Southampton City Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide
A data breach can ruin your life. When cybercriminals are able to access personal information about you, they can sell it on the internet for use in fraud. The results to you can range from anything from unwanted cold calls and spam emails to complete theft of your identity. Whilst new laws exist to protect the integrity of our personal information when in the possession of others, errors and hacks still happen. Any company or organisation can be at fault and in this article we look at what you can do if a Southampton City Council data breach impacted you.
Southampton City Council has a responsibility to protect the data they hold about you. If you are able to prove that shortcomings on their part led to that data being exposed in a way that caused you harm to your mental health or finances, they might owe you compensation. Our team can explain how to get started on this today by:
- Calling and speaking to our team on 0800 073 8804
- Or perhaps you would prefer to email or write to us at Legal Expert
- Alternatively, you can use the ‘live support’ option at the bottom right of this screen
We’re available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to help.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claims For Southampton City Council Data Breaches
- Cyber Security Facts And Figures
- What Is A Claim For A Southampton City Council Data Breach?
- Does The Data Protection Act And GDPR Apply To The City Council?
- Ways A City Could Could Breach Your Data Privacy
- Breaches Of Tenants Data Privacy
- Reporting Data Breaches By A City Council
- The Data Breach Claims Process
- What Damages Could My Payout Include?
- Calculating Southampton City Council Data Breach Payouts
- Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Southampton City Council Data Breach
- Could Our Data Protection Breach Team Help You?
- Contact Our Data Breach Claims Team
- Useful Information
- FAQs About Data Breach Claims
A claim against Southampton City Council for a data breach requires evidence that there was positive wrongful conduct on the part of the defendant. In other words, the foundation of your claim must be able to prove that something Southampton City Council did or did not do directly permitted the data breach that harmed you. Once you can demonstrate this, they could be liable for all the financial and emotional costs attached to what you’ve been through.
A data breach can be hugely destructive for the person it affects. Because of this the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced by the European Union to include new laws that more closely monitor the way our personal information is collected and used on and offline. This was then enacted into UK law through the Data Protection Act 2018.
The GDPR now applies to every business, organisation and agency that collects, stores or shares the personal details of EU citizens. A powerful non-governmental agency called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the authority to investigate, regulate and penalise any agency found to be in breach of these laws.
Consumers now have much greater protection and say over the information that is kept about them. You can complain to the ICO who can investigate data breach incidents. And you can also sue the responsible organisation privately.
We explain how a No Win No Fee service can help you to obtain a data breach compensation payout in much the same way as a personal injury case. Therefore, with the right help and evidence, it could be possible for you to be reimbursed by Southampton City Council for all the damage their data error cost you.
How prevalent is the problem of data breaches amongst businesses in the UK? Some statistics demonstrate:
As you can see, large businesses are targeted more than others. This, no doubt, is because they hold more valuable data. What’s surprising to see is a significant jump in the number of charitable organisations that have been targeted—an increase of 21% between 2018 and 2020.
For more on these figures, see the UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey.
Can you prove that a Southampton City Council data breach cost you money or damaged your mental health? If so, you could be owed compensation if it can also be shown that the breach was the fault of the organisation.
A No Win No Fee service could help you build a case with the right evidence and receive a payout that starts to repair the damage caused. A data breach is a serious issue and companies must be seen to be doing all they can to update cyber and IT security and train their staff properly. Whilst external hacks are a reality, by far the majority of data issues are a case of human or staff error.
There can be consequences for these errors. After a change in the law following a case called Vidal-Hall v Google, it was recognised that psychological injuries could be a consequence of a data breach just as much as financial loss. Now, a No Win No Fee lawyer is able to calculate payouts based on proof of medical injury in its own right. This means with the right independent medical evidence, you could be owed compensation for all the pain and suffering the data breach provoked.
The ICO has simplified compliance rules for the correct handling of data into 7 core principles. This is in recognition of the complexity involved in establishing these new practices and to make it as easy as possible for organisations both large and small to adopt them in their policies and procedures.
With this in mind, a general synopsis of them is as follows:
- Lawful, fair and obvious usage of data
- There are limits to the reasons behind collecting that data
- Suitable restrictions on the actual amount of data collected
- Accuracy and regular updating of data is required
- Storage time limits (including the proper disposal of the data)
- Integrity and confidentiality at all levels of use
- Accountability – the concept that every person involved in the data use process clearly understands the expectations of GDPR and practices them.
Consent is also a key requirement and before you go any further with your claim against Southampton City Council, it can be wise to check that you did not actually agree to your data being used in a specific way.
Cookies and other consent options are commonplace now. When being asked to give your permission, the consent option should be clear and separate from the main text of the document or email concerned to give you the clearest options.
Our consent may relate to different types of data users. They are:
- Controllers – are the organisation that originally requested the data. In many cases with local authorities, it’s a legal requirement to provide them with this information
- Processors – are the actual users of the data. This can be an inside or outside agency who store, update and share the information they hold.
- Third parties – are the recipients of data. Third parties can be agencies, marketing groups or advertisers. Explicit requests to share your data are not always required with these agencies.
Exemptions to GDPR law do exist. If information is needed by the police, the law courts or in matters of national security, data can be used without permission, but there are still clearly prescribed ways to ask for information in this way with a subject access request.
If you have evidence that shows that Southampton City Council accessed your personal details in a way that was not fair to you, speak to our team.
It’s important to note some typical ways that a local authority might breach the data laws and either accidentally or deliberately leak information about you in a dangerous way:
- Staff could discuss you in a way that breaches privacy or confidentiality
- Lost laptops, smartphones or USB memory hardware that should have been encrypted
- Unlocked filing cabinets and paperwork left laying around for others to see
- Inclusion of sensitive information on social media posts without permission
- Badly transported or stored paper data
- Poor IT defences that allow an external hack
- Meetings held in a non-discrete manner
- Failure to properly liaise with other departments
- Any form of data divulging that does not properly consider the privacy requirements
Many of these scenarios could happen as a result of innocent mistakes or lack of awareness. The consequences to the victim of the data breach can ruin their lives, so this is no defence. Southampton City Council data breaches can reveal so much about a person that it directly imperils their whole way of life. Abiding by the likes of GDPR is the least these companies can do given the legal necessity they have for gathering our data.
Furthermore, your data may be breached as an employee of a local authority. As your employer, did the council involved do their utmost to ensure that your personal details, salary information or contracts were private? Discuss your concerns with us.
Local authorities need to retain a great deal of information about their tenants and service users. Much of this information is required by law to be given and as such, places the burden of proper data handling on them.
To live or work in their borough, pay rent and council tax or function as a family you might be needed to provide any or all of the following:
- Name and address
- Contact details, phone numbers
- Email addresses
- National insurance and NHS numbers
- Housing benefits and pension details
- Bank details, account numbers, sort codes
- Rent statements and arrears information
- Certain passwords, properly redacted attachments or documents
- Council tax data
- Immigration status
- Marital status and details about any dependents
- Details of neighbour disputes or criminal investigations
- Criminal records
- Planning requests and budget tenders
- Sensitive children’s data
- Adoption statuses
- Visual or biometric details (photos and passwords) in some cases such as staff access to the building.
A committed and vigilant approach to data security is the only way to achieve the safe handling of all this information.
Local authorities such as Southampton City Council have a responsibility to inform the ICO of a data breach within 72 hours. As an impacted data breach subject, they should inform you as soon as possible. It can be possible that the council is unaware of the breach themselves and may not know anything is wrong until you raise a complaint directly with them.
After you have complained directly to them, you should receive a response within a period of no later than 3 months. After this time, you can ask the ICO to investigate if the response you receive is unsatisfactory.
It’s essential to note that the ICO may or may not decide to look into your case. Furthermore, they are not an organisation that can pay you compensation, but their involvement in your case gives it much credibility if you decide to seek data breach compensation.
Speak to our team to decide on the best course of action.
Once you have decided to start a claim following a Southampton City Council data breach, the following point by point guide can help as a formula to follow to give your case its best chance of success:
- Firstly, complain in writing to the local authority about the breach
- Contact the ICO to raise a complaint if you receive no adequate response from the local authority (wait no later than 3 months)
- Start to collect proof of the tangible damage the breach has created – lost money and damaged health
- Access your medical records – this can give your solicitor an insight into any conditions that may have been diagnosed already
- Connect with a No Win No Fee lawyer who can help obtain more specialist evidence, like a detailed psychiatric evaluation
Your solicitor can calculate two types of potential compensation for you. Material damage refers to all the actual, out-of-pocket expenses that the data breach created. This can range from anything like damage to your credit rating to money directly stolen from your bank accounts.
The tragedy of a data breach is that there is simply no way to predict what damage the leaked data could end up causing. But it’s important to try to account for all the harm caused as a claim can only be made once.
Non-material damage refers to the ill-health or psychological damage caused. After Vidal-Hall v Google, your No Win No Fee data breach lawyer can use evidence from any medical assessment obtained as part of the claim to prove the breach caused the likes of stress, anxiety or depression.
The table below provides key information taken from the Judicial College guidelines, a document used by lawyers to determine compensation awards. .
It’s important to remember that compensation amounts are never absolute guarantees. These figures simply offer a guide to what is considered commensurate in cases of serious emotional harm and can relate to data breach injury because of that:
Type of injury Potential award bracket
Psychiatric injury (severe) Resulting in marked inability to function with everyday life. Up to £108,620
Psychiatric injury (moderately severe) Showing significant problems coping with things like education, work and relationships. Some recovery may be made with professional help, but the damage will be significantly disabling. Up to £51,460
Psychiatric Injury (moderate ) There will be marked improvements with treatment and prognosis is good. Up to £17,900
Psychiatric injury (less severe) Residual issues that yield over time to treatment. Up to £5,500
Post-traumatic stress disorder (severe) Inability to cope at anything approaching a pre-trauma level. Up to £94,470
Post-traumatic stress disorder (moderately severe Symptoms which cause significant disability for the foreseeable future. Up to £56,180
Post-traumatic stress disorder (moderate) Where recovery is largely complete and any residual effects don't grossly disable the injured person. Up to £21,730
Post-traumatic stress disorder (less severe) Awards in this bracket will depend on the extent to which daily activities and sleep were impacted. Up to £7,680
For an accurate assessment of your case and any potential payout, get in touch with our team for a free no-obligation discussion about your circumstances. We could help you connect with a data breach solicitor who can act on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
It’s possible to pursue a data breach claim under a No Win No Fee agreement. Importantly, working with a lawyer like this can extend numerous benefits to you, such as:
- No fees upfront
- You don’t have to pay anything as the case progresses
- Furthermore, you receive excellent advice about how viable your case is right at the start.
- Nothing at all to pay your solicitor if your case fails
- If the claim is a success, you’ll pay your solicitor a small, legally capped percentage of your compensation award
- It’s a fast, precise and easy system of getting legal representation
- Removes all the stress and need to understand legal jargon
- You simply provide evidence – the lawyer does the rest
With No Win No Fee, the majority of any award always goes directly to you. Lawyers deduct a small percentage from the overall settlement at the end of cases that win. If your case fails – there is nothing to pay them at all.
No Win No Fee offers a claimant instant, high-quality legal advice. Whatever the precise nature of the Southampton City Council data protection issue or how their processing error damaged you, a No Win No Fee lawyer can help. Speak to us now to see how they could help claim lost money back and help you seek restitution for your psychological anguish.
No Win No Fee agreements are something you may associate more with car accident claims rather than data breach problems. At Legal Expert, we can offer you a pathway to understanding how our lawyers could help you. This arrangement works for the following reasons:
- Guaranteed excellent service
- No longer restricted by the law firm local to you
- Ease of communication with your lawyers
- Dedicated and experienced advice
- The chance to connect with lawyers who handle specific types of data breach cases
When you call our friendly and knowledgeable team they can assess your circumstances and discuss the best options for your data breach claim. Get in touch to see how a potential Southampton City Council data breach claim could work today.
Thank you for reading this guide on the legal justifications behind a Southampton City Council data breach claim. To conclude, we hope it has offered you new resources with which to launch a case for compensation for the aggravation and losses you suffered. We are happy to help with any questions you may have and can help right now. Please:
- Call our team on 0800 073 8804
- Or email or write to us at Legal Expert
- Alternatively, you can use the ‘live support’ option at the bottom right of this screen
Please refer here for more information about data breach claims
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And further reading for hotel data breaches
In addition, we can help with university data breaches
And we can also help with housing association data breaches
And here you can learn what to do if confidentiality was broken during a GP visit
Lastly, we are able to support your search for details on BUPA healthcare data breaches
In this final section, we’ve included answers to some commonly asked questions.
Who could I make a claim against?
You can make a data breach claim against any organisation that has possession of your data and handled it in a way that you can prove was a positive wrongful act. This means that they either intended to breach your data or failed to ensure its proper protection through acts they should have taken.
What evidence of a data breach do I need?
You can use financial records and medical evidence that directly demonstrates how the impact of the data breach affected you. Furthermore, your lawyer can request details of internal failings from the local authority that permitted the breach.
How long do I have to make my claim?
There is a 6-year time limit to making a data breach claim against a private company. But this shortens to just 1 year against a council or another public body. And the timeframe alters depending on the defendant and the circumstances, so get in touch to discuss your claim ASAP. That way, you will stay within your timeframe. Additionally, with regards to collecting information, it’s important to track and track every impact of the data breach, both short and long term on your finances as you can only make one data breach claim. It’s important to include everything.
Am I eligible to claim?
Speak to our team for advice. There may be extenuating circumstances for the use of your data. Exemptions apply and often we may have consented to the sharing of data without knowing it. A data breach can be complex and working with a lawyer who can demand to see proof of internal operations from the companies involved can often be the only way to clearly claim a data breach. You do not have to use the services of a lawyer. But faced with the time and complexity involved, it makes good sense.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our guide on what to do if you fall victim to a Southampton City Council data breach.
Guide by Waters
Edited by Billing