At Dorset Council we are committed to keeping your personal information accurate and up to date.

We will not keep your information longer than necessary for us to provide you with the services you require.

This privacy notice explains how we use your personal information and the ways in which we protect your privacy.

This notice applies to all personal data collected for or on behalf of the council however it is collected whether by letter, email, face to face meeting, telephone conversation or online via the council’s website.

In addition to this notice you will get a detailed Privacy Notice specific to the service you are receiving.

How we use your personal information

We collect and use your personal information so we can provide you with statutory and other services that you need.

We will only use your information for the purpose for which we told you we were collecting it and for monitoring our performance in responding to your request.

We will use your information to:

  • tell you about services
  • provide services appropriate to you
  • highlight additional help or services available to you
  • allow us to analyse patterns and trends of service usage so that we can make sure our service provision is of the highest standard
  • help with service and financial planning
  • help us create policy and inform decision making, (e.g. identifying where children’s centres would be most beneficial)
  • process financial transactions such as grants and payments involving the County Council
  • process financial transactions on behalf of other government bodies, (e.g. Department for Work and Pensions)
  • verify your identity if you ask us for services
  • make sure that we meet our duties, including those imposed by the Equality and Health and Safety Acts
  • provide law enforcement functions, (e.g. licensing, planning enforcement, trading standards and food safety) where we are legally obliged to carry out such processing
  • help investigate any concerns or complaints you may have about the services you receive
  • 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

For services such as education and social care, protection of vulnerable children and adults, and the support of public health and wellbeing we may need to collect, use and share sensitive personal data.

We do not disclose or share personal data without your explicit consent except in a small number of situations where disclosure is allowed by law, or where we have good reason to believe that failing to do so would put you or someone else at risk.

One of our operational obligations is to protect public funds. We may use personal information and data-matching techniques to help us to detect and prevent fraud and ensure public money is spent in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. We may share information with other organisations which audit or administer public funds. This includes the Audit Commission, the Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Police.

If you telephone us we will record some telephone conversations. This will help with staff training; maintain records of conversations and help with the detection, investigation and prevention of crime.

If we are going to record your call you will be told in advance.

We may use your personal information as part of our efforts to identify people who will need extra support during emergencies or major incidents eg emergency evacuation.

You may not want us to collect or share your personal information and you have the right to set conditions on how we can use what we do collect. However, you do need to be aware that if this is the case then we may not be able to provide you with the service you need or may only be able to provide it in a limited way.

There are occasions when we have a statutory obligation to collect or use personal information. In those cases, we will not be able to agree to your request.

We may use ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and age information (ie equalities data) to compile statistics to comply with equality legislation and assist in planning and service provision. Such data will not identify individuals or affect your entitlement to services.

Third parties

The information we collect may be shared between council services and with other organisations, such as government bodies; health and social care organisations providing you with services; the Police and educational establishments.

We will only share your personal information when we have your explicit consent to do so or are permitted to, or required to, by law.

We will not pass personal data to other organisations for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.

Your personal information may be processed by an external service provider acting on our behalf to provide services but any such processing will be strictly controlled and will have the same control conditions in place as if it were being processed by the council itself.


Emails that we send to you or you send to us may be kept as a record of contact. We may also store your email address for future use and will keep this for a certain length of time to meet the business need, in accordance with our retention policy.

The rights you have over your personal information

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