member of staff’s manager.

23. All members of staff receive training in data protection.

24. Data Protection Risk Register: All personal data processing activities are recorded in the data protection risk register.

25. Personal data breaches are recorded in the risk register, whether they are reportable or not.

26. The risk register contains a copy of all audits, risk assessments and Data Protection Impact Assessments.

27. The data protection lead holds the risk register.

28. Enforcement and disciplinary action: Failure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation is a criminal offence in many cases and can result in large fines. It is important that all staff are aware of this policy, receive training in data protection, and that this policy is properly implemented.

29. Any staff failure to comply with this and its associated policies is a disciplinary offence which may lead to disciplinary action and dismissal.