Privacy Policy

Whether you are visiting our website, contacting us by email, by phone or visiting a council office or council-managed location, we may collect some personal information about you. Whenever we collect your personal information, we want you to be reassured that we will handle it responsibly and legally.

‘Personal data’ is any information which relates to a living individual who can be identified (either directly or indirectly) from this information. This also includes information which only identifies someone when combined with other information in a person’s possession.

Our policies and procedures on managing personal information are designed to satisfy legal requirements and meet the standards residents, service users, employees, customers, partners and other public authorities expect from us.

Why we collect your personal information

We are the controller for any personal information which we have collected. This means that we collect the information and decide how it is used. See section 4 for the ways in which we may collect your personal information.

We use personal information to provide and manage services effectively. We do not share personal information unless it is necessary, lawful and appropriate to do so in the circumstances.

Some of the reasons why the council needs to collect your personal information are:

  • Providing Council Services and support to you

  • Collecting taxes, revenue and administer grants and benefits

  • Carry out Council functions

  • Help investigate any worries or complaints you have about our services

  • To enable government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions to process your benefit claim

  • Maintaining of the electoral register.

  • Protecting you or others by helping to detect, investigate, enforce and prevent crime and fraud.

  • Processing job applications, school places, housing applications and other requests you or others might make to us in our role as a local authority and employer.

  • Processing payments made to the council for council tax, debts, fines, rent and other services we offer.

  • Sometimes we are bound by law to collect personal information or support its collection because of legal reasons.

  • To provide healthcare services and safeguard the health and wellbeing, and environment of our residents.

  • Making payments to you and others for various welfare benefits, other benefits, salaries and compensation.

  • Investigating matters that concern or involve our residents.

  • Helping us plan to improve services

  • Ensuring that planning and building regulations are being followed.

  • When we act in a statutory role to issue licences, parking notices, provide education, social services and other statutory functions.

  • Studying trend and contributing to research that will benefit your health and wellbeing.

  • Improving your browsing experience when you use our website. Although we never use this information to identify you, it is still your personal information.

  • Whatever the reason is for collecting your personal information, we ensure there is an appropriate lawful basis in the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act, for doing so.

Lawful basis are legal paths in data protection law that regulate our approach and conduct when we collect your information. Please see section 5 for the Legal Basis the council uses for processing your personal information.

Personal information we collect

We will collect personal details appropriate to the service you require. No more information will be collected than is required to deliver that service.

Here is a list of personal information we may collect.

  • Name, title and address

  • Gender, date of birth, place of birth and age

  • Ethnicity and country of origin and sexuality

  • Immigration status and Asylum Seeker number

  • Sexuality and marital status

  • Physical, mental and other health records

  • Criminal convictions and other law enforcement records

  • Education, academic and home school records

  • Membership of trade unions

  • Religious, political and philosophical beliefs

  • Genetic and biometric information

  • Location information

  • Internet protocol address

  • Employment information

  • Financial account information including bank details,

  • Vehicle registration

  • Mobile number, telephone number, fax number and email

  • National Insurance, and NHS numbers

  • Unique personal and pupil reference numbers

  • Family relationships, next of kin, parents and children information

  • Audio recording, CCTV and other photographic images

  • Identification documents including driving licence, passport etc

  • Some of the information we collect is classified as sensitive, such as medical records. Some personal information will be processed by automated means; for example, information collected by council-owned traffic enforcement systems.

Whether the information is personal or sensitive we will treat it with care, and ensure it is processed lawfully and responsibly.

How we collect your personal information

The council collects your personal information in the following ways:

  • Face to face meetings with council officers

  • Telephone Calls

  • Through electronic or paper forms

  • When you talk to one of our officers by phone

  • Emails

  • Fax messages

  • When you visit any of our offices, buildings or council-managed locations.

  • Documents you give to us.

  • On CCTV

We might also collect your personal information indirectly from:

  • Other public authorities

  • Employment agencies

  • Educational institutions

  • Council residents

  • Legal representatives

  • Charitable organisations

  • Housing Associations

  • Private landlords

  • Tenants Home Contents Insurance Provider

The laws that allow us use your personal information

Depending on the purpose for collecting your information, our lawful basis might be;

  • Consent

  • Contract

  • Where you have made the information public,

  • When the law says we must

  • To protect you or others when you or others are not in a position to provide consent

  • If the information is important for the public good and this reason is supported by specific law

  • Because of our role as a Local Authority responsible for employment, provision of health and social care, investigating your capacity to work, social security and protection

  • For reasons of public health

  • Preventative or occupational medicine

  • Preserving the record for the future and to study patterns that will help us provide better services

Processing of data can mean using the personal information in any way, such as:

    • Collecting / obtaining / recording

    • Storing (including holding on someone else’s behalf)

    • Reading / viewing

    • Sharing and disclosing

    • Amending or altering

    • Analysing

    • Deleting / destroying

    • Adapting

    • Everything the council does with your personal information will be classed as processing.

  • Personal Data

To process personal data we have to have a lawful basis under Article 6 of the UKGDPR. Those the Council may rely on are:

  • Consent

    : the individual has given clear consent for us to process their personal data for a specific purpose.

  • Contract

    : the processing is necessary for a contract we have with the individual, or because they have asked us to take specific steps before entering into a contract.

  • Legal obligation

    : the processing is necessary for us to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations).

  • Vital interests

    : the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.

  • Public task

    : the processing is necessary for us to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions.

  • If you have provided us with your consent to use your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us using the contact details in Section 9.

Special Category Information

Special category data is personal data which is more sensitive and has the potential to cause more harm if processed inappropriately. The following types of information are special category data that the council may process about you:

  • race

  • ethnic origin

  • nationality

  • politics

  • religion

  • trade union membership

  • genetics

  • biometrics (where used for ID purposes)

  • health

  • sex life

  • sexual orientation

  • To process special category data we also need a lawful basis under Article 9 of the UKGDPR. The ones which the Council may rely on are:

  • The data subject has given explicit consent to the processing

  • Processing is necessary for the purposes of employment and social security and social protection law

  • Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject

  • Processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject

  • Processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims

  • Processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest

  • Processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services

  • Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health

  • Processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes

  • If you have provided us with your consent to use your special category personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us using the contact details in Section 9.

In some limited circumstances, we may also need to collect and use criminal history information about you. We may do so where:

  • it is in the substantial public interest

  • it is necessary for any legal claims

  • it is necessary to protect you or someone else in an emergency

  • it is information which is already in the public domain, or

  • we have your explicit consent to use criminal history information about you

  • To be able to collect, process, share and retain your personal information, we rely on different laws that tell us what information we are allowed to collect, how we process this personal information, who we can share this information with and how long we can keep it for. Some of these laws tell us how to make sure people are safe, some of them tell us what information we are allowed to share with you. Here is a list of important legislation we rely on:

  • The Localism Act 2011

  • Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015

  • The Care Act 2014

  • The Public Records Act 1958

  • Children Act 2004

  • Children and Adoption Act 2006

  • Local Authority Social Services Act 1970

  • Care planning, placement and case review and fostering services (miscellaneous amendments) regulations 2013

  • Education Act 2011

  • Children and Families Act 2014

  • Children and Social Work Act 2017

  • Children and Young Persons Act 2008

  • Foster Service Regulations 2011

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

  • The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953

  • The Marriage Act 1949

  • The Civil Partnership Act 2004

  • Population Statistics Act 1938

  • Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977

  • Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008

  • Immigration Act 2016

  • Registration Service Act 1953

  • Council Tax (administration and enforcement) Regulations 1992

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992

  • National Health Service Act 2006

  • The Health and Social Care Act

  • The Public Records Act 1967

  • The Local Government Act 1972

  • The School Governance Regulations 2012

  • The UK General Data Protection Regulation

  • The Data Protection Act 2018

  • The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003

  • Employment Rights Act 1996

  • The Race Relations Act 1976

  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

  • The Employment Relations Act 1999

  • The Mental Health Act 1983

  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005

  • The Police Act 1996

  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004

  • The Human Rights Act 1998

  • The Road Traffic Act 1991

  • The Housing Act 1988

  • The Hosing Act 1985 (Right to Buy)

  • The Insolvency Act 1986

  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998

  • Building and Safety Act 2022

  • Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017

  • The Terrorism Act 2000

  • The Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) 2002

  • Money Laundering Regulations 2017

  • Law and Property Act 1929

  • Education Act 1996

  • Some laws we rely on are not listed here but are connected with these laws and might contain directives not mentioned in these. We use relevant legislation to guide our conduct across the services and areas we are responsible for.

Who we may share your personal information with

Your personal information may be shared with internal departments or with external partners and agencies involved in delivering services on our behalf. They will only have access to your information on a need to know basis and will only be provided with the minimum amount of personal information required to provide that service.

When we process your personal information, we may share it with other organisations or individuals. We will only share your personal information with third parties where we have a legal basis to do so. The third parties we share your personal information with are determined by the service we are working with to deliver to you or on your behalf, what the law says we must do and in some cases, fulfilling a request received from you to share your personal information. Below are the categories of third parties we may share your personal information with:

  • Public Authorities

  • The Police

  • His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions

  • The Insolvency Service

  • Law enforcement and the Courts

  • The National Health Service

  • Other Local Authorities and Public Authorities

  • Disclosure checking services

  • Members of Parliament and other elected representatives

  • Across Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s services (on a need to know basis only)

  • Non-Public Authorities

  • Charitable organisations

  • Health care providers

  • Housing providers and Private Landlords

  • Adoption and fostering agencies

  • Employment agencies

  • Educational institutions

  • Private Service Delivery organisations

  • Legal Counsel representing you or the Council

  • Utility providers

  • Organisations / suppliers providing a service on behalf of the Council

Before we share your personal information, we make sure that those receiving this information understand their legal responsibility, we ensure your information is shared in a secure way, and we only share what is necessary. Before we share your personal information we decide whether the decision to share it is appropriate. We also make sure there is a written agreement between the council and the third party.

How long we keep your personal information

Sandwell Council’s Retention Policy sets out the information held by the Council, and how long the associated records should to be held for. Sandwell MBC’s retention schedule has been developed and aligned with the recommendation and best practice of the Records Management Society of Great Britain, legislative recommendation, other local authorities, best practice, relevant code of practice and in certain instances record weighting against the statute of limitation in England and Wales.

Please see the ouncils retention policy  for more information.

UK Covid-19 Inquiry

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry has been set up to examine the UK’s response to, and impact of, the Covid-19 pandemic and learn lessons for the future. The Inquiry will examine, consider and report on preparations and the response up to and including the Inquiry’s formal setting-up date of 28 June 2022. Bodies exercising public functions, including local authorities (which includes Sandwell Council), are required to comply with the Inquiry. They must:

“ensure that a full and clear record of their part in events exists, is accessible, and that they apply a precautionary principle by retaining all material that could be relevant”

Under section 35 of the Inquiries Act 2005 it is an offence to alter, destroy or prevent relevant documents from being provided to the Inquiry. Documents that may be relevant to the Inquiry, considering th Inquiry’s Terms of Reference , must be securely retained and kept accessible in case they need to be disclosed to the Inquiry.

As such some of the personal information we hold will need to be kept longer than the stipulated retention periods set out in the retention schedule.

Once the Inquiry has been completed and authorisation has been given by the Inquiry, records will be deleted in line with the retention periods stipulated within the retention policy.

Your rights under the law

Here are the rights you have and what they mean when we are in possession of your personal information.

Right to be Informed

We must tell you what information we need from you, why we need your information, the law that allows us process your information, how we will process your information, if we share your information and with who we share, the rights the law has allowed you to exercise, how long we intend to keep your information, how you can access your information with us, how to contact our Data Protection Officer, and how to contact the Information Commissioners Office.

Right of Access

You can request to see your personal information we hold. When you exercise this right, it is called a Subject Access Request. The law mandates us to respond within one month of receiving your request.

Right to Rectification

If you discover that the information we hold about you is incomplete or wrong, depending on the reason for collecting that information, we can correct the information without delay.

Right to Erasure

There may be occasions when we no longer need your information for the particular reason it was collected, if you had to give us permission to use your personal information (consent) and you would like to withdraw that permission, and where we may be holding that information against the law. If this should ever happen, you are allowed to request that the council should securely remove this information from our systems.

Right to Restriction of Processing

Instead of asking us to remove your personal information from our systems, in cases where you have concerns that the information is incorrect, or no longer needed by us, or you question the lawful reason we gave for holding your information, you can ask us to limit the use of the information. It might also be that you want us to hold on to the information because you might need it for a legal purpose.

When you make any request, we will investigate whether you are entitled to have your request granted. Even if we find out that you are not entitled to this right in a particular circumstance, we will still let you know before we continue to use your information.

Right to Data Portability

If you had to give us permission to use your personal information (consent), or we collected your personal information to process an employment contract and this personal information is processed automatically by our computers, you can ask for a copy of this information in digital format (that is, in a format that another computer can read) and/or transferred to another local authority or organisation.

It is important that we let you know this right will not always apply, because we provide most of our services as a public authority and the law allows us to be exempt from this right most of the time.

Right to Object

You have a right to ask us to stop processing information that refers to your particular circumstance. The law allows you to request that we do not continue to use the particular information. Where we refuse your request, we will respectfully give you our reasons.

Right to Reject Automated Decisions

The law allows you to refuse or reject the results from the automated processing of your personal information regarding health, economic status, personal preferences, interests, performance at work, reliability, behaviour, location, movements and anything that affects you legally. You also have the right in such a case, to ask that a human processes the information instead.

However, this right will not apply in many of the functions we perform in our role as a public authority and if the processing involves entering into a contract with you.

You can make a request for any of the rights listed above by contacting the council using the contact details in Section 9.

How to access your personal information with us

We realise on occasion, you might want to see information we have collected about you, along with an explanation of the lawful basis we used to obtain and process it.

Such a request is called a Subject Access Request. You can do this by telling us verbally or in writing. Here is useful guidance to follow when you do this:

  • Decide what personal information you want us to look for. For example, an application you made for a school place

  • Then, tell us what you want, in person, by phone or in writing

  • Fill out any forms we ask for

  • Provide any form of identification we ask for

How do I make a Subject Access Request?

Apply online via a MySandwell Account (You can log in with your existing MySandwell account details or register for a new MySandwell Account) Alternatively, you may wish to download and complete ourSubject Access Request Form.

It’s not necessary for you to apply online or complete this form in order to submit a Subject Access Request, but they provide a useful guide to what details we need in order to respond.

If you would like further guidance about how to submit a request for personal information, contact the Information Governance team at

Filming and photographs

During council events and functions, we may use video and photographs to record these. At these events, we will display signage to tell you what we are doing. If you prefer not to be filmed or photographed at such events, you should tell the council officers at the event.

Website and cookies

To improve your experience when you view our website, we sometimes place small data files on your computer. These data files are known as cookies. These files help to make sure your browsing experience on our website is simple, quick and safe.

We also use Google Analytics to collect information about how people use our site.

Details about the different cookies set by Google Analytics can be found at Google Analytics Cookies

Note: You can use a browser Add-on to opt-out of Google Analytics cookies should you so choose.

How to contact the Data Protection Officer & Information Commissioner’s Office

The council has a dedicated officer to make sure we respect your rights – this is the Data Protection Officer. The primary role of the data protection officer (DPO) is to ensure that the council processes the personal data of its staff, customers, providers or any other individuals in compliance with the applicable data protection rules.

If you have any concerns with how the council is processing your personal information then you can contact the Data Protection Officer in writing or by email.

Office of the DPO

Sandwell Council


West Midlands

B69 3DE


If for any reason you are not happy with how we have handled your personal information or the response from our Data Protection Officer you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner to ask them to assess our response or handling of your personal information.

The Commissioner is an independent regulator who has the power to direct us to respond to your request differently if they consider that we have handled it incorrectly.

You can contact the ICO in writing, by email or phone.

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane





Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Our service areas

From collecting rubbish to providing school places, council staff in our services are working hard every day to help our residents.

The council provides a wide range of services across the borough. To manage the provision of these services the council is divided in to the following directorates:

  • Adult Social Care

  • Borough Economy

  • Business Strategy and Change

  • Children and Education

  • Finance

  • Housing

  • Law and Governance

  • Public Health

  • Regeneration and Growth

Each of these Directorates is responsible for a number of services.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review.

This privacy notice was last updated on 22 March 2024.