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Data Breach At Warwick District Council Claims Guide

In this guide, we will look at how a data breach at Warwick District Council could potentially occur and the eligibility to claim compensation if harm was experienced. Data breaches can cause emotional harm and stress. Not only this, but you could experience financial harm as a result of money being stolen or your credit score being affected.

What Could Be A Warwick And Royal Leamington Spa Council Data Breach?

Warwick District Council data breach claims guide

Warwick District Council data breach claims guide

We have produced this guide to provide you with essential information on what steps you could take if a council data breach exposed your personal data. Furthermore, we provide advice on when a data breach claim against a council could be valid. We will also look at how much you could receive in compensation and what damages your settlement could consist of.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a piece of legislation that protects the rights of individuals (referred to as “data subjects”). The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) implemented the GDPR into UK law. Now that the UK has left the European Union, we refer to the UK GDPR when discussing data protection. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent authority that upholds the data rights of individuals. They can investigate and fine organisations that aren’t compliant with the regulations.

If you can prove that a council failed to protect your personal information and that you experienced harm as a result, call our claims team for free legal advice.

Should a data breach at Warwick District Council occur we can provide you with a free case assessment when you call our team. You can reach a friendly adviser by calling 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can fill out our online claims form.

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A Guide On How To Claim Should A Data Breach At Warwick District Council Occur

As we have already mentioned, there are laws in place that protect your personal information from being exposed. Personal data is any data that could be used to identify you, either alone or when combined with other information.

A data breach is defined as a security incident that results in personal data being lost, changed or disclosed to or accessed by an unauthorised person. Some data breaches may be the result of a deliberate, malicious attack on the part of a cybercriminal; however, others could occur as the result of things like staff not being sufficiently trained on data protection procedures. However, to have a valid claim you must show that it happened as the result of failings on the part of the organisation. For example, they did not have appropriate cyber security systems in play to protect your personal data.

Legal Expert can help you determine whether you have a valid claim and grounds to sue for data breach compensation. If you were affected by a council data breach, one of our No Win No Fee lawyers could act on your behalf if your claim has a good chance of success.

With the right legal expertise, you stand a better chance of receiving a fair and acceptable level of compensation. Call us today for more free legal advice.

The Data Breach Claim Time Limit

Generally, there is a one-year time limit when making a claim against a public body. For private companies, the time limit is 6 years.

However, there are a number of different factors that could affect the amount of time you have to claim. Speak to our team today to find out if you are within the time limit to claim.

How Common Are Data Breaches?

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 is a government survey that provides information on data security incidents. It’s produced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The graph below shows the kinds of breaches or attacks that are considered the most disruptive by businesses. As we can see, the most disruptive kind of security breach reported was phishing attacks. Takeovers of organisation’s or users’ accounts were considered the least disruptive within this heading.

Data breach at Warwick District Council statistics graph

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2021/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2021

What Could Be A Data Breach At Warwick District Council?

Local authorities need to hold a wide range of data for a number of different reasons. A council is considered a “data controller”.

There are several council services that you could use that would require the council to hold your data. For instance, if you’re under the care of social services, then the council will need to hold information on you to provide these services. If you’re a council tenant, they may hold information on your address and how much you pay in rent. In some instances, they may hold information on the school or nursery your child has applied to or attends.

In some cases, it’s a requirement to report a data breach to the ICO. A breach should be reported if it threatens the rights and freedoms of the data subject. The ICO should be notified of any reportable breaches within 72 hours, and the data subjects affected should be told without undue delay.

It’s important when making a compensation claim that you are able to prove that the data breach that affected you occurred because the data controller failed to do all they could to protect your personal data. If they did everything they could and a breach happened anyway, you would not be able to claim.

If you can show that failings on the part of a council led to a data breach that caused you harm, speak to a member of our team today for free legal advice.

Do Councils Have To Comply With The UK’s GDPR?

Data controllers, which includes organisations like local councils, must always abide by data protection law. This includes adhering to the seven core principles of the GDPR. On top of this, they should only process data when they have a lawful basis.

The seven core principles of the GDPR should lie at the heart of any organisation’s handling and processing of personal data. Organisations are expected to:

  • Process all data in a lawful, fair and transparent manner
  • Only collect data for specified and explicit purposes and not process it any further in a way that’s incompatible with these purposes
  • Collect and store data that is adequate and limited to what is needed for the intended purpose
  • Take all reasonable steps to keep all data up-to-date and accurate
  • Limit the storage of data, so that information that could be used to identify subjects is not held for longer than needed
  • Keep data secure by having appropriate security measures in place
  • Show that they’re compliant with the rest of these principles, and take responsibility for the security of data

If a local council fails in any of the key principles and your data is exposed, they could be fined by the ICO.

Types Of Breaches In Councils Data Protection

Data breaches can occur for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, a data breach might occur even when a council has done all it can to protect your data.

We have included some potential examples below:

  • A laptop that is not password-protected that contains personal data is left on a bus by a member of staff
  • A social worker discusses the details of your case and mentions you by name within earshot of someone who doesn’t have the authorisation to know that information
  • When disposing of a document that contains personal data, a member of staff throws it away in a waste bin instead of using a shredder
  • A local council fails to update their online security measures, which means that a hacker is able to access personal data

This list is by no means exhaustive, and you may have been affected by a data breach that happened in a way that we haven’t mentioned above. If you have been affected by a data breach then you may be able to claim.

Housing Records Data Breaches

Government authorities have a duty to make sure the data that they hold is protected. When local councils fail in this duty, and personal data is breached, this could cause stress, anxiety or depression in the data subjects. It could also cause financial harm in the form of money being stolen or an effect on your credit score.

The sort of data that Warwick District Council holds includes tenancy data. This means they collect and process:

  • Tenancy audit scans
  • Passport details
  • Payment information
  • Tenancy documents and agreements
  • Rent statements

If any of this information was exposed in a data breach, you could experience financial or emotional harm. For instance, if your passport details were exposed, this could lead to someone committing identity theft. As a result, your credit score could be affected if the criminal takes out loans in your name.

Furthermore, information from things like rent statements or tenancy audit scans could allow a hacker to use your personal data to perform a phishing scam. This is where someone poses as a reputable organisation in order to get money or information from you.

They could use the information held on you to make these scams seem more realistic. For example, if they know exactly how much you pay per month in rent, they could use this information to pose as the council and send a letter to you advising that your last payment has failed and that you need to pay again.

It’s the responsibility of the council as a data controller to protect all personal data they hold.

When Should The ICO Be Notified Of A Breach?

We have already mentioned that the ICO can investigate data breaches. However, it’s important to note that they cannot award you compensation, and the results of any investigation they perform are completely separate from the claims process.

The first thing you should do if you feel your personal data has been exposed by the local council is to make a complaint to them directly. The ICO provides a template that you can use to express concerns about how your data has been handled.

If they don’t reply to your concerns to your satisfaction, you can then report the breach to the ICO to be investigated. However, you must do this within three months of your last meaningful communication with the council; if you wait any longer, then they may decline to investigate the issue.

You can speak to a solicitor from our panel for free legal advice about whether to report the incident to the ICO. Call today for free.

Suing The Council

You could follow the procedure below if you want to make a claim for a data breach that was caused by a data controller’s failings:

  • Lodge a complaint with the right department.
  • If the reply you receive is unsatisfactory, you can contact the ICO to investigate. Although they won’t be able to award you compensation, the results of their investigation could strengthen your claim if they decide in your favour. However, the outcome of the ICO investigation is not final, and the court may come to a different decision.
  • Collect evidence of the harm you have experienced, emotional and financial. You could collect medical records if you’ve been to the doctor with stress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bank or credit card statements could show how you have been affected financially.
  • Contact Legal Expert to benefit from free advice on whether you have grounds to claim compensation. If so, we could offer free legal advice on how best to move forward.

Damages You Could Claim For

When you make a claim for compensation for harm caused by a data breach, you could be awarded two different kinds of damages. These are material and non-material damages.

Material damages cover any financial harm you have experienced as a result of the data breach. For example, a credit card data breach could have an impact on your credit score, while a bank data breach could mean that money is stolen from your account.

Non-material damages cover you for any emotional harm caused by the data breach. For example, if you have had your money stolen by hackers, then you could experience PTSD or anxiety at the thought of it happening again. If your medical records were accessed without authorisation or your employer exposed information about your work performance, this could cause you to become depressed.

In 2015, the Court of Appeal held that you could be compensated for the emotional impact that a data breach has had on you even if it hasn’t caused you any financial harm. Before this, you would need to have experienced material damages in order to claim for non-material damages.

Calculate Payouts For A Data Breach At Warwick District Council

When you make a compensation claim following a data breach, the amount that you receive will depend on how severe the harm caused to you was. For this reason, the table we have included below should only be used as a guide, as your compensation amount may vary.

Non-material damages can be calculated using Judicial College guidelines (JCG), which is a document used to help value personal injury claims. This is because of a ruling in Gulati and others v MGN Ltd.

Mental anguish suffered Potential compensation payout Details of severity
Psychological harm/damage £51,460 to £108,620 The injured person will have marked problems related to life, work, education and relationships and will have a poor prognosis.
Psychological harm/damage £17,900 to £51,460 The injured person will have significant problems related to life, work, education and relationships but will have a slightly better prognosis than in more severe cases.
Psychological harm/damage £5,500 to £17,900 The injured person will have had the sort of problems relating to life, education, work and relationships but there will have been marked improvement and a good prognosis.
Psychological harm/damage Up to £5,500 If the injury falls within this bracket, the level of the award will take into account how things like sleep are affected.
PTSD £56,180 to £94,470 Injuries in this bracket will have a permanent effect on the injured person and they will be unable to function the way they did before the trauma.
PTSD £21,730 to £56,180 While the effects of the injury will be significantly disabling for the forseeable future, there will be a better prognosis for some recovery with treatment.
PTSD £7,680 to £21,730 A recovery will largely be complete and any ongoing effects will not be grossly disabling.
PTSD Up to £7,680 Only minor symptoms will persist over a period of more than two years.

Call an adviser today for a clearer idea of how much your claim might be worth.

No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches At Warwick District Council

Legal representation can be expensive, which is why we provide a No Win No Fee service. This is also referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). It sets out the terms that need to be met before your solicitor requests payment.

With a CFA, you won’t be asked to pay anything upfront in order for your solicitor to start working on your claim. You also won’t be asked to pay them any ongoing fees or in the event that your claim is unsuccessful.

If your claim is successful, then your solicitor will deduct a “success fee” from your compensation. This is legally capped and will ensure that you get the majority of the settlement awarded to you.

If you’re interested in No Win No Fee agreements, why not speak to a member of our team today? One of our agents can chat with you about your claim and could connect you with a solicitor if it has a good chance of success.

Why Choose Our Specialist Team?

Our team of solicitors have years of experience handling claims. Furthermore, we will only take your case on if they feel it has a good chance of being successful.

Our panel of lawyers has years of expertise in handling many types of claims, and a specialist lawyer could offer you No Win No Fee representation. Our client reviews speak volumes about how our clients feel about our services.

Call today and find out how Legal Expert can help you with a claim for an avoidable data breach.

Talk To Us

If a data breach at Warwick District Council were to occur, we could make the process of claiming as stress-free as possible. We also provide an initial, no-obligation consultation which is free of charge. This first contact allows us to answer questions and assess your case.

If we find you have good cause to claim compensation, we can take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. Call today and speak to one of our experienced advisers on 0800 073 8804

If you prefer you can discuss your claim using our online chat at the bottom-right of this screen. You can get in touch with us by completing the online claims form.

Related Guides

We hope that this guide on what steps to take if a data breach at Warwick District Council were to happen has been of use to you. Below, we’ve included some links to other guides and websites that you might find useful:

External links to essential reading:


What happens if the council accidentally breached the UK GDPR?

An accidental data breach that is caused by the failings of a council could still be grounds for you to claim. But if the council did all they could to prevent the breach from happening, and it occurred anyway, you would not be able to claim.

Is sharing email addresses a breach of UK GDPR?

Revealing or sharing a personal email address that can be used to identify you is a breach of GDPR. For instance, someone might send an email where CC is selected instead of BCC, meaning that your personal data is exposed.

Is it illegal to breach the UK GDPR?

Organisations can be fined or investigated for a breach of UK GDPR.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information that directly or indirectly identifies a natural person.

What rights does the GDPR provide?

You have a number of individual rights under the UK GDPR. For instance, you have the right to rectify any incorrect information held on you.

Thank you for reading our guide on the steps you could take if a data breach at Warwick District Council occurred.

Written by Wood

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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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