Your data: children's social work - parents and carers

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

This notice is for parents and carers of children who are being supported by Aberdeen City Council Children’s Social Work service. Aberdeen City Council collects and holds your personal information to allow its Children’s Social Work service to provide you with advice, guidance and support and to fulfil its statutory responsibilities for vulnerable children and children at risk of significant harm. We will use your information to assess your own need for support, plan and deliver that support and also to monitor the support you are giving to the children you care for.

We will need to get information from members of your family, doctor, or any other relevant person in order to carry out this assessment. As part of the assessment process your information may be shared with Children’s Social Work funding and resource allocation panels, and the court.

We work with other agencies in planning and delivering these supports. 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 and to demonstrate to our own auditors and external regulators that we are providing proper services in accordance with the law.

We receive information from partners which is added to our records. In some cases, information will be added to our records using automated processing, to speed up the time it takes to deal with simple processes. Decisions about you are not made using automated decision-making.

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 are education, health and the police. For example, this may mean that we must share information with your child’s 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 often not 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 and support you to make an informed choice.

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 in respect of your suitability to act as a carer for vulnerable person, 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 arrangements and agreements 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 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 keep your information for

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 parents
Type 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 a disability and meets Children’s Social Work eligibility criteria for support, not put on the Child Protection Register and never looked after by the local authority. Parent receiving support for their carers role. 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 a child is over 12 years of age they are considered capable of exercising their own rights under data protection law, including the right of access to their social work records.

Normally, once a child is over 12 years of age, we will only provide access to a child’s information if the child agrees to this.

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 of 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.

We may also process data about any criminal convictions you may have or offences you may have committed. This is because we have responsibility for the protection of children and vulnerable adults as well as a responsibility to assess your needs. Information about criminal offences or alleged offences will be processed by us where relevant to your support needs or the protection of vulnerable people.

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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