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Ashford Borough Council Data Breach Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

Local Government And Council Claims

Ashford Borough Council is the governing body that covers the Borough of Ashford in Kent. The council’s responsibilities include the maintenance of the local environment and social housing. As a government body that collects or processes personal information, the council should abide by data protection law.

Therefore the council must make sure that they protect the personal information that they collect from the public and their employees. A council data breach could occur due to failings on their part. Subsequently, the victims of the council data breach could claim compensation for any financial loss or mental harm caused.

Ashford Borough Council data breach claims guide

Ashford Borough Council data breach claims guide

If a data protection breach has impacted you mentally or financially and was caused by a council’s failings, Legal Expert could help you claim compensation. We can connect you to a No Win No Fee lawyer who can handle your case.

To see if you can begin your claim, contact us today for your free legal consultation. An advisor can speak to you in-depth about your case.

Contact us today to claim compensation for a council data breach:

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A Guide On When To Claim For An Ashford Borough Council Data Breach

Organisations that use or process the personal information of people in the UK have to abide by the UK General Data Protection Regulation. The EU GDPR is EU law, which protects the public’s data privacy and data security. The EU GDPR is enacted into UK law via the Data Protection Act 2018. It sits alongside the UK GDPR.

Therefore, the council should follow the rules of data protection law when they collect, process and store personal data.

To comply with the UK GDPR, local authorities should do the following:

  • Firstly, the council should protect the personal data they collect.
  • Secondly, they should follow data protection law and take measures to protect data. The council could train their staff to manage data correctly, for example. Furthermore, the council could invest in cybersecurity to protect the data.
  • Thirdly, if a council data breach occurs and the data breach victims suffer financial loss or mental harm, they may be eligible to claim compensation. This can only happen if the council caused or enabled the data breach.

Legal Expert can help you when seeking to make a council data breach claim. Our advisors can connect you to a skilled personal injury solicitor to handle your case. Moreover, you will have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim. Making a No Win No Fee claim lowers the financial risk of funding a solicitor’s services.

In the UK, there is a 6-year data breach claim time limit for cases against private companies. However, this time limit is only one year if it relates to a public body and/or council. Furthermore, you may not be aware as to how long, or how little time, you have. So, we recommend beginning your claim as quickly as possible to avoid falling outside of the time limit.

Statistics

What could cause a council data breach to happen? It can occur in various ways. For example, a data breach can take place due to the human error of an employee. However, a council may also experience a data breach if they target a cyber attack.

These statistics from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 help us understand how common cyber security breaches and attacks are:

  • 26% of respondent charities and 39% of respondent businesses said they experienced a cyber security breach or attack during the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • 68% of respondent charities and 77% of respondent businesses said that cyber security is a priority for their trustees or senior managers.
  • And what’s more, 80% of charities and 84% of businesses said that the pandemic had not changed their approach to cybersecurity.

Organisations should have adequate cyber security systems to help them protect the personal data they have collected.

What Are Claims For Ashford Borough Council Data Breaches?

A data breach is an incident that compromises the security of personal data that an organisation holds. This causes data to be accessed, destroyed, lost, changed or disclosed without authorisation or unlawfully.

A personal data breach can be caused by a mistake made by council staff. Alternatively, the data breach could happen because of malicious or criminal actions. Essentially, data breaches can be accidental or deliberate.

If a council data protection breach (caused by the council’s failings) has affected you financially or psychologically, you may be owed compensation.

A council data breach can involve the following errors:

  • The council could lose personal data, destroy it, alter or encrypt it without a lawful reason
  • Or criminals may steal personal data from the council
  • The council may grant an unauthorised person access to the data though there’s no lawful reason to

Please note, there is sometimes a lawful basis for an organisation to share personal data without consent. However, in many circumstances sharing personal data without consent is considered to be a data breach.

Victims of a data breach can experience emotional or psychological harm when a data breach involving their personal data occurs. Sometimes the consequences of the data breach may be particularly traumatic. For example, a social services data breach could occur and expose sensitive personal data about a vulnerable person. Therefore, the victim may develop psychiatric injuries, such as depression, anxiety or acute stress.

UK GDPR Compliance Checklist

When an organisation collects personal data from a person in the UK, GDPR protects their individual rights.

Here are some rules from the UK GDPR, which councils that collect or process personal data should follow:

  • The council should gain permission from data subjects before they collect their personal data. (A data subject is a person whose personal data is collected by an organisation.)
  • It should explain why they are collecting the data to the data subject. Additionally, the council should not use the data for any other purpose. The only exception to this rule is if there is a lawful purpose for sharing personal data.
  • Moreover, the council should not keep personal data it doesn’t need any more. What’s more, the council must update personal data when necessary.
  • Finally, it should follow data protection law when it collects, processes and stores personal data.

Types Of Data Breaches Under The UK GDPR

There are many ways that a local council could breach personal data privacy. Below are some examples of how a council breach of data protection could occur:

  • A council email data breach could take place. For example, a council employee may accidentally attach a file containing personal data to a mass email. As a result, this could be sharing personal data without permission or another lawful basis.
  • The council may create information packs for new landlords. However, if the council fails to redact public housing tenants’ personal information and the landlords access it without a lawful basis, it would a data breach.
  • A council employee leaves a paper file open in an unsecured space, such as a reception area, to which the public have access. Therefore, unauthorised persons access the personal data.
  • The council inappropriately discloses adoption records to an unauthorised person without a lawful basis. This can be disruptive to a family’s life or, in some cases, endanger the child.
  • The council accidentally releases personal information about people who have complained about their neighbours to the wider public without a lawful reason. Consequently, the resident experiences social difficulties.
  • Criminals carry out a cyberattack on the council’s vulnerable online systems and steal personal information. The criminals may use hacking, viruses or malware, to carry out the cyber attack.
  • The council’s Human Resources department send a letter to an employee and it contains personal information. However, the HR department used the wrong address, despite having the correct one on file. This meant that an unauthorised third party gains access to the employee’s personal information.
  • Many councils run online services, allowing residents to carry out tasks like applying for a parking permit or paying council tax. Unfortunately, the service is not secure and is the target of a hacking attack, enabling criminals to steal personal data.

Housing Data Breach

Ashford Borough Council provides social housing for those who need it. Under the UK GDPR, the council should protect the personal data that belongs to their tenants.

Unfortunately, a social housing data breach can compromise the following personal data:

  • First name(s) and surname
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Landline and mobile phone numbers
  • Financial information
  • Rent statements
  • Scans of tenancy audit documents
  • Information about tenants’ personal characteristics such as their sex, race and religious beliefs (or lack thereof)

You may be owed compensation if a council has breached your personal data privacy. Please speak to Legal Expert today to enquire about making a data breach claim for compensation. We will now explain how the data breach claims process works in more detail.

When Do I Report A Possible Data Protection Breach?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent authority that upholds individual rights concerning personal data protection. The ICO has the power to investigate organisations that have breached data protection law. Consequently, organisations may receive an ICO fine, potentially costing millions.

What should a council do if they breach an employee’s personal data privacy? The council should report it to the ICO within 72 hours. However, they only need to do so if the data breach puts the rights and freedoms of data subjects at risk. They should also tell data subjects who may be affected.

As a data subject, you should try to resolve your issues with the council before contacting the ICO. However, if you don’t get a satisfactory response, then you could contact the ICO within three months of the council’s final meaningful correspondence. Waiting longer than three months may mean that the Information Commissioner’s Office is unlikely to investigate your case.

However, you don’t need to contact the ICO in order to claim and the ICO can’t offer you compensation. Why not contact us if you have evidence of a valid claim?

How To Claim For A GDPR Data Breach By The Council

If you wish to claim compensation for a council data breach, Legal Expert could help you.

What Can Legal Expert Provide You With?

  • We could connect you with a solicitor who has years of experience.
  • What’s more, the solicitors will assess your claim in detail to try and ensure you receive the right amount of money.
  • You can make a No Win No Fee claim.

To learn more about the service we provide, please feel free to read the online reviews left by our previous satisfied customers.

Damages For A Breach Of Data Protection

If your compensation claim is successful, you could receive up to two types of compensation. These heads of claim are material damages and non-material damages.

  • Material damages are compensation for any money or assets you have lost because of the data breach. For example, if fraudsters used your personal data to access your bank account and steal from you, material damages could reimburse you for these losses.
  • Non-material damages are compensation for any emotional distress or psychological harm that the personal data breach caused you. Moreover, you can claim compensation for any psychiatric injuries that the data breach triggered, such as depression or anxiety.

You should collect evidence to prove that you experienced this suffering. For instance, they may use medical records to prove that you suffered a psychological injury. As part of your claim, you’d attend a medical assessment. The purpose of this is to:

  1. Prove that your injuries were caused or worsened by the data breach.
  2. Assess how severely your mental health was affected.

An independent medical professional would check your injuries and create a report. If you use the services of a solicitor, the solicitor would use this report to help them value your injuries.

You may also use financial records such as bank statements and wire transfer receipts to prove your financial losses.

Working On Compensation Settlements For Ashford Borough Council Data Breaches

The compensation table below can be used to estimate how much money you may receive in non-material damages. It can help you see how much you could receive for emotional distress or a psychological injury caused by the data breach.

We have used the most recent guidelines that the Judicial College produce to create this table. Solicitors use these guidelines and the report from your medical assessment to value your compensation claim for injuries.

Effect On Your HealthDegree Of SeverityPayout EstimateAbout These Effects
Psychiatric DamageSevere£51,460 to £108,620The claimant would have issues coping with parts of their life such as working, maintaining relationships and other aspects. Payouts could also account for how successful treatment may be in the future as well as the person's prognosis.
Psychiatric DamageModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460This person has been left with moderately severe psychological harm. Symptoms could impact various parts of their life as indicated above and they may not be able to function as before. After treatment the person could still be left with some longer-term symptoms.
Psychiatric DamageModerate£5,500 to £17,900There will be a significant improvement and the prognosis will be optimistic.
Psychiatric DamageLess SevereUp to £5,500Whilst this person has symptoms affecting those areas of life already discussed, they are less severe in nature.
PTSDSevere£56,180 to £94,470The claimant would suffer permanent effects.
PTSDLess severeUp to £7,680
A practically full recovery within 2 years.

We have not included material damages in this compensation table because they vary greatly from person to person. However, if you call Legal Expert’s claims helpline, an advisor can help you estimate how much compensation you could be owed.

Making A No Win No Fee Claim For An Ashford Borough Council Data Breach

Our solicitors offer clients the option to make a No Win No Fee claim. This means that funding a solicitor for a data breach claim is more affordable to more people.

What Does A No Win No Fee Claim Mean?

Because not everyone can afford to pay an upfront solicitor’s fee, our solicitors will not ask you to pay one under a No Win No Fee claim. Instead, they charge you a success fee on the condition that your claim is successful.

You will not have to pay a success fee if you do not win your claim. You wouldn’t have to pay any solicitor fees. Therefore there is less financial risk involved in funding a solicitor’s services under a No Win No Fee agreement.

If the claim does win, the success fee would be deducted from your compensation payout at a small, lawfully capped percentage. This only happens once the compensation has come through too.

Please call Legal Expert’s claims helpline today to see if you can use a No Win No Fee agreement to fund your solicitor.

Find Data Breach Solicitors Covering Your Area

Many people believe that they have to use a data breach solicitor based in their local area. In fact, our skilled solicitors can work for you from anywhere in the country. So if you want to claim compensation for a council data protection breach, look no further than Legal Expert to meet your needs.

Talk To A Lawyer

If your local council’s positive wrongful conduct has led to a data breach in which your personal information was involved, you may be owed compensation. To see if you can begin your data breach claim, contact Legal Expert today using the details below:

  • Call our claims helpline today on 0800 073 8804
  • Send us an email via our website
  • Chat with an advisor right now, using our Live Support widget

Useful Links And Resources

We hope you have found this guide about what you could do after a potential Ashford Borough Council data breach helpful. Please feel free to read these guides to learn more about claiming compensation for a data breach.

I Suffered Stress Due To A Data Breach, Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation? – information on claiming compensation for a data breach caused by emotional distress.

Employer Personal Data Breach Claims Guide – information on claiming compensation from your employer if they have breached your personal data privacy.

Credit Card Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – how to claim compensation if your credit card company has breached your personal data privacy.

An ICO guide to understanding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Raising concerns about a data breach, an ICO guide

A government guide to individual rights for data subjects

Data Breach Victim FAQs

Now let’s answer some questions about claiming after a data breach.

What should you do if you are the victim of a data breach?

If you are the victim of a personal data breach, please contact the organisation involved directly. The organisation may be able to take steps to resolve the issue. You may wish to reset your passwords, and be wary of fraudsters targeting you for phishing scams.

How much compensation can you get for a data breach?

The amount of compensation a victim could receive for a data breach depends on the severity of emotional distress and financial loss they experienced. For example, a data breach victim who experienced serious psychological injuries could receive more compensation for these injuries than someone who suffered less severe harm.

What are my rights if my data privacy has been breached?

If your personal data privacy has been breached due to an organisation’s security failings, you may have the right to claim compensation. However, you would also need to prove that you have experienced emotional distress or lost money because of the data breach.

Which is the best first step you should take if you suspect a data breach has occurred?

As a first step, if you believe an organisation has breached your personal data privacy, please report your concerns to them. The organisation may assist you and take steps to protect you from identity theft or fraud.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide exploring what you could do after an Ashford Borough Council data breach.

Written by Checlache

Edited by Victorine

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