Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach – Can I Claim?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 30th June 2023. There are different pieces of data protection law that place a responsibility on organisations to protect your personal data. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are in place to help organisations understand the steps they can take to prevent your data from being breached. If you or your child have been affected by a social services UK GDPR data breach, you may be able to claim. We will explore the criteria your claim must meet in order to do so throughout this guide.

Social services UK GDPR data breach

Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach – Can I Claim Compensation?

Additionally, we will explore the responsibilities social services has as a data controller and how a data breach could occur if they fail to uphold their responsibility. A data controller sets the purpose for processing and whilst they can also process the data themselves, they may outsource this to a data processor who acts on behalf of the controller. Each must adhere to data protection law. 

A data breach is a security incident involving the confidentiality, availability and integrity of your personal data being affected. They can occur in different ways, such as through human error which could involve sending a letter to the wrong postage address or an email to the wrong email address. We will also discuss the impact it could have as well as how much data breach compensation you could be owed in the event of a successful claim. 

You can speak directly with a member of our team if you have any other questions. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer you free legal advice. To get in touch: 

Select A Section

  1. How Does The UK GDPR Apply To Social Services?
  2. What Impact Could The Breach Have On A Child?
  3. Could You Claim For A Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach?
  4. Evidence To Support A Claim For A Social Services Data Breach
  5. Settlements For A UK GDPR Data Breach
  6. Call For Advice If Affected By A Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach

How Does The UK GDPR Apply To Social Services?

There are different types of personal data, which is information that can be used to identify you, including your name, address and telephone number.

There are also other types of personal data that require extra protection, such as special category data which can include health data and information relating to your racial or ethnic origin.

Personal data relating to someone’s health could include child abuse data. It provides details on whether a data subject has been the subject of or put at risk of child abuse. For this purpose, child abuse can refer to physical injury, physical and emotional neglect, ill treatment and sexual abuse involving a person under the age of 18.

As such, the UK GDPR does apply to social services. However, there are certain exemptions that may apply when social services are asked to share information relating to this type of data, such as when a subject access request is made.

Please continue reading to learn when a claim could be made after a social services UK GDPR data breach.

Social Care Data Breach Statistics

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is a public body that upholds the rights and responsibilities of a data subject. They also collate reports made to them by organisations into helpful data breach statistics.

As per the data security incident trends, there were:

  • 743 cyber and non-cyber incidents in the Social Care sector between Quarter 2 of 2019 and Quarter 2 of 2022.
  • 6,035 cyber and non-cyber incidents in the Health sector between Quarter 2 of 2019 and Quarter 2 of 2022.

What Impact Could The Breach Have On A Child?

A social services UK GDPR data breach could have significant emotional effects on a child and their family. For example, stress, anxiety and distress could be caused to the child if information relating to abuse they have suffered is breached.

Alternatively, if a family is relocated due to domestic abuse and their new address is revealed to the perpetrator in a breach, this could have a psychological impact on the parent.

Moreover, a data breach could impact them financially. For example, they may need to switch jobs, find a new home and take time off work due to the stress the breach has caused them or their child. 

In some cases, compensation could be sought following a breach of data protection. If a claim succeeds, consideration will be given to the way in which the breach has affected the person.

For more information on when a claim could be made following a social services data breach, get in touch using the details above.

Could You Claim For A Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach?

Article 82 of the UK GDPR sets out your right to seek data breach compensation. However, not all instances of a social services UK GDPR data breach will form the basis of a valid claim. You must prove that:

  • A data controller or processor didn’t adhere to data protection law.
  • Their failings led to a breach of your personal data.
  • You experienced monetary loss or mental harm as a result.

Additionally, you must ensure you start your claim within the relevant time limits. Generally, you have 6 years to start a personal data breach claim. Alternatively, if your claim is against a public body, this is reduced to 1 year.

The affected party generally has 1 year to begin their claim if they are claiming against a public body. Furthermore, they have 6 years to claim when claiming against a non-public body. 

When claiming compensation on behalf of a child, you would need to apply to the courts to act as a litigation friend to make the claim on their behalf.

For more details on the data breach claims process, do not hesitate to get in touch with an advisor from our team. 

Evidence To Support A Claim For A Social Services Data Breach

When you make a claim for a social services data breach that involved your personal data, you are expected to be able to provide evidence. Evidence can benefit your claim in many ways, and is essential in constructing a strong claim. Some examples of the evidence you could present in your claim include:

  • Correspondence with the ICO: This could be the result of an investigation or a response to a complaint made regarding the breach.
  • Medical records: Your medical records can demonstrate how the breach has affected your mental health.
  • Bank statements: Likewise, your bank statements, credit report, or other financial documents can help evidence how the breach has affected you financially.
  • Letter of notification: You may have received a letter or email of notification from the organisation at fault. If this states how the breach occurred or what data was affected, it could be used as evidence.

If you choose to work with a solicitor on your claim for harm caused by a social services data protection breach, they could help you gather the right evidence for your claim. To learn more about how one of our solicitors could help you, contact our team today.

Settlements For A UK GDPR Data Breach

The compensation you could receive for a successful social services UK GDPR data breach claim may comprise of two heads of claim. 

Firstly, you can receive compensation for non-material damage which involves any harm caused to your mental health.

We have put together a table of compensation figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Legal professionals can use this document, which contains guideline compensation amounts for different types of harm, to assist them when they value how much you could be owed for the non-material damage you suffered. 

However, these figures are not guaranteed. Due to each data breach claim being unique, they should only be used as a rough guide. 

Injury SeverityCompensation BracketDetails
Psychiatric damageSevere£54,830 to £115,730Several factors are accounted for when deciding the appropriate award such as how the person's ability to cope with different areas of their life has been affected. Cases in this bracket will have a very poor prognosis.
Psychiatric damageModerately Severe£19,070 to £54,830The person has significant issues with different areas of their life, including their relationships and work. There is a better prognosis though.
Psychiatric damageModerate£5,860 to £19,070The prognosis of cases in this bracket is good and the person will have shown a significant improvement despite still being affected in different ways.
Psychiatric damageLess Severe£1,540 to £5,860The award for this bracket is influenced by how badly the person is affected and how long they were affected for.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Severe £59,860 to £100,670Every area of the person's life will be affected in a bad way. The impact will be permanent and the person won't be able to function as they did before the trauma.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Moderately Severe£23,150 to £59,860A more positive prognosis and recovery is achieved with the aid of a medical professional.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Moderate£8,180 to £23,150Despite a significant recovery being made, there will still be some issues but they aren't majorly disabling.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Less Severe£3,950 to £8,180An almost full recovery has been made within 1-2 years.

Moreover, you may be awarded compensation for material damage which involves any financial losses incurred due to the personal data breach. You should ensure you keep hold of documents that show any monetary losses you have experienced, such as bank statements.

If you would like to find out how much compensation you could be owed, please speak with an advisor from our team. 

Call For Advice If Affected By A Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach

Entering into a No Win No Fee agreement can be very beneficial for claimants. This is because you will typically not have to pay any fees for the services your solicitor provides upfront or while your claim is ongoing. 

Our data breach solicitors can offer you a type of No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). If you are represented on this basis, you generally won’t need to pay for the work your solicitor has done if your claim is not successful.

If your claim is a success, your solicitor can take a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. This is subject to a legal cap.

To learn whether a solicitor could represent your potential social services UK GDPR data breach claim on this basis, get in touch with our team. You can reach them by:

Government And Local Authority Data Breach Claims

Below, we have provided some of our other data breach guides.

Additionally, here are some other external resources that you may benefit from.

Thank you for reading this guide on when you could make a social services UK GDPR data breach claim. If you need any other information, please get in touch using the details provided above.

Written by Pascal

Edited by Mitchell

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