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Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Data Breach Claims

This article is going to look at how to proceed if a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach ever took place. The Data Protection Act 2018 which enacted the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mean that data controllers (the organisations that use personal data) must take steps to keep it as safe as possible. However, since leaving the EU we now look to the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) could take action and hand out huge financial penalties when these laws are broken. However, they can’t compensate those affected by data breaches. Therefore, we have written this guide to explain your options.

Tunbridge Wells Borough-Council data breach claims guide

Tunbridge Wells Borough-Council data breach claims guide

You may be entitled to claim compensation if a data breach has caused you to suffer in some way. That might mean claiming for money lost because of criminal actions. It could also mean claiming for stress, depression or other psychiatric conditions.

If you are considering making a compensation claim, we could help you. Our advisors provide a no-obligation assessment of any claim. They’ll also explain your legal options for free. If you have strong enough grounds, we could appoint a data breach solicitor to help you. Importantly, any claim taken on by our solicitors will be processed on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you’re interested in beginning a claim today, please call us on 0800 073 8804. If you would like more details about how data breach claims work before contacting us, please read on.

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A Guide On If You Could Claim For A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Data Breach

There is no doubt that data sharing makes a lot of processes really easy these days. For example, it is now possible to apply to join a council’s housing waiting list by filling in a form on your phone. In the past, this might’ve taken a much longer time while waiting for forms to be sent out in the post.

At the same time, some applications can be shared with other organisations which means you only need to fill out one form. However, with all of that personal information floating around the ether, there are some risks. That is why the new data protection laws exist. They provide you, the data subject, some control over when and how your data is used.

We would advise checking with our team about how long you have to make such a claim. That’s because some cases relating to public body data breaches have a 1-year time limit (although, that can vary).

When you’ve finished reading, please call our team if you’d like to know more about your options. We’ll provide free legal advice regardless of whether you choose to claim or not.

How Many People Are Affected By Data Breaches?

We are now going to briefly look at how often local authority data incidents occur. In the period April 1st 2021 to June 30th 2021, ICO figures for local government:

Top 3 Cyber Incidents

  • Ransomware incidents: 5 cases.
  • Phishing: 4.
  • Soft/hardware misconfiguration: 3.
  • Other cyber incident: 3.

Top 3 Non-cyber Incidents

  • Documents or emails being sent to the wrong person: 40 cases.
  • Data posted or faxed to the wrong person: 36.
  • Failure to redact personal or sensitive data: 35.
  • Other non-cyber incident: 53.

What Could Be A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Data Breach?

In this section, we’ll explain steps that could be taken if a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach arose. Before we do, let’s review the GDPR’s definition of data breaches. They are security incidents that lead to personally identifiable data being destroyed, accessed, disclosed, lost or altered without authorisation, unlawfully or accidentally.

Data breach compensation is not based purely on the fact the incident took place. To hold a valid claim you must be able to demonstrate that the data controller failed to securely keep your personal information safe.

A claim may include financial losses and psychological suffering caused by stress, anxiety or similar issues.

If a data controller has done everything in their power to protect your data and it still manages to be breached it is not likely that you the data subject would be able to make a data breach claim.

It can be quite tricky to understand whether you have the right to claim. If you’d like us to review your chances, please call our team today.

Is The Local Authority Bound By UK GDPR Rules?

All data controllers, such as local authorities, are bound by the GDPR. Within the GDPR there are principles that should be adhered to:

  • Data processing methods need to be safe, obvious and lawful.
  • Security of personal data is paramount.
  • Personal data should not be kept any longer than necessary.
  • If personal data is out of date or inaccurate, it must be updated
  • Personal information must be processed for specific reasons.
  • Only the personal data that is needed should be processed.

When starting new activities, the council should check whether objectives can be met without using personal data. If they can, a lawful basis for processing personal data will not be established.

These principles and the rules of the GDPR apply to any personal data processed electronically. Furthermore, they apply to any type of data stored in filing systems. If you have suffered because the GDPR’s rules were broken, why not call today to seek advice on your options?

Types Of Public Service Information Breach

If a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach ever occurred would you be able to recognise one? Therefore, we have provided a few examples of typical data breaches below. Don’t worry if yours isn’t listed, simply give us a call and we’ll assess your chances of being compensated for free. The examples include:

  • Where the data controller shares your personal data without a lawful reason.
  • If a memory stick containing unencrypted personal data is left on a bus.
  • Where members of the public overhear council officers identifying you and talking about your case within earshot of a waiting room.
  • If hackers attack the councils IT systems and steal sensitive personal data.
  • Where an email or letter that’s meant for you is delivered to the wrong person.

Under the rules of the GDPR, they need to contact you if they become aware of a breach that puts you at risk. If you receive an email or letter about a security incident, you may want to keep a copy safe as it could be used as evidence if you claim.

Housing And Council Tax Data Privacy Breach

There is a raft of personal information held by local authorities. That’s not a bad thing because it makes processes a lot easier to manage. However, this information must be kept safe. Some examples of the types of documents that need to be protected include:

  • Social care records. These could contain sensitive information relating to vulnerable clients.
  • Council tax documents. It is likely that these will contain your contact information and information about any arrears.
  • Tenancy agreements. These could contain your name, address, telephone number and details about your property.

There are quite a few problems that might arise if these documents ended up in the wrong hands. Firstly, there’s the risk of money problems if they are used by criminals. Secondly, you could face embarrassment, stress or anxiety because you’re worried about who has seen your information.

The GDPR exists to try and keep this type of information safe and secure. If your personal information is leaked because the GDPR’s rules are breached, you may be able to seek damages for any suffering that results.

When Should I Contact The ICO?

There might come a point where you think about contacting the ICO about your suspected data breach. Before you do, you could follow the process below:

  • Write and complain about the breach to the council and await their response.
  • If you do not agree with their response, you should escalate the complaint. The letter will explain how to do this.
  • Within 3-months since you heard anything meaningful, you can reach out to the ICO.

The ICO has the legal power to investigate any potential breaches of data protection laws. They are then able to issue enforcement notices and also hand out financial penalties where necessary. However, they can’t award compensation to innocent data subjects.

For that reason, it may be worth speaking with a data breach solicitor before contacting the ICO. If your case is accepted by a solicitor on our team, they could settle your case directly with the council. To have your case checked by a specialist, please get in touch today.

What Do You Need To Do To Make Your Data Breach Claim?

OK, let’s now look at our suggested process for claiming for a data breach:

  1. Contact the data controller to complain about the breach and keep all correspondence they send you.
  2. Collect other evidence that could help. This can include bank statements, receipts and medical records.
  3. Contact us to have your case reviewed for free.

We won’t pressure you into starting a claim but we will assess it and provide advice on your options for free. If you do decide to claim, and we agree to work for you, your claim will be handled on a No Win No Fee basis.

What Damages Could You Be Awarded?

In an ideal world, compensation claims would be as easy as stating what amount of compensation you want and that amount being paid to you. However, it’s not as simple as that! Every single penny you claim for must be fully justified and supporting evidence is needed. Your claim can contain two main elements:

  • Material damages. This compensation is claimed if you’ve lost money or incurred costs because of the breach.
  • Non-material damages. This is used where stress, anxiety or other psychological injuries have made you ill.

For material damages, you might claim for money lost because a criminal has used your data to perform identity theft. For non-material damages, you might be able to claim if you have had problems with your mental health because of the breach.

However, that’s not the end of your compensation calculation though. Additionally, you need to think about future suffering because you can only claim once. Therefore, during the claims process, you may be asked to have a medical assessment. This is something that can be arranged locally by your solicitor. An independent specialist will talk to you and review your medical records. After that, they will record your injuries and offer a prognosis in a medical report.

Our belief is that to achieve the highest amount of compensation, you should have a data breach lawyer on your side. If your case is accepted, one of ours will review your claim with you thoroughly to make sure no element of your suffering is left out of your claim. To find out more about how we could help you, please contact us today.

Calculating Compensation For A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Data Breach

We are now going to consider how much compensation could be awarded for the suffering caused by a data breach. We should state that while we have suggested some figures, awards can vary as they are based on the severity of your suffering.

Our compensation table uses amounts listed by the Judicial College. That’s where lawyers, insurers and courts may turn to when settling personal injury claims. A judgement by the Court of Appeal meant that compensation for injuries caused by data breaches should be considered. This is true whether the claimant suffered financially or not. If a settlement is paid, it could be calculated using personal injury values.

Injury Severity (assessed by a specialist) Settlement Bracket
PTSD Injuries Severe £56,180 to £94,470
Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180
Moderate £7,680 to £21,730
Less Severe Up to £7,680
Psychiatric Damage (General) Severe £51,460 to £108,620
Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460
Moderate £5,500 to £17,900
Less Severe Up to £5,500

If you’d like us to assess your claim, please call our team. By doing so, we may be able to offer a more personalised compensation estimate.

No Win No Fee Claims For A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Data Breach

Many people will worry about paying for solicitor’s fees if their claim is lost. We completely understand that and it’s the reason that we provide a No Win No Fee service for all claims we take on. If a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach took place could a solicitor be funded through a No Win No Fee Agreement?

If a solicitor agrees to represent you, they’ll provide you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This document explains the criteria that need to be met before you have to pay anything. Within the CFA, a success fee will be listed. This is the fixed percentage of your compensation that will be deducted to cover your solicitor’s work if they win the case. By law, these fees are capped to prevent any overcharging.

To find out if you can use our No Win No Fee service, why not call our advice centre today?

Why Choose A Specialist From Legal Expert?

Legal Expert has a team of experienced solicitors who are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They have been dealing with compensation claims on behalf of clients for up to 30-years. Importantly, they only agree to work on claims with a reasonable chance of success.

Our service is available nationwide as we deal with claims on the phone, via email and online. That means no time is wasted travelling for face to face meetings. If your claim is taken on, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.

Want to know more about Legal Expert? If so, why not take a look at a sample of our reviews?

Contact Legal Expert

Hopefully, our guide on claiming for a data breach has made your options clearer. If you are now considering claiming and would like our help, you can:

  • Call our advice centre on 0800 073 8804 to discuss your claim with a specialist.
  • Use our online form to request a call back.
  • Send an email to info@legalexpert.co.uk to set out the reason for your claim.
  • Enquire about your options via our live chat service.

Our live chat and advice centre are available 7-days a week, 24-hours a day. We won’t pressure you into claiming but will assess your case and provide free legal advice on the options available to you.

Guides To Related Claims

Now that you’ve read about your rights should a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach occur, we have added some more information that might be helpful.

Accessing Information – This guide explains how to make a Freedom of Information request from a public body.

Every Mind Matters – An NHS article that discusses the symptoms and methods used to treat stress.

Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman – This service can be used to escalate complaints that are not resolved at local authority level.

Here are a few more of our guides about similar types of data breaches:

Employer Data Breaches – Advice on claiming if your employer has breached data protection rules.

Data Breaches At A Bank – This article looks at your rights following a banking data breach.

Social Services Data Breaches – Our guide on dealing with data protection breaches by Social Services.

Other Guides You Can Read

Questions Our Clients Ask

To finish our guide, we’ve supplied some answers to questions that are often asked about the UK GDPR.

What does UK GDPR stand for?

The UK GDPR stands for the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation. It gives data subjects more control over how their personal information is used. Organisations who fail to adhere to the rules can face fines or enforcement action from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

What are the main requirements of UK GDPR?

There are several principles of the GDPR that govern how personal data is used. They include: being fair, legal and transparent; using the minimum amount of data; not storing personal information for longer than needed; keeping personal data secure; being explicit about why personal data is required, and keeping personal data accurate and up to date.

What does the UK GDPR apply to?

The UK GDPR is a set of data processing rules that covers any personal data processed by computer systems or physical documents stored in filing systems. It applies to all organisations that process personal data within the UK. It also applies to those outside of the UK that process personal information about UK residents.

Thanks for reading about what could potentially constitute a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council data breach. Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Guide By Hambridge

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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