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Leeds City Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Leeds City Council Data Breach

My Private Data Was Shared By The Local Council, Can I Claim?

In this guide, we explore what you could do following a Leeds City Council data breach. We look at the circumstances under which you could claim compensation whether the breach was accidental, criminal, or intentional.

Leeds City Council data breach claims guide

Leeds City Council data breach guide

Leeds City Council gathers the personal information of employees, residents of the area and others that they need to provide services to. Because it decides how and why data is collected and processed, it is considered a data controller. Therefore, the council should follow data protection law.

Councils that collect or process personal data should reasonably try to protect it. If the authority fails to take appropriate measures to keep personal information secure, it could lead to a data breach. Data breach compensation could be owed to those whose personal data was affected if they can prove they suffered psychologically or financially because of the breach.

How Can We Help?

Legal Expert could help secure you the level of compensation you could be owed. A member of our team will provide free legal advice. Furthermore, you will benefit from a free, initial consultation. This allows an experienced adviser to review your case. Additionally, you can ask questions and have an immediate response. Moreover, if you decide not to go forward with a claim, you would be free to do so. You’re under no obligation to proceed with our services.

However, if you have a favourable claim, one of our experienced data breach lawyers could represent you. This would be on a No Win No Fee basis. As such, you won’t pay any solicitor fees upfront, reducing any financial risk you may otherwise face.

If you have any questions, an adviser is here to take your call. You can reach a member of our team in the following ways:

  • Call 0800 073 8804 to benefit from a free consultation, and free legal advice
  • Fill out our compensation claims form by clicking here

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A Guide To Claims For A Leeds City Council Data Breach

Leeds City Council should follow data protection law when collecting personal data. Like all data controllers, the council should follow the 7 key principles of data protection law.

Data protection law is there to protect an individual’s personal information. Furthermore, data controllers should use the regulations to remain data protection compliant. They might, for example, employ data protection officers to help them do this.

The Definition Of A Data Controller

A data controller is an organisation, company, or entity that makes decisions about personal data processing activities. Data processors can be sometimes be used to process data on behalf of the data controller. They are companies or other legal entities.

The Definition Of A Data Subject

A data subject is the individual whose personal information a data controller holds.

A data controller should keep all the personal information they hold secure. This includes personal data that is held online and physically (such as in paper documents). In short, a data controller should do all they reasonably can to make sure a data breach does not happen.

Data Breach Claims Time Limit

You must respect the time limit to making a data breach claim. The time is 6 years for a privately-owned company. But the time limit is a lot shorter for a public body’s data breach e.g. a city council data breach. This is set at 1 year. Other factors may also impact the timeframe, so you should try to take action ASAP before it’s too late.

If you have evidence of a valid claim and would like to discuss a Leeds City Council data breach, a member of the Legal Expert team is here to take your call.

2021 Cyber Security Statistics

According to a recent survey covering 2021 that was carried out by the Government on cyber security breaches found:

39% of businesses in the United Kingdom (4 in 10), and 26% of charities reported having breaches in their cyber security in the last 12 months. Medium and larger businesses, as well as high-income charities, were targeted by cyber-criminals the most.

The survey found that fewer businesses are identifying attacks or breaches than they did in the previous year (2020). That said, data breaches remain at the same level in charities. The downturn in cyber-attacks is thought to be because businesses were not operating as they did prior to the pandemic.

You can find more information on the survey by clicking here.

What Is A Leeds City Council Data Breach?

A Leeds City Council data breach could happen for many reasons. It is when a breach in an organisation’s security occurs. This can be accidental, intentional, or it could be a criminal attack. The breach sees personal data being compromised or unlawfully accessed, or leaked. It could be lost, disclosed, destroyed, accessed or changed without authorisation or a lawful reason.

A council data breach could happen because:

  • There is an intentional breach in the authority’s security and personal data is stolen
  • Personal information is breached or leaked accidentally
  • Cybercriminals gain access to the authority’s system and access personal data
  • Files containing personal information are carelessly left open on a desk where unauthorised people could access it

The consequences of a council data breach could lead to:

  • Personal data is lost or destroyed
  • Personal data is altered in some way
  • Sensitive personal information is exposed
  • Unlawful access to personal data is gained

Sensitive personal information includes that which reveals a person’s ethnic origin, religion, biometric data and sexual orientation.

What Are The Consequences Of A Leeds City Council Data Breach?

The consequences of a council data breach can be devastating no matter how it happens. If personal data is compromised, it could have far-reaching consequences. The data subject may suffer financial loss or mental harm.

Councils reported over 700 data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2020 according to an investigation into council data breaches.

Source: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Councils-reported-700-data-breaches-last-year/52537

Leeds City Council should ensure the information they hold is kept secure. When a council fails to keep data secure and there is a breach, they could be fined by the ICO.

Does The GDPR Apply To Councils And Local Authorities?

A local authority, like all organisations that collect or process the personal information of people in the UK, should abide by data protection law. Organisations that collect personal information are called ‘data controllers’ and therefore, they must follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was enacted into UK law via the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018).

All data controllers must:

  • Firstly, have permission to collect, store, and process your personal data. (However, there are some situations where the data controller doesn’t need your consent to do this.)
  • Secondly, tell you why they need your personal data. Additionally, they should only use the data for its intended purpose.
  • Thirdly, follow data protection laws and regulations.
  • Finally, ensure the data held must be current and accurate.

Types Of Data Breaches Affecting Local Authorities

A council data breach can happen for a variety of reasons. The breach could be accidental, intentional, or criminal. Some examples are:

  • A breach due to poor cyber security which allows hackers access to a system and steal personal data.
  • Lost or stolen devices which do not contain encrypted data and which are therefore accessed.
  • People are sent the wrong emails by mistake. The emails contain someone else’s personal information that they’re not authorised to see.
  • Access to personal files without consent (or a lawful reason) happens.
  • The council leaks sensitive information to unauthorised persons by mistake.
  • Personal information is shared with other entities by social services without permission or a lawful reason.
  • Council employees accidentally share or leak personal data to people who aren;t authorised to view it

Do you have grounds to sue for data breach compensation? A member of our team can confirm if you have good cause to make a personal data breach claim.

Rent Statements And Tenancy Records Data Breaches

Leeds City Council is known to rent out social housing to tenants, including the vulnerable and elderly. Therefore, the council is what is known as a ‘social landlord’. A vulnerable, elderly tenant’s personal information could be compromised if there is a social housing data breach.

The type of data that could be compromised includes:

  • Names and addresses of tenants
  • Contact details such as telephone numbers
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Driving licence details, passport information, financial data
  • Date of birth, gender, and religious beliefs

The outcome could be devastating if you are affected by a council data breach. This includes financially and psychologically. If you need assistance and support, Legal Expert can help. A member of our team will listen to your case. One of our experienced advisers will provide a free initial consultation. They will review your claim and advise you on how best to proceed.

How Does The ICO Complaints Procedure Work?

The Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) role is to make sure that data protection laws are respected. That said, the authority also provides data protection guidance to organisations when needed. When the ICO finds that an organisation has not followed the law and rules, they have the power to issue hefty fines.

You could make a complaint to the ICO when you think that Leeds City Council failed to protect your data. However, you don’t have to file a complaint to the ICO if you want to make a data breach claim.

The procedure to follow when you think your data is breached is:

  • Firstly, file a complaint with Leeds City Council. You should make sure you address the complaint to the right department to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Secondly, within three months of the final, meaningful contact with the council about the data breach, you could contact the ICO.
  • Lastly, get in touch with a member of the Legal Expert team to benefit from a free consultation. The ICO can’t help you claim compensation for the mental and financial damage the data breach caused, but we could if you have evidence of a justifiable claim.

How Do You Take Legal Action Against A Local Authority?

You could contact a solicitor if your personal information was involved in a data breach and you suffered mental harm or financial loss because of it.

You could also contact Leeds City Council to voice your concerns. If you are still unhappy with their handling of the personal data breach then, within three months of ‘meaningful contact’ with the authority, you could get in touch with the ICO.

However, the ICO can’t help you claim compensation. If you are concerned about the situation, Legal Expert can help you. Just call a member of our team to benefit from free legal advice. We also provide an initial consultation which is free of charge. You are under no obligation to continue with your claim if you don’t want to.

The good news is that once we find you have a strong case against the authority, our experienced lawyers could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.

To start a personal data breach claim, just call the number at the top of the page. An adviser will review your case and let you know whether you have grounds to claim, and the level of data breach compensation you could be due.

What Damages For A Data Breach Could You Claim?

You could seek two different types of compensation as part of a data breach claim. These are:

  • Non-material damages
  • Material damages

Non-material Damages

Non-material damages compensate you for the mental harm (emotional distress) you endured because of a data breach.

Material Damages

Material damages reimburse any financial losses caused by the data breach.

It is not just the potential financial losses that could negatively impact your life, but also the psychological harm it causes you. When you suffer psychological harm because of a data breach, it could lead to stress, anxiety, depression or potentially post-traumatic stress disorder.

Compensation Calculator For A Leeds City Council Data Breach

In the case Vidal-Hall v Google [2015], which was heard in the Court of Appeal, there was an important ruling. Essentially, claimants can seek non-material damages even if they did not suffer any sort of financial loss. The amount of compensation could be valued as it is in personal injury law.

In short, you can now claim non-material damages for the mental harm a data breach caused you whether you suffered financial losses or not. Before this, you had to suffer financial loss to be able to claim for psychological harm.

We have included a table in our guide which provides information on the amount of compensation specific mental harm could attract.

The Type of Mental Harm Suffered Severity of the condition Details Potential compensation (non-material damages)
Psychological damage/mental harm Severe Long-term, permanent psychiatric harm which affects the claimants ability to lead a normal life £51,460 to £108,620
Psychological harm Moderately Severe Psychiatric harm which affects the claimant’s ability to function normally. The prognosis, however, is more positive that the bracket above £17,900 to £51,460
Psychological harm Moderate The victim suffers moderate psychological harm that impacts their ability to function as normally as they did to some extent. However, the claimant over time would make a full recovery with the right treatment and therapy £5,500 to £17,900
Psychological harm Less Severe than above Claimant’s life and well-being is negatively impacted Up to £5,500
PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe Claimants suffer permanent symptoms of PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder £56,180 to £94,470
PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Less Severe than above Claimant suffers PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder but the prognosis is more positive and they are expected to make a full recovery within 2 years £3,710 to £7,680

The amounts are based on the Judicial College Guidelines which courts, personal injury lawyers, and insurance providers refer to when they value injuries.

For a more accurate idea of the level of data breach compensation you could receive, please call a member of the Legal Expert team today.

No Win No Fee Compensation Claims: Leeds City Council Data Breach

A member of our team will thoroughly review your case before advising on how best to go forward. If you have grounds to sue for data breach compensation, one of our solicitors could represent you. They would do so on a No Win No Fee basis.

To clarify, a No Win No Fee lawyer will act on your behalf without asking you to pay upfront or ongoing solicitor fees. All you need to do is sign and return the Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal term for a No Win No Fee agreement) to the solicitor and they can start work on your claim. This is a legal contract that sets out the Terms and Conditions of the agreement. This includes the following terms:

  • You pay the ‘success fee’ to the No Win No Fee lawyer if you receive data breach compensation.
  • You don’t pay the ‘success fee‘ if you lose your claim.

The Advantages of Signing a No Win No Fee Agreement

There are many benefits to working with a No Win No Fee lawyer when you are claiming data breach compensation. This includes:

  • No hourly solicitor fees to pay
  • There are no ongoing solicitor payments as a case progresses
  • Lastly, success fees are legally capped. In short, you get to keep the higher portion of the compensation you are awarded.

A member of the Legal Expert team can let you know whether you could make a No Win No Fee data breach claim. When you get in touch, an experienced adviser will review your case, and provide free legal advice.

How To Find A Data Protection Breach Lawyer

You may not want to claim data breach compensation because of the financial risks involved. At Legal Expert, we provide an initial, no-obligation consultation which is free of charge. This allows an experienced member of the team to review your case. When we find you have a favourable claim for data breach compensation, we could connect you with one of our No Win No Fee lawyers.

Our team of lawyers have the expertise to handle your case with experience in handling data breach claims. You may think you have to use a solicitor local to you, but these days you can keep in touch with a lawyer in several ways. This includes:

  • By telephone
  • Exchanging emails
  • Talking to a solicitor in a video conference

For more information on how a member of the Legal Expert team can secure you the right level of data breach compensation, all you need do is call an expert adviser today.

Contact Us

For free legal advice and an initial consultation, please call a member of the Legal Expert team today. An experienced adviser will review your case before offering advice on how best to go forward. You can reach an adviser in several ways which includes:

  • Calling our claims helpline on 0800 073 8804
  • Using our Live Support online chat
  • Filling out the online claim form by clicking here

Useful Information

The seven principles of data protection law:

The Seven Key principles of data protection

Information on data breaches from the Information Commissioner’s Office website:

Personal Data Breaches

How the Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation:

Data Protection Act 2018

Below are internal links to Legal Expert guides.

A guide to claiming compensation for stress due to a data breach:

Guide to claiming compensation for stress

More information about the Blackbaud data breach:

The Blackbaud data breach

The Legal Expert guide to data breach compensation:

Data breach compensation 

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Local Authority Data Breach FAQs

What is the first thing you must do when a data breach is discovered?

Contact the organisation involved to voice your concerns. And, if you suffer financially or mentally due to the data breach, you may wish to seek legal advice.

What do you do if there is a data breach?

You could file a complaint with the organisation involved. If you’re not satisfied with their response, contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. You could also seek legal advice if you suffer mental harm or financial loss.

What counts as a data breach GDPR?

A data breach is a breach in security that leads to the accidental or unlawful loss, destruction, disclosure, access or alteration of personal data.

How do you inform clients of data breach?

You only have to inform anyone affected if the data breach risks their rights and freedoms. However, if it does risk these, you should tell them without undue delay.

Thank you for reading our guide on what you could do following a Leeds City Council data breach.

Written by Wood

Edited by Victorine

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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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