During the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic, our immediate priority is to keep essential services running and protect our most vulnerable residents. We will continue to process personal data of residents to provide our usual services, and full privacy notices for these are already published.
We will need to change some of our services and we will also need to process personal data to provide additional support to residents who need it and to help the council, NHS and the government respond to Coronavirus.
As well as our usual partners like the police, NHS, Public Health England and Barnet Homes, the council will work with volunteers and organisations across Barnet who are already supporting our local communities.
During this time the council will continue to carefully balance privacy rights against necessary work and will protect personal data.
There are key activities for how the council will approach its COVID-19 Response.
The council will use personal and special category data gathered from its own files (eg social care, revenues and benefits) or from partners (eg NHS, Public Health England, Barnet Homes, electoral registration, police, fire and ambulance services, voluntary and charities) to:
- identify those most at risk and how to best support them, including providing services when they are isolating.
- map individuals to identify the most efficient way of supporting people in their homes.
- provide information on vulnerable residents to partner organisations for provision of support.
- provide statutory returns to the NHS and/or government on those we help as part of COVID-19 response work.
Identifying at risk staff, and redeploying staff to essential services
The council will use personal and special category data of employees, collected either directly from employees by asking questions or using data already collected on HR files to:
- identify how to support as many staff as possible to work from home including managing system and network access.
- identify those staff at high risk – for identifying who must work from home, supporting staff, projecting likelihood of workforce depletion, mapping location of staff homes for resource planning.
- identify staff with special skills, such as advanced driving licences, who may need to be redeployed.
The council will be working on, and supporting schools, to:
- provide mainly remote education to borough children.
- provide child care in schools for children of key workers.
The council already processes and shares personal, special category and criminal data for this purpose. This work is likely to expand where, for example, emergency legislation is implemented to:
- limit movement of peoples.
- create new offences eg hoarding or price gouging.
- prevent civil unrest.
Support businesses and community groups
The council will work with partners and voluntary groups to:
- support local businesses, sole traders and community groups.
- manage normal activities such as planning and planning enforcement, to relax local rules, such as for pubs and restaurants to operate as take-aways.
- facilitate government support activities like business rates relief.
As well as its normal emergency planning processes, the council will follow requests from the government to create and run Support Hubs. Current and redeployed staff and volunteers will focus on identifying and supporting all residents, and especially the most vulnerable.
These hub activities will include:
- physical or virtual phone banks for council staff and volunteers to call residents identified by the NHS as vulnerable, understand their needs, and report those needs back to a central hub who could connect them to help.
- physical hubs for the provision or distribution of supplies and support.
- identifying any suitable non-council support and referring residents or signpost residents to support.
- make statutory returns to the government and NHS on the help we are providing to high risk and vulnerable residents.
Personal information collected
- Address & contact details
- Financial information
- Equalities Information
- Property information
- Criminal/Prosecution Information
- Health/Medical Information
- Social Services Records
- Human Resources Records
- Equalities information
- Other Agencies Involved
- Education Information
- Housing Information
- Family/Relationship Information
- NHS Number
- Support Network
- Referral/Assessment Information
- Images in photographs or film/CCTV
Who we share the information with
- Health Agencies including NHS Trusts and Public Health England
- Council services
- Voluntary Agencies /Third Sector
- Housing providers
- Government departments
- Legal representatives
- Council legal service
- Judicial Agencies eg Courts
- Other local authorities
- Professional Regulatory Bodies
- Trade Unions
- Home Office
Legislation that applies
The council’s usual work continues, as described in the council’s privacy notices. In addition, there are powers that local authorities have which can be used for data sharing in the context of emergency.
Care Act 2014 - this allows councils to process and share data to promote individual well-being, prevent the individual need for care and to support and promote the integration of health and social care.
Children’s Act 1989 - this allows councils to process and share data to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.
Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 - this allows councils to process and share data as part of taking reasonable steps to help applicants secure accommodation.
Civil Contingencies Act 2004 - this allows councils to process and share data as part of complying with our duty to plan and prepare for, advise about, respond to and recover from emergencies.
These pieces of legislation give the council power to use personal data for the following purposes. Because we have:
- a legal obligation (GDPR Article 6, 1 (c))
- a public task (GDPR Article 6, 1 (e))
- duties under employment law (GDPR Article 9, 2 (b))
- a substantial public interest (GDPR Article 9, 2 (g))
- to provide health and social care (GDPR Article 9, 2 (h))
In circumstances of immediate and serious risk to an individual, the council can use personal data to protect the ‘vital interests’ of individuals.
(GDPR Article 6, 1(d) and Article 9, 2 (c))
Data protection legislation also allows us to use personal data for public health reasons, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care.
(GDPR Article 9, 2 (i))
The Department of Health & Social Care has issued Notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service Control of Patient Information Regulations 2002, to require local authorities to process personal and special category data to support the Secretary of State’s response to Covid-19.
How long we keep your information
For normal council activities the retention listed within the relevant privacy notice will apply, such as for benefits or safeguarding.
It is not yet clear how long the pandemic will require emergency measures and how long the council will need to keep personal data for COVID-19 Response work.
As the work develops we will consider how long we need to keep your data and a review of all COVID-19 Response work will take place after emergency measures are no longer needed, to ensure personal data is only kept for as long as necessary.