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Data Breach At Dudley Council Claims Guide

This guide will examine the process you could take if a data breach at Dudley Council occurred. There are two main goals for this guide. Firstly, to establish the eligibility criteria for making a data breach a claim. Secondly, to explain how the laws have changed to protect your personal data. Put simply, this guide should provide you with useful information should you ever become a victim of a data breach.

Dudley council data breach claims guide

Dudley council data breach claims guide

The circumstances of your case will be at least somewhat unique. It may be similar to other data breaches, but it won’t be exactly the same. Due to this, we cannot promise to answer all of your questions in this guide. There are simply too many potential scenarios of data breaches. Nevertheless, we can provide you with additional answers not given in this guide. You just need to call and talk to one of our expert advisors. You can get in touch with them 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, on 0800 073 8804.

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A Guide On Claims Should A Data Breach At Dudley Council Occur

In this guide, we will look to explain how if ever a data breach at Dudley Council took place the steps you may need to take to find out if your personal information had been breached. We have tried to avoid legal jargon, and explain legal terms simply. We start this guide off with some background information. You will find a graph that shows data security incidents at local government level. We follow this with an overview of what a data breach is. This includes an explanation of applicable legislation, as well as the types of regulations.

Next, we look at how the council has to protect your data. Furthermore, we have added a number of examples that show how data breaches have the potential to happen. We follow this up with some information on what to do if your data is put at risk. In short, we have explained how to report a data breach.

Key financial aspects of a possible claim are covered next. We discuss the reasons why you might seek damages. As well as provide you with an example compensation table to help you estimate roughly how much you might claim for. No Win No Fee agreements are covered, and you will learn about the many benefits such a fee structure can offer.

The last few sections of this guide will provide you with some general advice on the service we offer. Lastly, we close this guide with some relevant resource links, and also a Q&A section.

Is There A Time Limit?

If you intended to make a claim should a Dudley Council data breach take place, you must start the claim within the correct time limit. However, the circumstances of your claim will have a direct relation to the time limit. In general, the time limits will be.

  • 6-years
  • 1-year if you are bringing a case against a public body (of which a council is one).

However, other factors can have an implication when working out the time limit to start a claim. You can find out whether this is the case for your own claim by calling our team. They can tell you exactly which time limit will apply.

The Latest Data Breach Statistics For 2021

We won’t look at the full role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in this section. Later in this guide, we will look at how the ICO is the governing body in the UK responsible for data security and privacy regulations. For now, we will just be using some of the data that the ICO makes public to create the graph below. It shows data security incidents in local government. The graph does not include cyber security issues.

Government Data Breaches

What Could A Data Breach At Dudley Council Be?

A data breach is a security incident that involves your personal information being lost, stolen, altered, or disclosed or accessed by someone who does not have the authority. This can happen accidentally, through cybercrime or deliberate action. However, if a data breach occurs this does not mean a data breach victim qualifies automatically for compensation. If an organisation, a data controller, has put in place security measures that are considered appropriate they will not be liable for a breach.

However, the onus is going to be on you, the claimant, to prove liability. Therefore, you must show that the data controller failed to take all required actions to safeguard your data.

An Overview Of Legislation

In the European Union (EU) the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been adopted. But since the UK left the EU, the UK has updated laws related to data privacy and security. Primarily, the UK-GDPR and also the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Therefore, generally, Dudley Council data protection policies must adhere to these laws.

Type Of Data Protected

Not all data is covered by UK legislation. Dudley Council data collection and processing activities only have to protect personal, and sensitive data. We have defined these categories below.

  • Personal data covers information that can identify you whether directly or indirectly. Your address, phone numbers, email address, passport number, etc.
  • Special category data covers facts about you that could be exploited in some way. Your race, religious beliefs, trade union memberships, etc.

It may not always be apparent if a data breach has occurred. Even if you know one has you may not be sure how to proceed. Therefore, you can call our claims team to get some help and advice on how to do this.

Does Dudley Council Have To Comply With The UK GDPR?

Your local authority has to comply with all applicable data protection laws. This is intended to ensure that the possibility of a data breach at Dudley Council is minimised. The authority has to follow the seven core competencies of the GDPR. And these are:

  • Limiting the duration that your data is stored for.
  • Securing your personal data.
  • Acting legally, fairly, and in a transparent manner.
  • Purpose limitation
  • Accountability
  • Keeping all of the data stored about you up to date.
  • Limiting the volume of information kept about you.

Examples Of How Data Breaches Are Caused And What Data May Be Lost

A potential data breach can occur whenever the information held about you is put at risk. Some examples could include:

  • An employee decides to share information that relates to you, with a person that is not authorised to see your personal data.
  • A cyber crime exposes your personal information records
  • Data files are left in a public place by accident.
  • Physical records that have your data printed on them are thrown away, but were not shredded.

In these examples, we can see how your data could have been put at risk. To hold a data controller responsible like a local authority you must be able to prove that their actions or inactions meant that the data was not secured correctly. Call and talk to an advisor to find out if your claim is valid.

Data Protection In Housing And Safeguarding Services

If you are a council tenant, every time you pay your rent, more data is stored about you. The council data protection policy will have been designed to reduce any possibility of a data breach at Dudley Council. Data breaches can happen for many different reasons. Digital files as well as physical files are all at risk of being exposed. We cannot describe every possible data breach scenario but we have included a few below;

  • A physical document such as a rent statement is lost or stolen, allowing strangers to read your data.
  • A landlord being sent information about you as a tenant, receives a document within which your personal data was not fully redacted.
  • An employee accessing a document for their personal use.
  • Digitally stored data on a USB stick or hard drive is not wiped before the device is disposed of.

Here, we can see how each of these examples could put your data at risk in some way. Talk to a claim advisor to learn more about this.

Where Should Data Breaches Be Reported And Recorded?

There is a process that you could follow to report a data breach if you can show that you have become the victim of a potential data breach at Dudley Council. However, the reporting and complaint procedure outlined here is optional in relation to making a claim. However, it may be beneficial to take these steps in preparation for your case.

Firstly, you can contact the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at the council. They will be able to tell you if there has been a data breach. Additionally, they could be able to indicate whether your data has been affected by the breach, and to what extent.

Secondly, you can contact the ICO to report the data breach formally, and make a complaint. You can do this if a council fails to deal with your request as well.

But, something to keep in mind, is that the ICO will not generally act on a complaint if more than three months have passed since communication with the data controller.

What Steps Do I Need To Take?

We have listed steps to consider in the section above. These steps will allow you to gather evidence along the way.  But, please consider the fact that if, for example, the ICO takes punitive action against the data controller following your complaint, this could have a positive impact on your claim.

Either way, you can engage a legal firm to start processing your data breach claim for you. They will help you to prepare any required evidence, and also tell you how much compensation might be appropriate to seek.

We can provide you with an expert data breach claims lawyer, to process your claim for you. If you would like some more information about this simple way to begin your claim, please call our team of advisors.

How Compensation Settlements Are Assessed

There are two areas to consider when putting forward a data breach claim. First, for any trauma, stress or mental illness caused by the data breach. In a worst-case scenario, dealing with the aftermath of a serious data breach could be highly traumatising. Second, to attempt to reclaim any financial loss caused by the data breach.

The Court of Appeal heard the case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc., in 2015. The claim was a success, and the claimants successfully sued for mental hardship despite no financial loss being caused by the data breach. In short, even if you lost no money because of the data breach, you can still try and claim for psychological issues.

Monetary loss can take two forms. Firstly, there are the costs associated with bringing the claim. For example, paying for documents to be couriered, making telephone calls, making photocopies, etc. Secondly, if there are any financial losses caused by your data being accessed. For example, a cybercriminal might access your credit card details, and then use them to make online purchases. A successful claim could see you recoup both types of losses.

How Do You Calculate Compensation For A Data Breach At Dudley Council?

It is not possible to come up with an average figure for the compensation you might get if your claim for a data breach is won. This is because each claim is unique. What we can do though, is use the guidelines produced by the Judicial College in England, to make the table below. It shows example compensation ranges for different severities of mental illness.

Degree of Severity Health Issue Potential Compensation Relevant Data
Moderate Psychiatric issues £5,500 – £17,900 A stressful or shocking event could cause this category of moderate psychological damage. The victim would suffer symptoms that would have a fair impact on the quality of their life. After treatment, the victim should recover, although there may be trivial ongoing mental issues.
Moderately severe Psychiatric issues £17,900 – £51,460 A very traumatic event may cause this category of moderately severe psychological damage. The victim would suffer symptoms that would have a distinct effect on the quality of their life. After treatment, the victim should recover considerably, although there may be problematic ongoing mental health issues.
Less severe Psychiatric issues Up to £5,500 A stressful or frightening event could cause this category of less severe psychological damage. The victim would suffer minor symptoms that would have a negligible impact on the quality of their life. After treatment, the victim should recover in full.
Severe Psychiatric issues £51,460 – £108,620 A very traumatic repetitive event may cause this category of severe psychological damage. The victim would suffer catastrophic symptoms that would have a huge impact on the quality of their life. After treatment, the victim may recover considerably, but there will likely be significant ongoing mental health issues.

Can I Use A No Win No Fee Agreement To Claim For A Data Breach At Dudley Council?

Most people are aware that they might be able to use a No Win No Fee agreement to fund a solicitors service in regards to a personal injury claim. But did you know that the same could apply to a solicitor for a data breach claim?

Under such a fee arrangement you don’t pay the lawyer a fee until the claim is won. There would be no upfront fee to start the claim, and no fee collected while the claim is being processed. A lost claim means that you don’t pay your lawyer any fee for their services. But a won claim, would likely see you having to pay a modest success fee to your lawyer. It can be taken out of any compensation settlement they received for you.

Contact A Data Breach Solicitor

Thank you for reading our guide on your rights if a data breach at Dudley Council happened. Our team of expert solicitors can help you to get the most compensation possible. Please use the contact information below to speak to a claim advisor. They will evaluate your case for you, and let you know how best to proceed. They will likely organise your claim under a No Win No Fee agreement, which means nothing to pay upfront. You will only pay when the lawyer has successfully settled your claim. So, you really have nothing to lose, contact us today to get started.

Telephone: 0800 073 8804

Use our webchat or fill in a contact request.

Helpful Resources For Claimants

These other guides are well worth reading through.

Additionally, these external links will provide you with some more useful info.

How To Manage A Data Breach Complaint

Dealing With A Breach Of Personal Data

Data Privacy Explained

Frequently Asked Questions About Breaches Of Data Privacy

Here are some simple answers to questions you might have about a council data breach claim.

What happens when data privacy is breached?

Your data could be exposed. This could, in the worst case, result in significant financial loss.

What are 3 causes of data breaches?

  • Human Error
  • Cyberattacks
  • Unlawful processing

Within how many hours should a data breach be reported?

If a data breach at Dudley Council arose the data breach officer at the council would need to report it to the ICO within 72 hours if rights and freedoms of a data subject were at risk.

Written By Wheeler

Edited By Melissa.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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