Your data: children's social work - fieldwork and child protection

Why we need your information and what we will do with it

This notice is for both children and families who are in contact with our local social work children and families’ teams. We are using your personal information to look into your circumstances to see if the child has social care needs that are eligible for our support, needs to be protected or is subject to certain legal orders that we supervise. We then work with other agencies to put in place plans to support and protect that child. We also use your information to verify your identity where required, contact you by post, email or telephone, maintain our records, manage any funding of services and your contribution to these (if this is required) and to demonstrate to our own auditors and external regulators that we are providing proper services in accordance with the law.

All recording will be done in accordance with the Council’s Social Care Case Recording Policy and Procedures.

If you are a parent or carer reading this on behalf of a young child, please note that this Privacy Notice is about the processing of the child's personal data. We have a separate Privacy Notices for parents of children in care, and for kinship carers, foster carers and adoptive parents.

How we will share your information

Social care and child protection often involve the support of a number of agencies. The main agencies that we will share information with to do this are education, health and the police. For example, this may mean that we must share information with your nursery, school, or family doctor. This will only ever be limited, relevant information. Because this sharing of your information is done to meet our statutory obligations under legislation that is there to protect children and young people there is not often a choice about sharing. Unless there is a really good reason not to, we will explain to you why we are sharing information about you and who with. Where there are choices about sharing we will clearly explain these to you (or, depending on your age, to your parent or carer), and support you to make an informed choice.

In addition, we may share information with some other agencies depending on your individual circumstances. These may include your housing provider, particularly if aspects of your support relate to housing adaptations or other housing-related issues, the Department of Work and Pensions in terms of benefits you may receive, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. We may share information with any provider of care and support to you or your child, including foster and kinship carers and those being paid to provide services to you. We may share information with The Care Inspectorate if concerns are raised with them about certain services provided to you or your child. We will also share information with other services in the council, or other local authorities, where we are working with them to support and provide services to you. Where your case is transferred to another local authority area, we will also share with them relevant information about you.

We may also have to share your information with The Scottish Children's Reporters Administration, the Scottish Courts and Children's Panels and where necessary other local authorities. We are also legally obliged to share certain data with regulatory and law enforcement bodies, where this is necessary and appropriate. For example, this may include sharing data with Disclosure Scotland, Police Scotland who may be investigating a crime, or The Care Inspectorate who are responsible for regulating our work and helping us improve our services to you.

Your information is also analysed internally to help us improve our services and outcomes for service users. We also work with partners on specific, targeted projects and initiatives to help us improve the social work services we provide, and the outcomes for our service users. This normally involves project partners analysing personal data on our behalf. We control the way that partners use and manage personal data throughout through our agreements and arrangements with them.

Additionally, it may sometimes be the case that, during the process of supporting you, you and your Social Worker may decide that it would be beneficial to refer or support you to access another agency or organisation for further help or support. To do this on your behalf will normally mean the Social Worker sharing some information about you with that service or organisation. If this is the case, this type of information sharing will always be discussed between you (or your parent or carer) and your Social Worker, on a case by case basis, and will normally be done with your agreement.

If your case is transferred to another local authority area, we will share with them relevant information about you to ensure that they can fulfil their statutory responsibilities to support you.

All information sharing will be done in accordance with our corporate policy, procedure and practitioner guidance on information sharing.

The Council is obliged to participate in the National Fraud Initiative in Scotland and in terms of this passes information to Audit Scotland for data matching to detect fraud or possible fraud.  Details of this exercise can be found on Audit Scotland’s website.

How long we will keep your information

The Council has a records retention and disposal schedule which sets out how long we hold different types of information for, these are set out below.

Please be aware that, for now, where we have information which relates to children who have been in residential care or who have been otherwise looked after by Aberdeen City Council (or any of our predecessor bodies) between 1930 and the present, we are currently not destroying any of our records. This is because the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is looking at the abuse of children in care in Scotland, may need to use this information as part of their work. This will be the case for the duration of the inquiry and until further notification from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

Retention of information for fieldwork and child protection
Process Retention period
Child protection investigation but not put on the Child Protection Register and never looked after by the local authority. 5 years from case closed.
Young person in the youth justice system but never looked after by the local authority. 5 years from case closed.
Child has been on the Child Protection Register but never looked after by local authority. 30 years from the child becoming 18.
Child has been on the Child Protection Register and looked after by local authority. 100 years from the child becoming 18.
Child Protection investigation but not put on the Child Protection Register and looked after by the local authority. 100 years from the child becoming 18.
Young person in the youth justice system and looked after by the local authority. 100 years from the child becoming 18.

Your rights

You have rights to your data, including the right to ask for a copy of it. See more information on all the rights you have, and how they work in practice. If you would like to access your social work records, you can ask your current social worker, or you can make a request.

As a general rule, once you are 12 years old, you are considered capable of exercising your own data protection rights, which includes the right of access to your social work records. This is why, once you are over 12 years of age, if your parents or carers would like to access your social care records then we will only normally provide this access with your agreement.

If you don’t currently have social work support from Aberdeen City Council, but have done in the past, we can provide support to you when you access your social work records.

You also have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can contact them through their website or phone 01625 545745. They are the body responsible for making sure organisations like the Council handle your data lawfully.

If you have a query about how we have handled your personal information, you can email the Council's Data Protection Officer on or write to:
Data Protection Officer
Aberdeen City Council
Level 1 South
Marischal College
Broad Street
AB10 1AB

If your complaint is not about a data protection matter, see how to make a complaint about Social Work Services.

Our legal basis

Wherever Aberdeen City Council processes personal data, we need to make sure we have a legal basis for doing so in data protection law. Aberdeen City Council understands our legal basis for processing your personal data as Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation because delivering Children’s Social Work services are part of our public task. Sometimes we process your data because the law says we have to, in these cases our legal basis for processing is Article 6(1)(c). This is because we have a range duties and powers under the following laws:

  • Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968
  • Carers (Scotland) Act 2016
  • Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Children (Scotland) Act 1995
  • Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013
  • Adults with Incapacity Act 2000
  • Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
  • Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009
  • Foster Children (Scotland) Act 1984
  • Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Related legislation applying to the care and welfare of adults and children in Scotland.

In delivering these services, Aberdeen City Council is also likely to process special categories of personal data. Our legal basis for doing so as Article 9(2)(h) of the General Data Protection Regulation, because processing is necessary for the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services.

This will sometimes involve passing information about you to providers who we commission care and support services form to meet your needs. We make sure that they process your data appropriately through our contractual arrangements with them.

The Council has a legal obligation under Part 2A of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000, to provide Audit Scotland with data to carry out data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud.

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