St Albans Council Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?
Local Authority Data Breach Claims Explained
If you’ve suffered negatively due to a data breach caused by an oversight on behalf of your local council, you may be able to claim compensation. Undue stress could be caused, for example, by an email data breach resulting in your council tax details being taken. This guide will show what you could do if you have suffered due to a St Albans council data breach.
It will answer important questions, such as:
- What kind of third parties can have your data and must adhere to lawful processing?
- What is the General Data Protection Regulation?
- How does the Data Protection Act regulate organisations?
- How can a breach of the Data Protection Act result in you making a successful claim?
- What kind of information could be affected by a St Albans City and District Council data breach?
- On what grounds could you potentially make a claim?
- How can our No Win No Fee solicitors help you receive compensation?
Our advisors offer free legal advice, so if you have any questions, such as wondering if you’re eligible to claim, call them at a time that works for you. They’re available 24/7. They could then put you through to one of our experienced solicitors who could begin the claims process with you.
You can contact us using the details below:
- Call us on 0800 073 8804
- Use the contact form on our website
- Email us describing the details of your potential claim at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the live chat service on the right-hand side of your screen
Alternatively, please read on to discover more about claiming.
Select A Section
- A Guide To St Alban’s City Council Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Data And Information Security Statistics
- What Could A St Albans Council Data Breach Be?
- GDPR Compliance For Local Authorities
- Causes Of A Data Breach At A Council
- The Data Protection Act, Social Services And Council Housing Information
- What Is The Formal Procedure For Reporting Data Breaches?
- How To Sue A City, District Or Borough Council For Damages
- Assessing Compensation For A St Albans Council Data Breach
- Data Protection Breach Compensation Calculator
- Claim For A St Albans Council Data Breach With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
- Should I Choose A Solicitor Near Me?
- Get Advice About Your Claim
- Find Similar Content
- Question And Answer Section
This guide will establish what a data breach is, explain how it could negatively impact you, and clarify in what instances you may be able to claim. If you or fellow social housing tenants have had information stolen due to a data breach caused by insufficient cybersecurity on behalf of your council, you could potentially receive compensation.
We will also explain how our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you receive this and go into more detail about how your compensation would be calculated should your claim be successful. It’s important to note that one of the necessities for making a successful claim relates to when the data breach occurred. You need to be making a claim either:
- Within 6 years; or
- 1 year if the incident involved a human rights breach.
For more information about this, please get in touch with our advisors for free, helpful legal advice. They’re available 24/7 via the phone number at the top of this page.
One of the reasons you may make a successful claim is if the business or council holding your personal data didn’t take the necessary precautions to prevent a data breach. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport highlights the number of cyber security precautions businesses take in the UK.
As you can see, only 43% of respondent businesses have some form of cybersecurity, and only 34% undertake risk assessments concerning this. Only 20% test staff to make them more aware of genuine cybersecurity threats, and 15% partake in cybersecurity vulnerability audits.
This shows that there could still be a lot of work done to make businesses more secure. As such, if a council’s positive wrongful conduct causes a data breach and it has a negative impact on your mental health or finances, you have every right to see if you could claim.
There are important aspects to bear in mind regarding making a successful data breach claim. Before going into that, it’s important to clarify what a personal data breach is.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) handles complaints about data breaches. They state that a data breach is a breach of security resulting in the unlawful or accidental loss, destruction, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal information. As such, it doesn’t matter if the breach was caused accidentally or not.
The aspects that mean you may be able to claim compensation are:
- If the data breach negatively impacted you mentally or financially. For instance, the breach could result in a hacker retrieving your personal information, such as Council Tax details.
- If the controller of the data, which could be, for example, St Albans City Council, is at fault for the data breach because they did something wrong which led to the breach. This could be having insufficient cybersecurity or a lack of staff training.
Suffering mental harm or financial loss and the data breach occurring due to the council’s failings are key aspects to making a successful council data breach claim. For more information about taking your case to court and claiming compensation, visit this ICO webpage. (However, most claims don’t go to court.)
To discover more about the type of instances that could result in a personal data breach and confirm if, for instance, a school has breached your personal data privacy, call us now for free legal advice using the phone number at the top of this page.
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is part of a European-wide reform on how businesses can handle your personal data. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) has implemented this into UK law since May 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces this as well as other data protection laws, such as the UK GDPR.
The UK GDPR clarifies how parties that handle personal data (such as organisations or councils) should protect it. If organisations don’t adhere to these rules, they can be fined or investigated, depending on the extent of the offence.
In addition, you may be able to claim if the personal data breach is caused by the council’s security failings. However, please remember that they could follow every rule and still suffer a data breach due to a hacker, for instance.
The UK GDPR also requires there to be a lawful basis for processing personal information. This can involve any one (or more) of the following:
- Clear consent has been given for personal data to be used for a specific purpose.
- The processing is required due to a contract that they have with you, or specific steps are required to be taken before the contract is signed.
- There’s a legal obligation for this data to be processed.
- The processing of this data is required to protect someone’s life.
- It’s required for the company to perform a task in the public interest and has a clear legal basis.
- The processing is necessary for their company or an interested third party unless there’s a legitimate reason to protect the individual’s identity, meaning this is overridden.
There could be many reasons you’ve suffered negatively from a council data protection breach. This section will provide instances in which you may be able to make a successful council data breach claim. It aims to provide you with a better understanding of your own situation.
Causes of a personal data breach at a council could include:
- Tenancy documents containing personal information being posted to the incorrect address when the correct one has been supplied to them.
- Personal information is not being sufficiently erased from an information pack sent to local landowners who aren’t authorised to see it.
- A cyberattack resulting in public housing documents containing personal information being stolen due to insufficient cybersecurity systems being installed.
- Scans of tenancy documents containing personal data being sent to an incorrect email address where they’re accessed by an unauthorised person.
- A Council Tax demand and liability order notification being sent to the wrong address and accessed, despite the correct address being on file. This could result in you falling further in arrears due to not receiving the previous letter.
- Identifiable information about neighbour complaints being shared publically by the local council without a lawful reason.
- Tax payers’ bank details being made visible to unauthorised persons on the local council’s website.
This shows that a council data breach doesn’t need to be caused by a cyberattack. They can also be caused by a simple, independent error. If this is why, for example, council tax details have been sent to the wrong address, you may be able to claim if you’ve been negatively affected financially or psychologically by the mistake.
A council data protection breach could expose personal information. If, for example, you’re a tenant in a council property, your local council will have personal data about your tenancy. This means that, if you’re a social housing tenant, the following could be lost, destroyed or shared due to, for example, an email data breach:
- Tenancy documents
- Scans of tenancy documents
- Public housing records
- Information regarding your council tax, such as the taxpayers’ bank details
- Rent statements
- Passport information
They could also hold information regarding social services. For instance, personal information about a child you’ve adopted could be made available to their previous caregivers due to an email being accidentally sent to the incorrect address.
You could speak to one of our helpful advisors for more information if you have evidence of a valid claim following a St Albans Council data breach. They offer free legal advice, are available 24/7 and can tell you if you might be eligible to claim in just a few minutes. Call us today using the phone number at the top of this page.
The ICO recommends the following procedure regarding raising personal information concerns:
- Firstly, contact the council that is responsible for the breach and report it.
- Secondly, if there is an inadequate response or none at all, you could raise a complaint through the ICO.
- However, you do not need to complain to the ICO in order to seek compensation. Instead, you can seek legal advice.
The ICO will usually not investigate complaints where there has been an undue delay in the issue being raised to them. As such, you should contact the ICO no later than three months after the last meaningful contact you’ve had with the organisation responsible.
Regarding how you could approach the relevant organisation, you could:
- Write to them
- Email them
- Call them
When contacting them, explain the circumstances surrounding the data breach, detail the previous correspondence you’ve received from them, if any, and clearly outline why you’re looking to complain.
If you feel like the response is insufficient or you haven’t received a response, you can seek legal advice by calling one of our advisors. For more information on how to claim, call us anytime using the phone number at the top of this page.
Data protection law means that people now have the right to claim compensation from a council if they have suffered financial loss or mental harm because of a data breach caused by the council’s failings. There are two different types of damage:
- Material damage: This relates to the financial impact caused by the breach. It involves assessing the amount you’ve lost so far due to it and how much you could lose in the future. Money could be stolen from your bank account. This could result in your credit rating being affected.
- Non-material damage: This relates more to the psychological impact of the breach. This could involve you claiming for emotional distress as well as for feeling unsettled or anxious due to your personal data being stolen or mistakenly shared.
The amount you could receive can depend on:
- The extent of the data breach on your circumstances.
- The type of information accessed.
- How it has impacted you.
For example, a Council Tax demand and a liability order notification could have your payment details on them, and, as a result, you could be at risk of theft. As such, it’s important to bear in mind that it can be difficult to predict the compensation you could receive as compromised data could be a permanent issue.
One thing to bear in mind if you’re looking to claim for a council data breach: you do not need to have suffered material damage to claim. You can now purely claim for non-material damages caused by the breach. This used to not be the case. However, this changed due to Vidal-Hall and others v Google .
In this legal case, the Court of Appeal confirmed that you could receive compensation for only psychological damage caused. You can also receive it if you only suffered financially because of the breach or if you suffered both damages.
Compensation for psychological and psychiatric injuries can be considered the same way as it would be for personal injury cases.
The Judicial College provides compensation brackets for different types of injuries, including psychological ones. Below is a list of injuries and their respective compensation brackets.
|Type of Injury||Amount of Compensation||Description|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£56,180 to £94,470||Cases in this bracket can result in permanent effects preventing the injured person from being able to function in a work environment or anywhere near their pre-trauma level. Every aspect of their life is significantly affected.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£21,730 to £56,180||Injuries in this bracket have a more positive prognosis than the above bracket. This is due to the help provided, such as professional care. However, a large degree of disability is still expected in the immediate future.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||£7,680 to £21,730||The injured person has largely recovered from the injury and any prolonged effects won't be particularly disabling.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£17,900 to £51,460||Serious and prolonged issues will be created by psychiatric damage. This can be caused by work-related stress which could result in permanent disability meaning that they can't return to comparable work.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||£5,500 to £17,900||Better prognosis than the above bracket due to symptoms not being as prolonged resulting in a marked and obvious improvement.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||Up to £5,500||Compensation in this bracket is based on how often the damage causes issues with sleep and daily activities.|
If you’ve suffered any of these types of injuries due to a data breach, you could speak to one of our advisors to see what compensation you could receive. It could be that you’ve suffered a data breach due to a company, such as Virgin Media or Microsoft, mishandling your data. Call us using the phone number at the top of this page to see if you can claim.
Our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you receive thousands of pounds. No win No Fee agreements mean that:
- You wouldn’t have to pay any solicitor fees, either upfront or during the claims process.
- Instead, your solicitor would take a small, legally capped percentage of the compensation as payment.
- They also won’t request legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.
You are, of course, well within your rights to hire a solicitor near you. However, to find the most appropriate solicitor, you could read reviews online to help narrow down the search. This may mean that you don’t necessarily pick a lawyer or solicitor close by, but don’t worry: Our solicitors can work for you from anywhere in the country.
Our No Win No Fee solicitors are experienced. Their knowledge could be the difference between you winning the case or coming away empty-handed.
Our advisors are available 24/7 so, if you have any questions or queries, simply give us a call. You can contact us through various methods at a time that works for you. Our solicitors offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about upfront legal fees.
You can contact us using the details below:
- Call us on 0800 073 8804
- Use the contact form on our website
- Email us describing the details of your potential claim using email@example.com
- Use the live chat service on the right-hand side of your screen
For more useful information, please visit the links below.
Please visit the ICO website to know more about how to complain about a media organisation data breach.
Visit this Government website if you’d like to claim due to data misuse.
Would you like more guidance about data breaches? If so, visit this National Cyber Security Centre webpage.
If you’re looking to see if you can make a data breach claim, visit our website.
Has your personal data been lost after a breach? See if you can claim.
Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions about council data breaches.
Who enforces GDPR rules?
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces the UK GDPR.
Can an individual be held responsible for a data breach under GDPR?
If an individual is found to have breached the UK GDPR, they can be fined or prosecuted.
Is sharing a name a GDPR breach?
Yes, as this is personal information. However, if you’re sharing the name on a lawful basis, it would not be a GDPR data breach.
Call our advisors today using the phone number above for more regarding this guide on what you could do after a St Albans council data breach.
Written by Durdy
Edited by Victorine