Chesterfield Council Data Breach Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?
Welcome to our guide, looking at how a data breach at Chesterfield council could potentially occur and how you could be affected. Local authorities may need to collect a range of personal data for a variety of reasons. But what steps could you take if an organisation that collects your data known as a data controller were to potentially put your data at risk? This is what our guide will cover.
If your personal data is exposed, this could cause you harm. This harm may be financial if the information that was breached allowed cybercriminals to access your bank account or credit card details. Alternatively, the information may be used in a phishing scam, where scammers pose as a legitimate organisation to capture your information.
As well as financial harm, a data breach could also cause you psychological damage. You might experience stress and anxiety as a result of a breach of your personal data. You could even experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you can provide evidence that shows that you experienced harm as the result of a breach, then we may be able you help you. You can:
- Simply call us on 0800 073 8804
- Email or write to us at Legal Expert
- Use the ‘live support’ link for an instant reply
Select A Section
- A Guide On How To Claim For A Data Breach At Chesterfield Council
- Must-Know Statistics
- What Could Be A Data Breach At Chesterfield Council?
- Local Government GDPR Exemptions
- Types Of Local Government Data Breaches
- Council Housing And Social Services Data Breach Protection Claims
- When Should You Report A Data Breach To The ICO?
- How Do I Claim For A Data Breach?
- Assessing Damages For A Breach Of Data Protection
- Data Breach At Chesterfield Council – How To Calculate A Settlement
- Data Protection Breach Claims No Win No Fee Solicitors
- Finding A Solicitor To Claim If A Data Breach At Chesterfield Council Occurred
- Contact Legal Expert
- Useful Information
- Answers To Questions Frequently Asked By Claimants
In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. This is a piece of legislation, the purpose of which was to protect personal data belonging to individuals. The Data Protection Act 2018 ratified the GDPR into UK law, and since leaving the EU, we refer to the UK GDPR for guidance on how personal data should be processed.
Since those laws were brought in, all companies and organisations have a much more rigid framework of procedure that they must follow to keep personal information safe from cybercriminals and hackers, as well as prevent data breaches that happen accidentally. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the authority responsible for protecting the information rights of the public. They can investigate data breaches and hand out fines to organisations that are not compliant with the regulation.
Personal data is information that can be used to identify an individual, either alone or when used with other information. However, having personal data exposed will not automatically entitle you to make a claim. You also need to show that the organisation failed to keep your data secure and that you were caused harm by a breach.
The graph below comes from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It shows the barriers that organisations said stood in the way of them reviewing data protection risks in their supply chain. It shows that while there is no single stand-out barrier that has been reported, the largest number of organisations cited lack of time or money as a barrier to performing these reviews.
The ICO defines a data breach as a security incident that results in the unauthorised or unlawful sharing, loss, duplication, access to or destruction of personal data. Local authorities may need to hold a great deal of personal information.
For instance, a council may hold details of school or nursery applications. If they are your employer, they will need to store your personal information, as well as your bank details to pay you. And those under the care of social services or who live in council housing may need their data to be held in order to use these services. Whatever reason Chesterfield Council have for holding your personal data, they have a responsibility towards you to keep it safe.
It doesn’t matter whether personal data is stored digitally or physically; data protection laws cover both in the same way. Information that is printed on paper and stored in a filing cabinet is just as important to keep safe as data stored in an online system.
If you would like free legal advice about what constitutes a data breach and the steps you could take if you were affected, speak to our team today.
Local authorities are not exempt from UK GDPR. They must adhere to the seven key principles that lie at the heart of data protection legislation. These say that:
- Data should be collected in a fair, obvious and legal way.
- Collected with a clear purpose in mind and not processed further in a way that isn’t compatible with this.
- The data collected should be limited to what is necessary for the purpose it’s collected for.
- Data shouldn’t be held for longer than needed for the purpose it was processed for
- The organisation that holds the data should be accountable for the way they use it and needs to be able to show that they are compliant with the UK GDPR.
- Data should be kept accurate and up-to-date.
- Robust security systems should be in place to protect data
It’s also important that an organisation has a lawful basis for processing your data. If they process your data without a lawful basis, they could be in breach of data protection laws.
How might a data breach at Chesterfield council potentially occur? Data breaches can happen for all different types of reasons. The data controller who processes a data subjects personal information has a responsibility to keep it safe. Not all data breaches will mean a data controller is at fault. Below we have looked at ways personal data has the potential to be breached:
- A member of staff leaves a computer screen containing personal information open for a passerby to notice
- A laptop containing personal data is left in a cafe and is not password-protected
- Passport scans and tenancy documents are kept in an unlocked filing cabinet
- Information is sent to a third party without your personal data being redacted
- Failings in cybersecurity mean that personal data is at risk from hackers or cybercriminals
- Documents containing personal information are not shredded or disposed of securely
Perhaps your data has been exposed by a council in a way we have not listed above? Give our team a call today, and an agent will be able to advise whether you have justification to claim.
As previously mentioned, local authorities must collect some personal data in order to provide services. Some of these, like social services, may tend to deal with vulnerable people such as the elderly or people with mental health problems. If you’re a tenant of social housing, your information will also be stored by the local council acting as your landlord.
The information that a council may need to hold on you could include:
- Your name and contact details
- Tenancy audit documents
- Date of birth
- Scans of your passport or other forms of identification
- Information about your circumstances (for instance, a social worker’s notes if you are under the care of social services)
However, just because your personal information was exposed does not mean that you will be automatically entitled to claim. You need to show that:
- The council could have done more to stop the breach from happening, and;
- You were caused financial or emotional harm as a result of the breach
If you would like to know more about whether you have a valid basis for a claim, our team can help. Get in touch with us today for free legal advice about your situation.
As the independent regulator of data privacy in the UK, the ICO can investigate and sanction organisations that breach data protection. However, they cannot award you compensation themselves. To do this, you may need to pursue a claim.
There’s no requirement to report a breach to the ICO, and you can make a claim without having done so. However, the ICO’s investigation may be able to shed some light on how the breach occurred and, in some cases, may support your compensation claim.
The ICO offer a template that helps you raise your concerns to a council directly. You should do this as soon as you suspect a breach happened. In some cases, you may have been contacted about a breach, as you need to be told about a breach that poses a risk to your rights and freedoms without undue delay.
However, if you don’t receive a satisfactory response from the local authority, you can raise a complaint with the ICO. You should do this within 3 months of the last meaningful communication with the council; any longer than this and they may decline to investigate.
If you do intend to make a claim, it’s important that you begin proceedings within the appropriate timeframe. The time limit to starting a claim is 6 years for a case involving a private company. Alternatively, it could simply be one year where a public body or council are the defendant. And you may not be aware that various factors could increase or decrease the limitation period. So, we advise that you speak to us about your potential claim as soon as possible.
You may be wondering whether you need a solicitor in order to pursue compensaiton for the harm you were caused by an avoidable data breach. While there is no legal obligation to do so, there are some benefits associated with seeking legal representation for a claim of this kind.
Data privacy laws can be complex, and the prospect of claiming alone may be daunting. The guidance and support of a solicitor could help make the process easier, as they have years of experience in pursuing this kind of claim.
Furthermore, we offer a no-obligation consultation before you begin your claim. One of our advisors can take your call and assess how likely they think your claim is to succeed. If you have a valid claim, they could connect you with one of our solicitors who can offer No Win No Fee representation.
If you were to make a successful data breach claim, your compensation could consist of two different kinds of damages. These are:
- Material damages, which cover financial losses that the breach has caused you to experience
- Non-material damages, which focus on the emotional harm that you have experienced as a result of the breach.
Vidal-Hall v Google  was a landmark case in the Court of Appeal. In it, the court held that emotional suffering from a data breach could be compensated in its own right, even if there was no financial harm that occurred.
In addition to this, they held that claims for non-material damages following data breaches could be calculated in the same way as those in personal injury claims. This means that legal professionals can now refer to the Judicial College Guidelines to help value claims.
Below, we have included some guideline compensation brackets from the Judicial College Guidelines. These cover non-material damages and do not include material damages:
|Reactive psychiatric disorder||(PTSD) Severe||Where the injured person is unable to cope at anything near a pre-trauma level. All apects of the person's life will be impacted||£56,180 - £94,470|
|Reactive psychiatric disorder||(PTSD) Moderately severe||Although there will be a better prognosis with professional help, the injured person is likely to be significantly disabled for the foreseeable future||£21,730 - £56,180|
|Reactive psychiatric disorder||(PTSD) Moderate||A largely complete recovery will have been made and any continuing effects are not grossly disabling||£7,680 - £21,730|
|Reactive psychiatric disorder||(PTSD) Less severe||Within 1 to 2 years, a virtually full recovery will have been made and any symptoms that persist will be minor||Up to £7,680|
|General psychiatric harm||Severe||The injured person will have problems with education, work and relationships. The prognosis for recovery will be poor||£51,460 - £108,620|
|General psychiatric harm||Moderately severe||There will be significant problems relating to relationships, work and education, but the prognosis will be better than in more serious cases||£17,900 - £51,460|
|General psychiatric harm||Moderate||There will be some problems relating to relationships, work and education but the prognosis will be good and a marked improvement will have been made after being treated||£5,500 - £17,900|
|General psychiatric harm||Less severe||The settlement awarded will depend on how badly sleep and daily activities were affected||Up to £5,500|
It’s important to note that compensation is worked out on a case-by-case basis. You aren’t guaranteed a particular amount, and your settlement will depend on your individual circumstances.
If you don’t see your injury in the table above, don’t worry; you may still be able to claim. Give our team a call, and one of our advisors will be happy to take some details of your case and offer you a free claim valuation.
A No Win No Fee agreement is an agreement between you and your solicitor that sets out the conditions they need to meet before requesting payment from you. They are sometimes referred to as “Conditional Fee Agreements”.
No Win No Fee agreements enable people to access legal representation with no upfront costs. There are also no fees to pay as the claim progresses or anything due at all to your lawyers if the case fails.
In the event of a successful claim. a small amount is deducted from your compensation as a ‘success fee’ to cover their costs. You always receive the majority of any award made.
Are you interested in making a claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor? Perhaps you would like to find out more about how this kind of agreement might benefit you? Speak with our team today to find out more.
If a data breach at Chesterfield Council occurred would you know what to do. Here at Legal Expert, we can help you by offering a free consultation. In this informal chat, your case along with any evidence you have can be assessed. Our advice is free and you can call day or night. We could help connect you with specialist solicitors wherever you are in the country.
This means that you don’t have to worry about finding a solicitor in your local area. Furthermore, you can look at our reviews to see how we have helped past claimants in your position.
Thank you for reading our guide looking at the steps you could take if a data breach at Chesterfield council occurred. You can get in touch with us by:
- Calling us on 0800 073 8804
- Email or write to us on our contact page
- Use the ‘live support’ link for an instant reply
In addition to the information in this article, we can offer further reading on other aspects of data breach claims.
What are the time limits to start my claim?
There is a 6-year time limit for starting a data breach claim for compensation. This is reduced to one year if your human rights were infringed.
Do I need to have suffered stress to claim?
You don’t need to have suffered emotional harm to claim for a data breach. Instead, you will just be compensated for the financial impact the breach had.
How do I show how I was affected by the data breach?
You can use things like bank statements and your credit score to show how your finances were impacted. You will be invited to a psychological assessment that can prove your emotional damage.
How long will my claim take to process?
Time frames vary depending on how complex the claim is and how much the defendant contests it. As such, you should expect to hear an outcome within a 6 month period.
Do I need to have lost money to claim?
Vidal-Hall v Google recognised that emotional suffering is legitimate grounds to seek compensation in data breach cases in its own right. This means that you don’t need to have suffered financial harm in order to claim.
Thank you for reading our guide on the steps you can take if a data breach at Chesterfield council was to occur.
Guide by Waters
Edited by Stocks