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Data Breaches At Sefton Council Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

My Council Breached The GDPR, What Should I Do?

This guide explores the concept of data breaches at Sefton Council.

You may be able to make a data breach claim if you suffered mental or financial issues because of a data breach caused by a council’s failings.

The General Data Protection Act (GDPR) was created in the EU that came into power in 2018. It was enacted into UK law by the Data Protection Act 2018. This Act sits with the UK GDPR.

Sefton Council data breach claims guide

Sefton Council data breach claims guide

These laws introduced new regulations to keep personal data more protected and secure. Local authorities and councils must follow the rules in the UK GDPR when collecting or processing personal data. Otherwise, they can be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO is an independent authority that enforces data protection laws in the UK.

You can have a chat with our team of advisers to receive free legal advice about your case. They’re available 24/7. If you have evidence of a valid claim, they can connect you with our solicitors to help you gain the compensation you deserve.

You can get in touch with our friendly team of advisers through any of the methods below.

  • Call on 0800 073 8804 to chat with an adviser today.
  • Fill in our online claims form to receive a response whenever is best for you.
  • Chat with one of our advisers via our live chat pop-up box for a reply immediately.

Select A Section

  1. A Guide On Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council
  2. Statistics On Breaches Of Data Protection
  3. What Are Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council?
  4. Local Authority And Council GDPR Exceptions
  5. What’s The Biggest Cause Of Data Breaches?
  6. How Data Protection Rules Affect Tenants And Landlords
  7. What Data Breaches Need To Be Reported And To Who?
  8. How To Handle Breaches Of Data Protection By Local Authorities
  9. What Compensation Is Paid For A Data Protection Breach?
  10. Calculate How Much Compensation For A Personal Data Breach At Sefton Council You Could Claim
  11. No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council
  12. Should I Find A Lawyer In My Local Area?
  13. Talk To Us
  14. Find Further Articles On This Topic
  15. Examples Of Frequently Asked Questions

A Guide On Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council

Firstly, this article will provide some data breach UK statistics and discuss what a claim for a council data breach is. Next, there’ll be a section exploring whether local councils and authorities are exempt from the UK GDPR.

Following on from this, there will be an exploration of how data protection rules affect tenants and landlords. Then, the article will talk about how to report a data breach. There will also be a section about how to handle breaches of data protection by local authorities.

In addition, there’ll be a section looking at what a No Win No Fee agreement is and how our lawyers work on this basis.

The article will also advise you on how to find a data breach lawyer who fits your needs. Additionally, the guide provides some further articles to ensure you have as much information as possible about this topic.

What Is A Valid Claim?

Before you continue, it’s important to point out what a valid council data breach claim would involve:

  • First, a council’s positive wrongful conduct would need to cause the data breach. For example, they may have neglected to put cybersecurity measures in place, which left personal information vulnerable to a cyberattack.
  • Secondly, the data breach must have involved your personal information.
  • And thirdly, you would have suffered financial loss or psychological harm as a result.

Statistics On Breaches Of Data Protection

The below table includes statistics taken from the ICO. (The ICO is an independent authority that enforces data protection laws.) These statistics show some single fines issued to local councils by the ICO for various types of data breaches between 2011 and 2012.

As you can see, Midlothian Council were fined the highest amount in this particular instance (£140,000). On the other hand, North Somerset Council were fined the smallest amount (£60,000).

Data breaches at Sefton council

What Are Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council? 

If a local council or authority makes a mistake in handling your data, it can result in a data breach. This is why it’s so important for councils to follow the UK GDPR to keep personal data as safe as possible.

A data breach occurs when personal data is unlawfully destroyed, lost, accessed, changed or disclosed either by mistake or on purpose.

Here are the 7 key principles set out by the UK GDPR that local councils should follow:

  1. Transparency, fairness and lawfulness: The personal data must be processed in a transparent, lawful and fair way.
  2. Accountability: The council must take responsibility for keeping personal data safe and complying with the UK GDPR.
  3. Data minimisation: Data must be processed in a necessary and relevant way. Only the personal data that’s required to fulfill the purposes of the task should be used.
  4. Accuracy: The data must also be kept up to date so it’s correct and current.
  5. Integrity and confidentiality: Personal data must be kept safe when processing. There must be protection against unlawful exposure.
  6. Storage limitation: The data must only be stored as long as is necessary.
  7. Purpose limitation: Personal data should only be processed for legitimate, valid reasons.

If you’d like more information about what claims for data breaches are, our team of advisers would be happy to help. They’re available 24 hours a day to offer free legal advice and assess whether you may be able to make a data breach claim.

Local Authority And Council GDPR Exceptions

All local councils and authorities must follow the UK GDPR to keep personal information safe. This means they’re only able to share your personal data if you give consent or there is another lawful basis.

Below are some of the lawful reasons councils may be able to share your data without your consent.

  • Contract: They need to share your personal information in order to fulfill a contract with you.
  • Legal Obligation: They need to comply with the law. For example, as an employer, a council would share employee salary details with the HMRC.
  • Vital interests: Sharing your personal data without your consent would save your life or someone else’s. They may share your address with the emergency services if you’re in danger, for example.
  • Public task: Using your personal data is in the public interest.
  • Legitimate interests: The council has legitimate business interests.

The UK GDPR surrounds us every day, often without us even noticing it. An example of this is when you’re asked to tick a box on a website to consent to tracking cookies being used. If the UK GDPR didn’t exist, websites would be able to use tracking cookies without your consent.

If you’d like to discuss the exceptions to the local authority or council sharing your data, you can contact our team of advisers. They’re available every day to help you.

What’s The Biggest Cause Of Data Breaches?

For businesses and charities, phishing is the most common cause of cyber security breaches. Below are some examples of how a council data protection breach can occur.

  • Failure to update cybersecurity: Regularly updating cybersecurity is helpful when protecting data. A failure to do this to a reasonable extent could cause online systems to become vulnerable to modern cyberattacks.
  • Letter sent to the incorrect address: The Council should ensure they keep your personal information up to date and correct so they don’t send your data to the wrong person. If a letter containing personal information is sent to the wrong address, despite the council having the correct one on file, someone else could open the letter and access the personal information even though they don’t have a lawful reason to.
  • Social services documents being exposed: This could cause serious problems among families and relationships. Social services documents can be very sensitive.

Our team of advisers would be happy to discuss your situation with you to assess whether you may be able to make a data breach claim. If your case is valid, they can connect you with one of our data breach lawyers to begin working on your claim.

Though this guide on what could happen after data breaches at Sefton Council aims to help, you can contact us if you need anything more.

How Data Protection Rules Affect Tenants And Landlords

Here are examples of what could happen due to a tenancy documents data breach:

  • Tenancy audit document scans: A passport includes information to prove someone’s personal identity. If someone gains access to this, they could act as that person and, potentially in combination with other personal data, steal from them. Someone committing crimes under your name can be worrying and dangerous.
  • Tenancy documentation: The local council is responsible for keeping tenancy documentation safe. A tenancy document can have someone’s name, address, and other personal information on it. Therefore, a breach of tenancy documents could result in the victim receiving unwanted letters from companies trying to sell products or services.
  • Rent statements: A rent statement often includes someone’s name, address, rent costs, the amount of rent paid and what’s left to pay. If this is sent to the wrong address, despite the correct one being on file, the recipient could access and share the personal information without a lawful basis.

Have you been a victim of a data breach caused by a council’s positive wrongful conduct? Our team of friendly advisers would be happy to learn more about your situation and discuss how they can help.

What Data Breaches Need To Be Reported And To Who?

You’re not under any obligation to report data breaches to the ICO. (The ICO is an independent body that enforces data protection laws.) However, you can report a data breach to it under certain circumstances.

The ICO can investigate and help discover how the data breach happened and whether it was due to a council’s positive wrongful conduct. Furthermore, you can use the ICO’s findings as evidence if you decide to make a data breach claim.

It is, however, a recommendation for you to report the data breach to the council responsible before the ICO.

If the response from the council isn’t satisfactory, you can proceed with reporting the data breach to the ICO. Data breaches should be reported to the ICO within 3 months of the last meaningful conversation between yourself and the local council. That’s because waiting longer than 3 months can impact the ICO’s decisions.

The ICO can’t award compensation. However, it can help you receive compensation in a data breach claim if you use the findings as evidence.

If you’d like to go forward with reporting a council data breach to the ICO, you can report a breach online. Our team of advisers is always available to offer you advice regarding how and when you can do this.

How To Handle Breaches Of Data Protection By Local Authorities

If you’d like to learn more about how to handle a council data protection breach, you can contact our team of advisers. They’d be happy to have a chat with you and learn more about your situation. If you have a valid claim, they can connect you to one of our expert lawyers to begin working on your data breach claim.

We should note that it’s not necessary to use the services of a solicitor to help you claim. However, we believe that it is beneficial to have such legal guidance in a claim against a council.

Before proceeding with your claim, your solicitor may recommend you raise your concerns to the council or the ICO first. This is likely to happen if your claim would benefit from more information and how the data breach occurred and who’s at fault.

Your lawyer can assess how much compensation you may be eligible for using their expertise. You can contact our team of advisers for free legal advice.

What Compensation Is Paid For A Data Protection Breach?

Data breach compensation can consist of two types of damages (non-material and material damages). This means you can claim compensation for either financial loss or psychological distress, or both.

Material damages compensate for any financial impact the data breach causes. For example, you could have suffered a credit card data breach and have money stolen from your bank account by a criminal. In this case, material damages could compensate you for this financial loss.

Moreover, this scenario could result in a long-term financial impact on your life too.

Non-material damages award compensation for the psychological impact the data breach has had on you. For example, you may suffer short-term effects such as stress after a data breach.

Moreover, you could suffer long-term psychological issues. For example, you may suffer from prolonged stress or anxiety.

Proving Damages

You can prove material damages through financial documents like bank statements or credit scores.

You can prove non-material damages by a medical assessment as part of the claims process. An independent medical professional would assess your injuries and create a report. The report can be used to prove:

  • Your psychological injuries were caused or worsened by the data breach.
  • The severity of your injuries.

A solicitor could also use the report to help them value your injuries.

If you’d like to receive more information about material and non-material damages, you can have a chat with one of our advisers. They’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and learn more about your situation.

Calculate How Much Compensation For A Personal Data Breach At Sefton Council You Could Claim

You may find a compensation calculator in some data breach compensation claims guides. However, while these calculators can be helpful, we find that the figures produced might not be fully accurate as each data breach case is different and unique.

Instead, we’ve included a compensation table below. This includes estimated compensation figures for psychological injuries. These figures have been taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Solicitors use these guidelines to help them when valuing injuries.

Injury:Severity:Notes:Compensation:
Psychiatric Damage GenerallySevereYou would suffer from long-term psychological effects. Everyday aspects of their life (such as work, social life, and relationships) will be effected and prognosis will be poor.£51,460 to £108,620
Psychiatric Damage GenerallyModerately SevereYou're unlikely to be able to live your life the same way you did before; however, your prognosis is better than the category above.£17,900 to £51,460
Psychiatric Damage GenerallyLess SevereCompensation for this category is based on how long the damage lasts, how everyday life is affected and how sleep is affected.Up to £5,500
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder SevereYour social life and work will have been significantly affected and the prospect of a full recovery will be poor.£56,180 to £94,470
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderately SevereYour everyday life will be significantly affected for a long period of time. However, there is a high chance of recovery if you seek help from a professional. Up to £7,680

Vida-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] was a landmark case that altered the way that compensation for data breach claims is awarded. Before this case, claimants could only receive compensation for the psychological impact of a data breach if they had also suffered a financial loss due to it.

However, the Court of Appeal acknowledged that victims of data breaches could claim compensation for suffering psychological harm, even if no financial loss occurred.

Compensation for psychological harm would be valued as it is for personal injury claims.

No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches At Sefton Council

A No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement, is a contract between you and your lawyer. There’s a range of benefits to this type of agreement. This contract states that you won’t have to pay the fees your solicitor has accrued if your case fails.

If your case loses, you don’t pay any of your lawyer’s fees. If your case wins, your layer will deduct a legally capped percentage from the compensation. However, you will still receive the majority of the awarded compensation.

Additionally, you wouldn’t need to pay any upfront solicitor fees or ongoing ones during the claim.

Our solicitors are happy to work on a No Win No Fee basis with claimants. You can get in touch with our friendly team of advisers today to discuss the benefits of this agreement and discuss more about your situation.

If you have a valid claim, they can connect you with one of our lawyers to discuss making a No Win No Fee agreement.

Should I Find A Lawyer In My Local Area?

You don’t have to stick to your local area when searching for a data breach lawyer who best suits your needs. You can work with any of our lawyers across the country, even if you don’t live close to them.

It’s important to find a lawyer who you can trust and who is empathetic and experienced. You can read some of our reviews here:

  • ‘The team were lovely to work with.’ – Kate, 2021
  • ‘Fantastic service.’ – Sheree, 2019

Talk To Us

Our team of advisers is available all day and night to offer you expert legal advice about your situation.

You can get in touch with our advisers via any of the methods below.

  • Telephone 0800 073 8804 to chat with an adviser today.
  • Our live chat pop-up box is where you can receive an instant response.
  • Our online claims form is where you can ask us to contact you at a time suited to you.

Find Further Articles On This Topic

University Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide: Have you suffered due to a university data breach? Our article explores how you may be able to receive compensation.

Hotel Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide: If you’ve been a victim of a hotel data breach, our guide discusses how you could be able to make a data breach claim.

Employer Personal Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide: Have you experienced an employer personal data breach? Our guide looks at how you may be able to pursue a data breach compensation claim.

Action We’ve Taken: This link looks at what action the ICO has taken to ensure authorities and councils follow the UK GDPR to keep personal data safe.

For Organisations: This ICO article explains what regulations organisations must follow in order to comply with the UK GDPR.

Your Data Matters: You can find out more about your rights to your personal information being protected and kept safe.

Examples Of Frequently Asked Questions

How do councils detect personal data breaches?

If there’s a local authority or council data breach, the council could detect the breach in different ways. For example, victims of the data breach may flag it to the council. Alternatively, if an employee error caused the data breach, the employee may flag it to the relevant party within the council.

How do you identify that your data privacy has been breached?

The local council will inform you of a data breach if they cause it and it risks your rights and freedoms.

What residents’ data do councils hold?

The local council holds residents’ personal data including names, addresses and potentially payment information.

Thank you for reading our article about what you could do after potential data breaches at Sefton Council.

Written by Naylor

Edited by Victorine

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