Your data: complaints

How we use your information

If you make a complaint to the Council, we’ll keep all information about your complaint in an electronic case file. We don’t use your personal data for any other purpose than to process and correspond with you about your complaint. We don’t share your data with anyone else.

We will use name and address information you provide to maintain our records to make sure we are using up to date and accurate names, addresses and contact details across council services.

From time to time, we receive complaints meant for other organisations. In certain circumstances we may ask you if you’re happy for us to pass your details directly to another organisation, so they can respond to you about your complaint. 

How long we keep your information for

We keep Complaint Files for the current year, plus five years, from the date that your complaint was closed. We also keep a register of all complaints we receive for a longer period of time, so we can understand what the trends are in the numbers and types of complaints, and use these to improve our services, but this is kept in anonymised form (your data isn’t kept).

If your complaint relates to social work then the length of time we’ll keep your information for will vary depending on how you are known to us, as the complaint documentation will be held for the lifetime of your case file.

  • Looked after child – 100 years from date of birth.
  • Short-term social work contact – 5 years plus current year from the date of complaint.
  • Foster carer – 25 years from date of approval.
  • Adoptive parents – 100 years from the date of birth of adopted child.
  • Staff members – 25 years.
  • Child on Child Protection Register – 48 years.
  • Individual deemed to be a Schedule One Offender – 50 years.

Your rights

You have rights in relation to your data, including the right to ask for a copy of it. See the Your data page for more information about all the rights you have, as well as the contact details for the Council’s Data Protection Officer. You also have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office if you think we haven’t handled your data properly.

Our legal basis

Aberdeen City Council is the Data Controller for your data we hold as part of receiving and responding to your complaint. The Council considers handling complaints as part of its public task, in accordance with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (The Council handles complaints in accordance with the Local Authority Model Complaints Handling Procedure). This means that we understand our legal basis for processing your data as Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Sometimes, handling your complaint might mean you providing us with, or us checking or using special category data (for example information about your health). Because there is a substantial public interest in the Council being able to respond to complaints, our legal basis for doing this is Article 9(2)(g) of the General Data Protection Regulation.


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