Data Breach At Barnsley Council – Compensation Claims Guide
Welcome to our guide on the steps you could take if a data breach at Barnsley Council ever happened. Has your personal data been compromised by your local authority or council? Have you suffered either financial and/or psychological harm? Does this mean you can make a data breach claim? Hopefully, we provide answers to all of your questions.
This article will explore the role of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how it was enacted into UK law by the Data Protection Act 2018 to provide more protection for data subjects and their personal data.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a non-departmental public body in the UK that was created to uphold data protection laws. They are responsible for enforcing these laws and taking action against those who fail to comply.
The action they take will vary depending on how severe the data breach is. However, they can issue fines if a data subject’s personal data has been compromised as a result.
Although they have the power to investigate any reports of organisations failing to comply with data protection laws, they won’t be the one’s awarding compensation. Instead, you can pursue a data breach claim if you can prove that the data controller failed to secure your personal information.
If this is something you’d like to consider, please get in touch with our team on 0800 073 8804. Or you can keep reading for further details on how the claims process works and how a solicitor may handle your case.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Claiming For A Data Breach At Barnsley Council
- 2021 Data Security Statistics
- What Could Be A Claim For A Data Breach At Barnsley Council?
- Are There Any GDPR Exemptions That Could Apply To Councils?
- Types Breaches In Data Security Which Could Affect Councils
- Social Services And Council Housing Tenant Data Breaches
- What Are ICO Reportable Breaches And How Do I Report One?
- Resolving Your Case – How Does The Claims Process Work?
- What Is A Data Breach Settlement?
- How Could You Calculate A Claim For AData Breach At Barnsley Council?
- What Is A No Win No Fee Agreement When Claiming For A Data Breach At Barnsley Council?
- How To Find A Lawyer Specialising In Data Leak Claims
- Talk To An Expert
- Finding Articles On Similar Topics
- Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
There are various types of data breaches that could involve your personal data being compromised. For instance, an email data breach involving the data controller – who are those that collect personal information – failing to blind copy your email address to prevent others from seeing it.
Alternatively, you may have experienced a non-digital data breach, such as documents containing sensitive information not being disposed of correctly.
However, if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to make a data breach claim, our guide will explore how to determine whether your claim is valid. In addition, we will look at the compensation you could receive for the resulting financial and psychological damage.
As part of your claim, you will need evidence to build a strong case. Our guide will look at what evidence you need to obtain and how a solicitor could help you do so.
However, if you have any questions whilst reading this guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an advisor on the number at the top of the page.
How long do I have to put forward a council data breach claim?
There are time limits involved when making a data breach claim. In general, you have 6 years for a breach involving a private company or 1 year for a breach involving a public body e.g. a council. However, other factors could impact the length of time in which to claim, so we advise you to speak to us ASAP. That way, you won’t miss out on claiming before it’s too late.
Additionally, if the person who suffered the breach lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves, someone could claim on your behalf. They could do this by applying to act as a litigation friend. For instance, a parent, solicitor or guardian.
According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021, evidence suggests that the risk of cyber threats was potentially higher during COVID-19 and businesses found it harder to put measures in place during that time.
However, the graph below shows the actions businesses took during the last 12 months to identify risks.
According to the survey findings, 39% of businesses and 26% of charities reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.
A data breach is a security incident in which your personal data has either been disclosed, altered, lost, accessed accidentally or deliberately and without authorisation to do so.
Not all data breaches will mean that personal information has been compromised. The Data Protection Act 2018 protects personal data not data as a whole. It also protects sensitive data like protected charismatics. Personal data is information that can accurately identify you like your name and address. Indirect data but also considered personal information is that of data that can be used in conjunction with other information to identify you.
The UK GDPR embodies 7 core principles that must be carried through into an organisation’s data protection procedures. The core principles include:
- Having a valid reason to collect and use personal data
- Provide a clear purpose for why it’s necessary for you to process someone’s personal data
- Only store data that you need and that is relevant to your purpose
- Ensure the data you hold for someone is accurate and take reasonable steps to correct it if it’s not
- Don’t store data for longer than you need to
- Put appropriate security measures in place to ensure the personal data you hold is protected
- Ensure you take responsibility for what you do with someone’s personal data and comply with the other principles
An organisation must have a lawful basis to process your data. There are six in total. But an organisation only needs to have one lawful basis.
For instance, if they have a legal obligation to process, they don’t also need your consent. Furthermore, if it’s in your vital interest to process data such as to save your life, then they don’t also need a legal obligation.
The council is responsible for the running of several departments. Each is responsible for handling and processing personal data lawfully. Data breaches can take place online or there can be physical data breaches. They could happen in different ways such as;
- Sending letters containing someone else’s personal information to the wrong address
- Previous employees accessing databases with people’s personal information to use for their own purpose due to the council failing to update passwords and security measures after they had left
- Copying in another department in an email that contained sensitive information about someone else
- Throwing documents with people’s bank details out in the normal rubbish without shredding them or blacking out the details first
These breaches could result in identifiable information being shared without authorisation. This could result in identity theft or credit card fraud which can become long term ongoing issues.
If this is something you’ve experienced, we understand how frustrating it may be. If you’d like to speak with a member of our team about how best to move forward, call on the number above.
The council is responsible for several departments, including adult health and social care and children, families and education.
These could hold medical information or information on the services they provide to people. If this information isn’t protected, it could have a wider impact on their relationships with people around them. For instance:
- Disclosing social services documentation to family members who weren’t authorised to see it
- Disclosing adoption records to birth parents detailing the address of the adoptive parents
Additionally, they oversee the housing department. Due to the information they could hold, there are various types of breaches that could affect people’s personal data, such as the council:
- Leaking tenancy documents
- Storing passport data for longer than necessary
- Sending rent statements to the wrong person
- Failing to keep complaints of neighbour noise pollution anonymous
If a data breach at Barnsley Council were to occur would you know the appropriate steps you could take? Our claims team offer a free informal chat to any potential claimant. Here you can have your questions answered and evidence reviewed. Give our team a call today.
If you have not had a meaningful response from the council you can contact the ICO within 3 months of your last communication. It’s best to contact the council in writing either by emailing or writing a letter.
If you are not happy with the data controllers response or they have failed to respond do not leave it longer than 3 months before you contact the ICO. If there is a delay with contacting the ICO they may refuse to investigate your complaint.
The procedure you take might include contacting the council directly and taking your complaint to the ICO if you didn’t get any resolution from the council.
The choice is yours whether you decide to make a data breach claim. However, if you do decide that making a data breach claim is the right option for you, you may want to hire a data breach solicitor to help you.
For more information, speak to our team, and they can determine whether your claim is valid. If it is, they could pass you to one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.
Who can seek data breach compensation?
If a claimants claim is successful they can claim for two types of damage; material and non-material damage. Material damage covers you for any financial losses. For instance, if you’ve experienced credit card fraud or your bank details have been stolen.
Whereas non-material damage covers you for any psychological damage that the data breach could have caused. For instance, disturbance to sleep, stress, anxiety or the ability to maintain trusting relationships.
However, you will require evidence when seeking compensation. For any material damage, you may need to provide receipts or payslips depending on the nature of the monetary losses.
In addition, for any mental injuries, you may need to provide medical records showing the extent of the damage you suffered.
Furthermore, an additional assessment could provide an independent medical report that highlights your current psychological condition.
In previous claims, it wasn’t possible to seek compensation for psychological damage if there were no financial losses forming part of your claim. However, the Court of Appeal for Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  changed this.
The decision that came from the Court of Appeal meant people could make a data breach claim solely for psychological damage, without having to have suffered any monetary damage.
For that reason, we have created a table below, which contains estimated figures for various mental injuries varying in severity.
|Severity of psychological injury||Additional details||Compensation award|
|Severe Psychiatric damage||The award will account for factors such as how a person's ability to deal with life such as work and maintaining relationships were affected. There may be permanent ongoing issues with these.||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Moderately severe Psychiatric damage||There will be significant issues with respects to coping with life, work or education and maintaining relationships.||£17,900 to £51,460|
|Moderate Psychiatric damage||There will be noticeable improvements when dealing with life, work or education and maintain relationships.||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Less severe Psychiatric damage||The award will take into account how long someone was affected by the symptoms of their psychiatric damage.||£1,440 to £5,500|
|Severe Post-traumatic stress disorder||Every aspect of someone's life will be impacted.||£56,180 to £94,470|
|Moderate Post-traumatic stress disorder||There may be some ongoing symptoms that aren't severe and the person will have mostly recovered.||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Less severe Post-traumatic stress disorder||There will have been a full recovery made within two years and only minor symptoms may continue to impact a person.||£3,710 to £7,680|
The Judicial College Guidelines has provided the figures. It is a publication that is often used to value injuries in civil cases.
However, it’s important to note that the compensation settlement amount will vary for each claim depending on the severity of the breach. In addition, not every claim will have both material and non-material damages.
For that reason, you should only use the figures in the table as a guide.
It’s possible you’ve heard about No Win No Fee agreements but may not be entirely sure how it could benefit you.
Essentially, this type of agreement means you can have legal representation without paying upfront costs and costs incurred during your claim.
Furthermore, you won’t be asked to pay solicitor fees provided that your solicitor fails to succeed when handling your claim.
If they do succeed, you’ll pay a small fee that will be taken from your overall compensation package. However, you will be made aware of this prior to starting your claim.
For more details, speak to an advisor to see if you hold a valid claim and could work with a solicitor from our panel.
Although you might have decided to seek legal representation for your data breach claim, you may be having difficulty finding a solicitor you trust.
If so, it could help to:
- Speak to friends and family for recommendations
- Check reviews of solicitors to see their claimants experiences and how they found working with the solicitor.
Alternatively, all of our solicitors can take cases on a No Win No Fee basis.
Additionally, they can accurately calculate what your claim is worth and help you build a strong case with relevant evidence.
We have a review page that you can look at to find out more about how our solicitors work. Alternatively, you could speak to our team for more details. See below for how you can contact us.
We understand your frustrations at having your personal data compromised. It can cause a whole host of problems that affect your long term financial security and mental health.
If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this guide or anything else you’re unsure of, get in touch with our team on the following details:
- Call us on 0800 073 8804
- Fill out the enquiry form
- Ask us your questions on live chat at the bottom of the page
Have you experienced an NHS data breach? If so, our guide could help.
Did a university breach data protection laws? See our guide for more information.
Visit our guide for more details on claiming hotel data breach compensation against a hotel that compromised your personal data.
See more about the action the ICO has taken on their website.
If you want to find out what data an organisation has about you, visit the government guide for more information.
See the ICO website for further details about when an organisation should inform you that they’re using your personal data.
This section will look at the different types and causes of data breaches.
What is the most common data breach?
Phishing can often cause personal information to be breached.
What are the most common causes of data breaches?
Phishing and human error can often be responsible for data breaches.
How common are data breaches?
The frequency with which data breaches happen has varied over the years due to more sophisticated hacking techniques.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide following what steps you can take if a data breach at Barnsley Council occurred.
Guide By Mitchell
Edited By Melissa.