Bedford Borough Council Data Breach Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?
Compensation For Data Breach Distress
This guide explores what you could do after a Bedford Borough Council data breach.
Bedford Borough Council covers the Borough of Bedford, in Bedfordshire, England. It is normal for local authorities to collect personal information from residents and employees for operational purposes. Therefore, councils should follow the UK General Data Protection Regulation when they collect personal data.
The victims of a council data breach may be eligible to claim compensation. However, they’d need to prove that the council’s failings caused the data breach and that their personal information was involved. They’d also need to show that they suffered financial loss or mental harm. This guide explains how that can be done.
If you are the victim of a local authority data breach, Legal Expert can help. We can connect you to an experienced solicitor. And we can also offer you free legal advice about making a data breach claim.
If you have evidence of a justifiable claim, please call our advisors on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can contact us in writing through our website. We also have a live chat for instant advice. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Select A Section
- A Guide About Claims For A Bedford Borough Council Data Breach
- Data Protection Breach Statistics 2021
- What Is A Bedford Borough Council Data Breach?
- GDPR And Local Government Data Protection
- Examples Of How Council Data Breaches Can Happen
- Social Work And Landlord Data Protection Breach
- When To Report A Personal Data Breach To The ICO
- How To Sue A Council For A Breach Of Data Protection
- Assessment Of Damages For A Data Breach
- How Much Compensation Can I Get For A Bedford Borough Council Data Breach?
- Bedford Borough Council Data Breach No Win No Fee Claims
- Will I Need A Data Protection Breach Solicitor Near Me?
- Don’t Hesitate To Get In Touch With An Expert
- Related Guides
- Answering Clients’ Questions About Data Breaches
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law. It is enacted into UK law through the Data Protection Act 2018. The Data Protection Act sits alongside the UK GDPR. The purpose of the UK GDPR is to protect the public’s individual rights when their personal data is collected.
Councils are responsible for protecting the personal information they collect or process. To protect the data, councils may invest in resources to protect their data records. For example, data protection activities can include training staff to protect personal data. What’s more, the council could invest in IT and network security systems to guard against cyberattacks.
Begin Your Data Breach Claim
This guide will explain how to claim compensation for a data breach at a council. It’s important to note that not all personal data breaches will result in compensation. You would have to prove that the council’s positive wrongful conduct resulted in the data breach and that your personal information was affected. What’s more, you should consequentially have suffered financial loss or mental harm. For example, the data breach may have caused you stress.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Legal Expert for help. If you have solid grounds for a claim, our solicitors can handle it on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you will not have to pay for your claim upfront.
The time limit for making a data breach claim against a private company is six years. However, if the defendant is a public body such as a council, then the time limit is one year. Note that various factors impact the timescale, so you may not realise that your limitation period is running out of time. So, why not contact our advisors to see how long you could have to make a claim?
A personal data breach can happen because an employee makes a regrettable mistake. However, data breaches can also happen because of cyber security incidents, including cyber-attacks. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 (published March 2021) provides some light on this subject.
According to the survey, 39% of respondent businesses and 26% of respondent charities had experienced cyber security breaches over the last 12 months. The survey explained that phishing was the most common cause of cyber security breaches, followed by impersonation scams. Amongst the organisations that said they had experienced a breach, 35% of businesses and 40% of charities said that it had impacted them negatively.
A council data breach is an incident that compromises the security of the personal data it holds or processes. A council data breach can be a product of human error on the part of an employee. However, it can also happen because of malicious actions such as hacking. Essentially, it can be accidental or deliberate.
The security incident can cause personal data to be disclosed, accessed, lost, changed or terminated without a lawful basis.
How can a data breach happen?
- The council may lose personal data, or a criminal may steal it.
- Or the council may accidentally alter the data or destroy it.
- The council may accidentally grant an unauthorised person access to the data.
What are the consequences of a data breach?
Sadly, the victim of a data breach may suffer financial losses as a consequence. For example, criminals may use stolen data to target individuals for phishing scams. As a result, the criminals may steal money or assets from the individual.
However, the consequences of a data breach are not always visible. Data breach victims may suffer emotional distress as a result. What’s more, a particularly traumatic data breach may trigger a psychological injury such as depression or an anxiety disorder.
To see if you can begin your data breach claim, contact Legal Expert today. Our advisors give free legal advice, so call now.
The UK General Data Protection Regulation applies to local authorities when they collect or process personal information.
There are seven key principles of the UK GDPR. We will look at these principles below and explain how a council should put them into practice.
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: The council should collect personal data in a manner that is within the law, transparent and fair to the data subject.
- Purpose limitation: The council can only process personal data for legitimate reasons. Furthermore, the council must explain its purpose for processing data when they collect data from the data subject.
- Data Minimisation: The council should only collect and process the minimum amount of data needed for their specified purposes.
- Accuracy: It should keep their personal data records up-to-date and ensure personal information is accurate.
- Storage Limitation: When personal data is no longer needed, the council should delete it.
- Integrity And Confidentiality: The council should adopt data anonymisation techniques where necessary to protect the privacy of data subjects. What’s more, the council must ensure appropriate security measures are in place to protect the data.
- Accountability: When asked, the council should demonstrate that they have complied with the UK GDPR.
What is a data subject?
When an organisation collects or processes a person’s data, the individual is referred to as a data subject.
Below are illustrative instances of how a data breach at a council can take place:
- The council accidentally exposes personal data. For example, a council employee may upload a file that contains personal data to an unsecured cloud storage system, allowing unauthorised persons to access the data.
- The council publishes an information pack about community safety and uses case studies. However, the council fails to redact personal information from the case study. Therefore, the council shares residents’ personal data without a lawful basis.
- A rent statement is sent by post to a social housing tenant. However, the council sends the letter to the wrong address, despite having the correct one on file. The personal information contained within is accessed by an unauthorised person.
- An email data breach can occur if the council sends out a mass email but the employee enters the email addresses into the Cc field instead of the Bcc field. As a result, the council shares personal data (email addresses) without the data subjects’ permission.
- Criminals carry out a cyberattack on the council. The criminals may use techniques such as hacking or malware to gain unlawful access to personal information. Unfortunately, the council could enable the cyberattack if their IT systems are of poor quality.
- A social services data breach can happen if the council’s social services department incorrectly discloses a client’s information to someone who doesn’t have a lawful reason to access it.
- A council employee can lose an electronic device such as a work laptop. If the device is not password protected or secured in another way, unauthorised persons could gain access to the personal information saved to it.
Is It Illegal To Share Personal Data Without Permission?
We have mentioned some instances above where a data breach has occurred because data has been shared without permission. It isn’t always unlawful to share personal data without permission. Sometimes there is a lawful basis to do so. For example, the police may request personal data as part of an investigation.
This guide on what a potential Bedford Borough Council data breach could involve aims to give information for your use. If you have any questions, why not contact us?
Councils provide public housing to residents. Also known as social housing, this is accommodation which social housing tenants can rent at an affordable rate. Councils collect personal data from tenants and landlords. Therefore, the council must take care not to breach personal data privacy. For example, a rent statement data breach can occur if the council accidentally exposes this data.
If a social housing data breach takes place, the following data belonging to a tenant or landlord could be impacted:
- The tenant or landlord’s names.
- Addresses, email addresses and phone numbers.
- A person’s date of birth.
- Photocopies or scans of tenancy documents containing personal information, such as rent statements.
- And information about one’s protected characteristics, for example, one’s disability status.
Begin Your Data Breach Compensation Claim Today
Whether a data breach is intentional or not, it can still have a harmful effect. If you have been affected by a council data protection breach, contact Legal Expert today. If you suffered financially or psychologically because a council’s positive wrongful conduct caused a data breach, you could claim.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent body that operates in the UK. The ICO enforces data protection legislation, including the UK GDPR. If a data breach occurs, the ICO has the power to investigate. Sometimes the ICO will issue data breach fines.
If a personal data breach happens which impacts the freedoms and rights of the data subjects, the council should report the breach to the ICO within 72 hours. They should also tell data subjects without undue delay.
Therefore, you may not need to contact the ICO. You could report your concerns to the council so they can resolve the matter.
On the other hand, you may wish to contact the ICO if the council doesn’t properly resolve the issue with you. You should do this within three months of your last purposeful contact with the council. Please do not wait longer than this timeframe, as the ICO is unlikely to investigate older data breaches.
In addition, please be aware that the ICO can’t compensate you as a data subject. You would have to make a data breach claim to receive compensation for financial loss or mental harm.
If you are a victim of a personal data breach caused by the positive wrongful conduct of a council, such as security failings, you may be owed compensation. You’d need to prove that you suffered financially or psychologically as a consequence. Legal Expert can connect you with a talented data breach lawyer who could handle your claim.
The advantages of choosing our solicitors to handle your claim include the following:
- Our expert solicitors have solid experience.
- They will value your claim appropriately to make sure you receive the right amount of compensation.
- And they can handle your claim as a No Win No Fee case. Therefore, this lowers the financial risk involved in funding a solicitor’s services.
We are proud to have helped many claimants just like you. Please feel free to read our online solicitor reviews to see what our previous clients thought of our service.
Claimants can receive two different types of damages for a data breach: material damages and non-material damages.
- If you have lost money or assets because of the data breach, you can claim these back as material damages.
- Moreover, if you have experienced emotional distress or psychiatric injuries because of the data breach, you can claim non-material damages for these.
What evidence will you need to provide to make your claim?
You would present an independent medical report to prove that you experienced psychiatric harm because of the data breach, such as anxiety. Alternatively, this report would prove that your psychiatric injuries were worsened by the data breach if they were pre-exisitng. However, if the report doesn’t show that your mental harm is linked to the data breach, you may find it difficult to claim.
Moreover, you may use financial documents such as bank statements and credit scores to prove your financial losses.
In Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc , the Court of Appeal held that victims of a data breach could claim compensation for the emotional distress that they suffered as a result, even if they hadn’t also suffered financial loss. Before this case, claimants could only seek compensation for mental harm if they’re also suffered financially because of the data breach.
What’s more, compensation for a psychological injury caused by a data breach can be valued as it is for personal injury claims.
You can use the compensation table below to help you estimate how much money you could receive in non-material damages.
|Estimated Damages||Health Effects||About These Effects|
|£51,460 to £108,620||Severe Psychiatric Damage||Victims could experience severe psychiatric effects. These could prevent people from going about parts of their life such as continuing relationships in the same way, working or continuing in education.|
|£17,900 to £51,460||Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage||A victim could be left having suffered moderately severe psychiatric harm. This could impact similar parts of the person's life as indicated in the severe bracket. The person could still have long-term effects even after therapy.|
|£5,500 to £17,900||Moderate Psychiatric Damage||Moderate psychiatric injury could present in a similar way to the previous brackets but the symptoms experienced will be lesser.|
|Up to £5,500||Less Severe Psychiatric Damage||The symptoms experienced are less severe than the previous brackets.|
The monetary amounts listed in the table above are based on the latest guidelines from the Judicial College. Your lawyer (if you choose to use the services of one) may use the Judicial College Guidelines and your medical reports to value your injuries if you claim compensation.
We have not included material damages you could claim, as these vary widely from person to person. However, you can call our claims helpline today, and an advisor can give you a free, personalised estimate.
Many people who claim data breach compensation prefer to make a No Win No Fee claim. A No Win No Fee claim is when you don’t pay a solicitor’s fee upfront. Instead, you will sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This means that you will only be charged the solicitor’s fee if you win your compensation claim.
Why Do Some People Prefer To Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
- Firstly, No Win No Fee claims are a more affordable way of funding the services of a solicitor, as you won’t pay your solicitor’s fee in advance. Instead, a success fee is deducted from the compensation payout at a lawfully capped percentage.
- Secondly, the financial risk of funding a solicitor’s services is reduced when you make a No Win No Fee claim. This is because their fee is only payable if the solicitor wins your claim.
- And thirdly, if your claim is successful, the success fee will be taken from your compensation package at a capped percentage. Therefore, the majority of the payment goes straight to you.
We have an online guide to making a No WIn No Fee claim, which may answer your questions. Or call to speak to an advisor about your options.
You do not need to use a solicitor in Bedfordshire to handle your claim. Our solicitors can work for you from anywhere in the country. The majority of your communication with your solicitor could be via, online meetings, phone or email. Therefore, they don’t have to be near you. In addition, this means that you’re not restricted to the services of solicitors in your area.
Get in touch with Legal Expert today about your potential claim. An expert advisor will be on hand. And if we can see that you are owed compensation, we can connect you with a skilled solicitor to handle your claim.
- Call us today on 0800 073 8804.
- Use the claims form on our website to contact us in writing.
- Or speak with us directly online, using our Live Support tool.
We hope that you have found this guide on what you could do after a Bedford Borough Council data breach helpful. Please feel free to read the information below to learn more on the subject.
My Personal Data Was Lost After A Data Breach, What Are My Rights?: Help and advice for data breach victims.
NHS Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide: Help and advice if the NHS has breached your personal data privacy.
Santander Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide: What to do if Santander has breached your personal data privacy.
A UK Government guide to data protection.
An Information Commissioner’s Office guide to avoiding identity theft.
A Ministry of Defence guide to your data protection rights.
We will now answer some frequently asked questions about personal data breaches.
How could I be affected by a data breach?
If you become the victim of a data breach, you may experience emotional distress. What’s more, criminals may use your personal data to target you for fraud, which can result in losing assets or money. Essentially, you could suffer psychologically or financially.
How do I report receiving suspicious messages?
Never respond to a fraudulent message that asks you for personal information, such as bank account details or a password. It may be a phishing scam whereby fraudsters impersonate banks and other businesses to steal your personal data. You can find out where to report a suspicious message or a potential phishing scam here.
What happens if I have lost money?
If you have lost money because of a data breach, you may be eligible to reclaim these funds. You’d have to prove that the data breach was caused by the company’s security failings. Speak to Legal Expert today about claiming compensation for a data breach. We could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your claim.
What further action could I take?
If an organisation or council’s positive wrongful conduct causes a data breach and your personal data is affected, what legal action can you take? You may be eligible to claim compensation for any financial losses or mental distress caused. We could connect you with a skilled lawyer to help you make your claim.
Thank you for reading our guide to what you could do after a Bedford Borough Council data breach.
Written by Chelache
Edited by Victorine