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Gloucester City Council Data Breach Claims Guide

When you provide Gloucester City Council with personal data, it has to be protected. This is a legal obligation that the council has. However, what would happen if a Gloucester City Council data breach took place? Would this mean that personal information had been exposed? Would you be told if personal data had been hacked? What steps are appropriate after a data breach? We hope to answer these questions and many more.

Gloucester City Council data breach claims guide

Gloucester City Council data breach claims guide

Something that you must keep in mind, is the uniqueness of your claim. Although there may be certain aspects it shares with other data breach claims, it won’t be entirely the same. What this means in relation to this guide, is that we might not have covered every question you have. However, we invite you to contact our claims team. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 073 8804. They can then answer all of your questions. At the same time, they can tell you how we can organise a solicitor to process your claim for you.

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A Guide To Dealing With A Gloucester City Council Data Breach

Welcome to our guide on steps that could be appropriate for you to take if Gloucester City Council data breach arose. By reading it, you will learn how a data breach could potentially happen, and how you could possibly claim for this in the right circumstances. This guide starts off with a graph that shows how non-cyber data breaches in local government are caused. Additionally, you will find an overview of what a data breach claim is. Included is a discussion of the types of data that must be safeguarded, as well as applicable laws.

The next part of this guide looks at the responsibilities of the council to protect your data. Additionally, a number of examples of how data breaches could potentially affect this data at a council are provided.

The guide then moves on to look at the process of dealing with a suspected data breach. You will learn how you can contact the council initially for information. And then how if appropriate, you can report a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office ICO. Furthermore, you will learn about the eligibility criteria that must be met for a data subject, those who have personal information collected on them, to be able to make a claim.

Moving on, we address the financial concerns related to making a compensation claim. You will learn about the reasons why you may need to claim damages following a data breach. Furthermore, an example compensation table has been provided. Lastly, the fee structure of a No Win No Fee agreement is discussed.

In the last few sections of this guide, we offer some more general advice on how to get your claim started. Lastly, we have added some useful links and a Q&A section.

Claims Deadlines

You are going to have to ensure that you begin your claim for a data breach within the right deadline. As long as you do this, it won’t matter how long the claim takes to resolve.

In general terms, the time limit for starting a data breach claim is 6-years. However, the fact that a council is a public body changes things. In this case, the claims time limit will likely be just 1-year.

Furthermore, there are other factors that could affect the claims time limit. To find out exactly which deadline will apply in your own case, please call and speak to our claims team today.

Cyber Security Trends In The UK

In this section, we want to show you a graph that shows some of the more common causes of local government data security incidents. The figures are for non-cyber security issues and are for the first financial quarter of 2021/22. We based this graph on some data that is published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This is the UK non-departmental public body responsible for data security.

Non cyber security issues Local Gov.

Non-cyber security issues Local Gov.

What Is A Claim For A Gloucester Council Data Breach?

Some types of data are protected by law in the UK. We will explain this further in the sections below. Your local council has to protect this data, this is a legal requirement. Therefore, a comprehensive framework for Gloucester City Council data protection and security must be implemented, that comply with UK laws. This is to prevent a potential Gloucester City Council data breach from occurring.

If a data breach does happen, your data could be exposed to unlawful processing or access from unauthorised parties. Furthermore, such access has the potential to lead to financial loss or mental hardship.

To hold a valid data breach claim against a data controller, those who handle personal data, you must prove how they were liable for the data exposure.  Furthermore, you would need to prove that the data controller failed in its obligation to keep your personal data safe. Otherwise, a claim would likely not be valid.

Data That Is Protected

UK law identifies two classifications of data that have to be safeguarded from unlawful use or access. These are personal data and special category data. The local council has to protect these. Below, we have explained what these two types of protected data are.

Special data – this is all information that can be used to learn something about you. For instance, your medical records or genetic data. Also, memberships of trade unions or political parties. Additionally, your race, religion, political beliefs, etc.

Personal data – this is all the information about you that can be used to identify you, or directly exploited in some way that could cause you harm. Obviously, your date of birth, name, postal address, etc. is going to be classed as personal data. But also things like the details of your financial accounts.

Laws That Are Applicable

Before Brexit, it used to be that the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applied in the UK. However, since we have now left the EU, we have our own data security and privacy regulations. These are the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK GDPR.

To prevent a Gloucester City Council data breach the council needs to take all proper actions to keep your personal or special data safe. To hold a valid data breach claim the onus is on you to prove that the data controller is liable for the breach.

Does The GDPR Cover Local Government Bodies?

Being a government-run organisation does not exempt a council from UK GDPR compliance. Generally, your local authority has to follow applicable data security and privacy regulations. Part of the compliance process, is adopting the seven core competencies of UK GDPR. When this is done, the risk of a council data breach is reduced. These competencies are detailed below.

  • The processing of data must be legal, transparent, and fair.
  • In all cases involving data processing, the data controller must assume full responsibility.
  • Your personal and special data must be secure at all times.
  • The data should be corrected if there are any errors.
  • Only store data that is necessary for its operations.
  • Purpose limitation
  • The storage of data should only last as long as it is needed.

Ways City Councils Could Breach Your Data Privacy

Data breaches can happen in many different ways. Physical files containing private data can be exposed and cyber security systems can be hacked to infiltrate personal information. For the most part, data breaches are accidental. However, some come about due to maliciousness. Below we have looked at different scenarios in which data has the potential to be breached.

  • Files stored digitally are hacked because online security systems had not been updated in a long while.
  • An email data breach caused your personal data to be sent to somebody as an attachment, who did not have permission to receive it.
  • A mistake is made when disposing of physical records that contain your data. Data security guidelines are not followed for disposal, leading to data exposure.

In each scenario, a data breach claim might be possible. However, it must be noted that you would need to prove that the data controller was liable for the breach.

Data Breaches Affecting Social Housing Rent Information

Social housing tenants, provide the council with quite a bit of personal data. To prevent a Gloucester City Council data breach it is vital that procedures and training are undertaken to prevent this information from being breached.

Here are examples of how information that is stored in a rental document could possibly be breached;

  • Tenancy documents are left in a public place where anybody can pick them up and read them.
  • Stored digital data, i.e. tenancy documents are visible on a computer screen that is open to public scrutiny.
  • A data breach over rent statements could happen if a member of the council staff talks about your rent payment history with friends or family outside of work.
  • A memory stick containing rental statements is lost and is not password encrypted.

It may not always be clear if you have a valid claim for data breach compensation. That is why we have a helpline that is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This is so you can get answered to any of your questions and have your case reviewed for free.

Notifications To The ICO Of GDPR Breaches

If you suspect a Gloucester City Council data breach you can undertake two procedures. Firstly talk to the local authority, and ask if a data breach has occurred. And if, so, has your data been exposed. If there has, you can find out whether your data was affected, and how badly.

Secondly, you can send a data breach notification to the ICO. Part of the remit of the ICO is to investigate data breach reports. However, you will need to report the data breach within three months of talking about the breach with the council. The ICO will seldom investigate an older report.

Steps To Take After Your Data Privacy Is Breached

Data breach claims can be complex. Generally, unless you are told by the data controller you may have no idea if your data has been breached. In most cases, if a data controller is aware of a breach that has affected the rights and freedoms of a data subject they must inform the ICO within 72 hours and also you without undue delay.

You may be unsure as to whether you want to claim with the help of a solicitor. Data breach solicitors will have been specially trained in these areas and will know how to make the most of your claim. Remember you cannot go back and ask for more once your claim is settled.

It is your data protection rights that give you the ability to try and make a claim for a council data breach. The steps we covered above might be helpful, but they are not mandatory. We can help you with this. Please call our claims team to learn how.

How Payouts May Be Calculated

Successful data breach claims could include damages for stress, trauma and mental harm, as well as financial loss. You can try to claim for mental harm even though you suffered no financial impact from the data breach. The precedent for this was set in the case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc 2015, which was heard in the Court of Appeal. The claimants received compensation for trauma, stress and mental harm but had not suffered monetary losses.

You can also try to claim for any money you lost because of the data breach. This might be because your data was used fraudulently, such as identity theft, and you now face unsanctioned debts. Also, you may be able to claim back any direct costs you incurred due to the claims process itself.

How Would You Calculate Damages Should A Gloucester City Council Data Breach Occur?

Compensation for successful data breach claims comes in two parts. First of all, the table below shows compensation ranges for different levels of mental harm. You can use this to get an idea of the value of your suffering. The table was created using amount brackets from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is often used when valuing personal injury claims. It contains a list of injuries and brackets amounts that have been compiled from past court settlement cases.

Secondly, you can try using our compensation calculator online to find out roughly how much compensation you might get if you win your claim.

Level of Mental Damage Mental Issue Likely Damages More Data
Less severe Psychiatric harm Up to £5,500 In this classification, psychological harm is less severe. Such harm usually results from a traumatic experience. As a result of the psychological problems, your quality of life might be mildly diminished. However, over time, the quality of life will return to normal.
Severe Psychiatric harm £51,460 – £108,620 This classification refers to severe psychological injuries. Psychological injuries are often brought on by multiple highly traumatic events. Dealing with mental health issues almost certainly negatively affects your life. Mental health problems may not go away once therapy has concluded.
Moderately severe Psychiatric harm £17,900 – £51,460 A moderately severe case of psychological harm. There is a possibility that the psychological injury was caused by a traumatic experience. In such a case, your life quality would be severely impacted. Your mental health would still be affected, likely even after you received therapy.

No Win No Fee Claims For A Gloucester City Council Data Breach

Your data breach claim may be handled by a lawyer using a Conditional Fee Agreement CFA if we are able to arrange that. You will not be charged an upfront fee to begin your claim for a data breach. It is likely that your lawyer will receive no fee until after your claim has been won. Should your claim fail, there is no fee to pay.

You will be asked to pay a success fee to your solicitor if your claim is successful. These are modest charges and are legally limited. Also, it can be collected directly from the compensation claim your lawyer has been sent on your behalf. Talk to one of our expert advisors if you would like more information about filing a No Win No Fee data breach claim. They will be able to tell you more about the process of making a claim, and what charges you might face. Call our team any time, day or night, 365 days a year. Our contact information can be found at the bottom of this page.

Choosing A Solicitor To Claim For A Breach Of Data Protection

Finding a lawyer experienced in data breach claims, no matter where they are located, is a better option. We, for instance, have access to claims lawyers with extensive experience in data breach-related claims. There is a good chance that one of them can assist you in getting the compensation you may be entitled to. You can talk to one of our advisors about how to get started on your claim as soon as possible.

Talking To An Expert

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on procedures to take if a Gloucester City Council data breach occurred. Reach out to our claims team using the information below. An expert advisor will talk through your claim with you. Furthermore, they will evaluate it and let you know whether it is potentially valid or not. They can then arrange for one of our data breach claim lawyers to begin processing it for you. You won’t have to pay anything upfront, as this will likely be done under a No Win No Fee agreement.

Telephone: 0800 073 8804

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Related Articles

Also, these other websites contain relevant information.

You can also read through these other guides on data breaches.

Questions And Answers

Here are answers to some of the questions that you might have about making a data breach claim.

What are the impacts of a data breach on an organisation?

Following a data breach, the ICO may take punitive action against the organisation.

What is the financial impact of a data breach?

You could lose out because your identity is stolen and your financial accounts are accessed. For example, your credit cards could be used to make purchases. Additionally, your identity could be used to take out new cash loans or hire high ticket price items like cars, that are never returned.

What is a data leak and its impact?

A data leak would occur when some of your personal or special data is accidentally or maliciously made available to the public.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on procedures to take if a Gloucester City Council data breach occurred. If you need more information please do not hesitate to contact our team of data breach specialists.

Guide 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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