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

Data Breaches In Councils And Local Governments

This guide explores what you could do if you have experienced a potential Bolton Council data breach.

A council data breach occurs when personal information collected or processed by the council is subject to exposure after a security incident. As a result, the owner of the personal data may experience emotional distress. On the other hand, a data breach victim may suffer financial hardship as a result. If you can evidence this suffering along with proof that the council’s failings caused the data breach, you may be owed compensation.

Bolton Council data breach

We could help you claim compensation for a personal data breach. We could connect you with a skilled data breach solicitor to handle your claim.

Your solicitor will be able to assess your claim in-depth. Consequently, they can value your claim accurately to make sure you receive the right amount of compensation. To see if you could begin your claim, please use the details below to contact us:

  • Call Legal Expert’s claims helpline on 0800 073 8804.
  • Or please fill out our online compensation claims form to ask for a callback at a time best for you.
  • Alternatively, use our live chat to get quick answers from our advisors online.

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A Guide On Claiming For Bolton Council Data Breaches

Organisations and public bodies that collect, hold or process personal data should comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EU GDPR is a piece of EU law. The Data Protection Act 2018 enacts the GDPR into our laws. It sits by the side of the UK GDPR.

The key premise of the UK GDPR is that organisations and businesses should protect the personal data that they collect and use. This could include having a strong network security system in place and training employees on how to manage data correctly.

Subsequently, if a council breaches personal data privacy through their own failings, the data breach victim could make a compensation claim against them. However, they would only be able to claim if they can prove they suffered mental harm or financial loss as a consequence. When possible, both parties can settle the compensation claim out of court.

Trust Legal Expert to help you. We can connect you with our data protection lawyers to work on your compensation claim. All of our solicitors handle claims on a No Win No Fee basis. For many people, No Win No Fee claims are the more affordable option when funding a solicitor’s services. Contact Legal Expert today to see if you could begin your compensation claim.

Is there a time limit on making a data breach claim?

Yes, there is a data breach claims time limit of 6 years for cases against private companies in the UK. However, the data breach claims time limit reduces to one year if the claim is against a public body/council. And other factors can alter the length of your time limit. So make sure to get in touch quickly in case you miss out due to your limitation period being shorter.

Rates Of Cyber Security Breaches In 2021

Unfortunately, rates of data breaches within businesses and organisations appear to be relatively high. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 (published March 2021) tells us that 39% of businesses and just over a quarter (26%) of respondent charities experienced a cybersecurity breach or cyberattack within the twelve months prior to the survey. These findings make it clear that businesses should take data security seriously.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey findings suggest that a significant minority of businesses are taking adequate precautions to fight cybersecurity breaches. For example, 31% of businesses and 27% of charities said that cybersecurity is a feature of their organisation’s continuity plan.

Moreover, 18% of businesses and 23% of charities have policies governing how employees use personal devices at work.

So it seems that more organisations could take proactive steps to safeguard against cybersecurity breaches.

What Is A Bolton Council Data Breach?

First, it’s important to note the different roles in data protection. A data subject is someone whose personal information is processed. The data controller (such as an organisation or local authority) decides how and why this personal information will be used.

In some instances, the data controller may get a data processor (a separate entity such as another organisation) to process this information on their behalf.

A personal data breach is a security incident that leads to the unlawful loss, destruction, access, alteration or disclosure of personal data. It can be deliberate or accidental.

It can occur despite the data controller or data processor’s reasonable efforts to protect data. However, if a council’s data security failings compromise the safeguarding of personal data, it could also cause a data breach.

Why could a Bolton Council data breach happen?

Personal data breaches can happen because of human error. Or malicious actors such as cybercriminals could cause a data breach.

The following instances could count as a data breach:

  • A council loses personal data.
  • Criminals steal personal data from the council.
  • Or the council wrongfully alters or encrypts personal data without authorisation or a lawful basis.
  • A council wrongfully exposes data without consent or a lawful reason.
  • Unauthorised individuals gain access to the data due to poor security.

Unfortunately, victims of personal data breaches can experience negative consequences after the event. For example, if a social services data breach occurs, a vulnerable person may have their private problems made public. Consequently, the privacy breach could lead to the person suffering emotional distress. The data breach victim may be endangered if highly sensitive personal information is exposed. As a result, the data breach victim could also develop psychological injuries such as stress or depression.

Data breaches can also cause victims to lose money. For example, a council could be the target of a cyber attack. Poor IT and computer security systems may enable the cyber attack. Subsequently, the criminals may be able to access the council’s databases. The criminals may use the stolen data to target the data breach victims for identity theft or fraud. Afterwards, the victims of the data breach may lose money as a result.

Is Bolton Council Exempt From The GDPR?

Bolton Council is the governing local authority for the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester. As a public body that collects or processes personal information, Bolton Council should abide by the rules of the UK GDPR.

How could Bolton Council follow the rules of the UK GDPR?

  • Lawfulness, fairness and transparency. The council should inform the data subject on how they will use their data. Moreover, the council should follow the law when they collect data.
  • Purpose limitation. The council should only process data for the purpose that they stated to the data subject. It cannot use the data for any purpose other than the one initially stated unless there’s a lawful basis.
  • Data minimisation. This means that a council cannot collect additional personal data that it does not need.
  • Accuracy. The council should make sure that the data it stores is up to date and accurate.
  • Storage limitation. The council should delete any personal data that it no longer requires.
  • Integrity and confidentiality (security). The council should take measures to secure the data. For example, it might use a network security system to protect the data. What’s more, they could use anonymisation techniques where necessary to avoid privacy violations.
  • Accountability. When asked, it should be able to give evidence that they comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation.

Types Of Data Protection Breaches By Local Government Bodies

In April 2021, Bolton’s director of children’s services created a report. The report revealed that there had been several data breaches relating to adopted children who were in the care of Bolton Council.

Source URL: https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/19259967.adoption-data-breaches-revealed-bolton-council/

Importantly, adoption and social services data breaches can involve sensitive data. Therefore, the victims of the data breach may suffer emotional distress or be endangered.

Data protection breaches can occur due to human error caused by a lack of personal data security training. For example, a council email data breach can happen if employees’ personal data is accidentally shared by email to unauthorised recipients without a lawful basis.

This error could give unauthorised persons illegal access to the council employee’s personal information.

Or a council could fail to protect personal data if they have insufficient IT security systems. This could enable a malware attack on the council databases. As a result, criminals could gain unlawful access to personal data. Consequently, criminals could use the breached data for illegal purposes.

Contact Legal Expert today for your free data breach claims consultation. Afterwards, if you have solid grounds for claiming, we could connect you with our solicitors.

Breaches Of Rental Statements And Tenants’ Data Privacy

Many councils offer social housing for rent to those in need of it. This housing is known as council housing or public housing. Public housing tenants are individuals who rent a home from the council. Certainly, then, councils should protect the personal data they collect from their tenants.

How can a social housing data breach happen? A rent statement data breach can happen if a council, for example, sends rent statements to an unauthorised recipient. For example, if the council sends a rent statement that contains personal data to the wrong address, even though they have the correct one on file, an unauthorised person could access it.

Similarly, a public housing tenant’s personal data could be unlawfully accessed if a council published scans of tenancy audit documents online.

If a social housing data breach takes place, it could expose the following personal data:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Passport numbers
  • Telephone numbers and mobile numbers
  • Scans of tenancy audit documents

If the council’s security failings have led to a data breach that involved your personal information, and it caused you mental or financial damage, you may be owed compensation. So contact Legal Expert today to see if we can help you make a claim.

Do You Need To Report A Data Breach To The ICO?

We will now look at how the data breach claims process works in more detail.

We are often asked if victims of a data breach should report the situation to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a public body that can enforce the UK GDPR. They can do so by fining organisations that breach personal data privacy, for example.

What happens if a Bolton Council data breach occurs?

If a council data breach occurs, the ICO may issue a data breach fine.

Do you believe that a council has breached your personal data privacy? Instead of complaining to the ICO, we recommend that you first contact the council. The council may be able to resolve your issue directly with you.

However, you can report the data breach to the ICO, but should try to do so under these circumstances:

  • It has been less than three months since your last meaningful contact with the council.
  • And secondly, the council has not resolved your issue satisfactorily.

You could consider seeking legal representation for your personal data breach claim against the council.

How To Take Action Against A Local Authority

Can the ICO award compensation for data breaches? No, the Information Commissioner’s Office does not handle compensation claims made by data breach victims. A data breach solicitor, however, could handle your compensation claim.

The advantages of using our solicitors include the following:

  • The data breach solicitor will assess your claim in-depth, then they will try to value your claim accurately. Therefore, you’ll understand how much compensation you could realistically claim.
  • What’s more, our solicitors handle all claims on a No Win No Fee basis. A No Win No Fee claims option reduces the financial risk involved in funding a solicitor.
  • And our solicitors can work for you from anywhere in the country. So you will not be limited to using a solicitor from your local area when you claim.

We offer a free legal consultation for anyone looking to make a data breach claim. So call us today, and if we can see that you are owed compensation, we could connect you with a knowledgeable solicitor to start working on your case.

Types Of Damages And Distress For Data Breaches

Have you been psychologically injured because of a data breach? Have you experienced financial loss as a consequence of the data breach? If you can prove your suffering and the personal data breach was caused by the security failings of a party that was supposed to protect your personal information, then you could claim.

You can receive up to two heads of claim. The first is material damages. This is compensation to reimburse you for any money or assets lost because of a data breach. For example, if your banking details were accessed in a data breach, you could have money unlawfully taken from your account.

You could prove financial losses through bills or bank statements, or even credit scores in the instance of identity theft.

The second head of claim is non-material damages. This is compensation for the emotional distress that was caused by the data breach. Non-material damages can also be calculated for any psychiatric injuries the claimant suffered.

You could prove your suffering by attending a medical assessment as part of the claims process. An independent professional would assess your condition and create a report. The report would:

  1. Determine whether the data breach caused or worsened your condition (or that there is no link).
  2. Determine the severity of your suffering.

If it’s found that your condition isn’t linked to the personal data breach at all, you may find it very difficult to claim for non-material damages.

This guide on what you could do after a potential Bolton Council data breach aims to inform and help. If you need to speak us though, why not call or use our live chat?

Calculating Payouts For Bolton Council Data Breaches

Let’s look at Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] at the Court of Appeal. This case was significant for determining how data breach compensation is awarded. The Court held the following:

  • Firstly, that if the claimant has not lost money because of a data breach, they can still claim compensation for the mental harm they suffered (if they can prove they experienced it).
  • And secondly, the non-material damages payout should be valued in line with the compensation paid in personal injury cases.

You can use the compensation table below to determine how much compensation you could be owed because of a data breach. The table shows estimates of how much compensation you could claim in non-material damages; however, it does not include the material damages you could claim.

Type Of InjuryPayoutComments On This Injury
Severe - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£56,180 to £94,470The claimant will have been left with a serious degree of post-traumatic stress disorder. This may prevent or reduce their ability to continue working, in education or maintain relationships to the same degree as pre-trauma.
Moderately Severe - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£21,730 to £56,180Those in this category are less severe than those in the category above. The claimant should end up with a better outlook for recovery. They should already have recovered to some degree provided they have had professional care.
Moderate - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£7,680 to £21,730Those fitting into this category should already have largely recovered.
Less Severe - Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderUp to £7,680Those in this category should fully recovery in 24 months or less. They could be left with some minor level of symptoms which are ongoing.
Severe - Psychiatric Damage£51,460 to £108,620This is the highest PTSD bracket and the most severe injuries. Those in this category will suffer effects on their ability to function at work, in education or in relationships at pre-trauma level. The outlook for recovery is poorest for this group.
Moderately Severe - Psychiatric Damage£17,900 to £51,460Those in this category should be affected in a similar way but to a less severe degree as those above.
Moderate - Psychiatric Damage£5,500 to £17,900This category of injury is less severe and claimants should have experienced a significant degree of improvement. They will have been affected in similar ways as those in the most severe category.
Less Severe - Psychiatric DamageUp to £5,500This category takes account of how severe symptoms were and how long they lasted for.

These data breach compensation amounts are based on guidelines that the Judicial College produced. These guidelines are used by legal professionals when valuing illnesses and injuries.

The amount of compensation you receive may vary, depending on your personal circumstances. However, our advisors can offer free, accurate estimates. Why not get in touch for yours?

Claims For Bolton Council Data Breaches Through No Win No Fee Agreements

You may wish to have your claim handled on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay a solicitor’s fee before work begins on your claim. Instead, the solicitor would charge you a success fee if your claim is successful. You’d sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (otherwise known as a No Win No Fee agreement), to formalise this.

People who make a No Win No Fee claim can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Making a No Win No Fee claim can be a more affordable way of funding a solicitor’s services. Instead of paying a solicitor’s fee upfront, they deduct your fee from your compensation payout only after it comes through.
  • And the success fee is charged at a lawfully capped rate. Therefore you keep the majority of your compensation payout.
  • There aren’t any ongoing solicitor fees during the claim.
  • In regards to funding a solicitor, there is less financial risk involved because the solicitor won’t charge you a success fee if you do not win your claim.

To learn more about making a No Win No Fee claim, read Legal Expert’s online guide.

How Our Specialist Team Could Handle Your Case

There’s no need to look locally; our experienced lawyers can work for you from anywhere in the country. That way you won’t be limited to the solicitors of your area. You’ll have more options when searching for the best solicitor to suit your case.

Look at our solicitor reviews to see how they have helped other claimants just like you. To begin your claim, get in contact with us today.

Starting Your Claim

We’ve almost come to the end of this article on what could constitute a potential Bolton Council data breach. If you have evidence of a valid claim, why not contact Legal Expert today? We will be happy to speak to you in-depth about your ordeal and could connect you with a skilled solicitor to start working on your claim right away.

Use the details below to contact us right away:

  • Fill out our online compensation claims form for a callback at a time that suits you.
  • Or call us on 0800 073 8804.
  • Alternatively, type a question into the chat widget to speak with an advisor right now.

Useful Reference Sources

We hope this guide that discusses what you could do after a potential Bolton Council data breach is helpful. We’ve got more guides that we think could be helpful below.

Housing Association Data Breach Claims – claiming compensation if a housing association’s failings led to a data breach involving your data.

HR Data Breaches Compensation Claims Guide – how to claim compensation if an HR department has breached your personal data privacy.

Pharmacy Data Breach Compensation Claims – how to claim compensation for a pharmacy data breach.

A government guide to data protection

A Ministry of Defence guide to the rights of data subjects

A guide to being data-aware from the ICO

Government Data Breach FAQs

Now we will answer some questions that our customers often ask us.

Who is the defendant in my case?

If you make a data breach claim, the defendant is the party whose data security failings led to your personal information privacy being breached. You would make a claim against the defendant.

What damages do I need to show?

To make a successful data breach claim, you will need to show evidence of damages. This includes material damages and non-material damages.

What evidence will I need?

You’ll need various pieces of evidence to claim compensation for a data breach. For example,  you can show your data breach notification from the council as evidence. And to claim material damages, you will need to show that you lost money. For example, you may present a bank statement to prove that cybercriminals stole money because of a data breach. Call our advisors to find out more.

Are there limitation periods?

There is a 6-year time limit for making a data breach claim. However, if your human rights were violated by the data breach, the time limit is one year.

We are thankful that you have read our guide exploring what could happen after a potential Bolton Council data breach.

Written by Chelache

Edited by Victorine

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