Children Services (Social Care) privacy notice

Children Services (Social Care) privacy notice

Who we are and what we do

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets is a data controller under the UK Data Protection law as we collect and process personal information about you in order to identify risks to children at the earliest point and respond with the most effective interventions.

Data controller and purpose

This privacy notice applies to children and families; the London Borough of Tower Hamlets council takes the privacy of your information very seriously.

This privacy notice applies to the council’s use of any and all of the data provided by you or collected by the council in relation to your use of this service. It is important that you understand that sometimes we will need to share your data with other agencies where necessary or appropriate and by engaging with our service you understand that that your data may be shared.

The information you provide will be used by the London Borough of Tower Children Services Social Care Teams to process incoming referrals to social care, to assess risk to children and young people and to support and safeguarding for children and their families to better meet the needs of the children and families and to provide the help that they require as early as possible. 

Why we need your information and how we use it

  • Under the 1989 and 2004 Children Act we have a duty to safeguard the welfare of children. S17 of the 1989 Children Act places a duty to assess children in need. S47 of the 1989 Children Act places a duty to investigate if a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
  • In order to safeguard children and young people and their families we need their demographic information to create a record on our Information Communication Systems (Frameworki). Information gathered is used to safeguard children from harm.
  • Provision of Services to and monitoring of vulnerable children and young people, including services to children in need, safeguarding, looked after children, children leaving care and children with disabilities.

What is the source of your personal data?

In most cases we will obtain your personal data directly from you. If we get it from another source we will: 

  1. Inform you of the source within a reasonable period after obtaining the personal data, but at the latest within one month or when we first communicate with you using that information (which) ever is the earliest
  2. We will also tell you if we disclosure or envisage disclosing that personal data to another party.

What type of information is collected from you?

Demographic details (name, DOB, gender, ethnicity etc.)

Information sharing

Your personal information may be shared with internal departments or with external partners and agencies involved in delivering services on our behalf.


  • Demographic information (name, gender, DOB, ethnicity, address etc.) about the child and their family
  • Reason for referral
  • Children & families (Child protection & assessment teams, education & inclusion)
  • Corporate parents with parental responsibility.


  1. NHS and other Health Agencies
  2. Police
  3. Courts and other Judicial Agencies
  4. Education providers (Schools and Colleges)
  5. Housing Department
  6. Probation
  7. Youth Offending Service
  8. Other Local Authorities who need to carry out checks for their MASH, child and family assessments and child protection enquiries.
  9. Department for Education (DfE) in respect of children in need and looked after children to help the DfE develop national policies, manage Local Authority performance, administer and allocate funding and identify and encourage good practice. For more information about the data collection requirements placed on council by the DfE. Please see looked after children or children in need on GOV.UK.

The council has a duty to protect public funds and may use personal information and data-matching techniques to detect and prevent fraud, and ensure public money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. Information may be shared with internal services and external bodies like the Audit Commission, Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Police. This activity is carried out under Article 9(2)(b) of the GDPR, under social protection law.

We have a duty to improve the health of the population we serve. To help with this, we use data and information from a range of sources including hospitals to understand more about the nature and causes of disease and ill-health in the area. This data would normally be anonymised and never used to make decisions on a specific individual or family. 

We process your data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and if you have any concerns the council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on

Condition for processing personal data

It is necessary for us to process your personal data (name, DOB, address, health, personal and household circumstances), under GDPR Article:

  1. 6(1)(a) consent
  2. 6(1)(c) compliance with a legal obligation
  3. 9(2)(b) employment, social security or social protection law, collective agreement
  4. 9(2)(h) preventative or occupational medicine, working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or management
  5. 9(2)(j) archiving in the public interest, or scientific and historical research purposes or statistical purposes.

Other specific legislation and reasons for processing information:

  1. Children Act 1989
  2. Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
  3. Adoption & Children Act 2002 and associated regulations
  4. Childcare Act 2006
  5. Children and Families Act 2014
  6. Children and Social Work Act 2017

How long do we keep your information?

We will only hold your information for as long as is required by law and to provide you with the necessary services. This is likely to be up to 75 years depending on your case. In certain cases we will hold the information permanently. For further details, you can view our retention schedule.

Marketing and e-newsletters

Information collected is not used for Marking or sending out E-Newsletters but social workers would provide families with information about advocacy. 

We may also anonymise some personal data you provide to us to ensure that you cannot be identified and use this for statistical analysis of data to allow the council to effectively target and plan the provision of services. 

Business Intelligence, profiling and automated-decision making

We may analyse your personal information to improve services and for the following purposes:

  1. Undertake statutory functions efficiently and effectively
  2. Service planning by understanding your needs to provide the services that you request.
  3. Understanding what we can do for you and inform you of other relevant services and benefits
  4. Help us to build up a picture of how we are performing at delivering services to you and what services the people of Tower hamlets need.

The council is however committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position.

We may use your information from the different services that you engage with to create a single view and profile of you, which will help us to better understand your specific needs and ensure we are providing the right and efficient services to you in accordance with your needs as well as ensure that we hold one accurate record of your basic personal data across all our council services; such as your name, DoB, address, email address, change in circumstances etc. 

Profiling will be carried out only when it is necessary in order to provide you with the service you have agreed to receive or where the council has a statutory obligation or where to the law allows.   However, we will notify you where we would do this.

Your information choice and rights

Where we use your personal data for other purposes other than what you have consented or where we have to fulfil a statutory obligation, or where the data protection law allows, then we will let you know so that you can make an informed choice about how your information is used.

If you do not want your information to be used for any purpose beyond providing the services you have agreed to receive, such as; sharing it with our partners or providers for service delivery planning or improvement of services or for Business Intelligence, profiling research or statistical purposes (in such instance only minimum and necessary, anonymised or pseudonymised data will be used), you can choose to opt-out of this.

Data protection legislation gives you a number of rights in relation to your personal data. The rights available to you will depend on the Lawful basis that we rely on to process your personal data. We have a legal obligation processes your personal data for the provision of this service, as such the following rights are available to you:

  1. Right to rectification
  2. Right to restrict processing (limited cases).

You can find out more about your rights on our Data Protection page and this includes details of your rights about automated decisions and how to complain to the Information Commissioner.