COVID-19 Response Work
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our priorities are to keep essential services running, protect our most vulnerable residents and limit the spread and impact of the pandemic. We will continue to process personal data of residents to provide our usual services. Find out more about full privacy notices
We will need to change some of our services. We will process personal data to provide additional support to residents who need it and to help the council, NHS and the government respond to COVID-19
As well as our usual partners like the police, NHS, Public Health England (PHE) and Barnet Homes, the council will work with volunteers and organisations across Barnet who are already supporting our local communities. For example; Age UK Barnet, Homeless Action in Barnet and Groundwork London (Barnet Volunteering).
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.
Test & Trace
The council will carry out different activities, which include:
- contact tracing, using data from the NHS Test & Trace scheme and contact details we already hold for residents, for example; social care or council tax records
- coronavirus testing for residents, including working with PHE and local and voluntary sector organisations to run testing sites or provide outreach testing programmes
- making sure that those who need to isolate are doing so and supporting them throughout.
The data we process and share with PHE for Test & Trace includes:
- your full name and ethnicity
- your address, postcode, phone number and email address
- the date of symptom onset
- your test results, where the council has this information, for example, when we run outreach testing.
The council will use personal and special category data gathered from its own files (social care, revenues and benefits) or from partners (NHS including Test & Trace, Public Health England, Barnet Homes, electoral registration, police, fire and ambulance services, voluntary and charities).
The council will support the national vaccination programmes, including running vaccine sites where necessary. We will work with PHE and local and voluntary sector organisations to do this.
Contact Tracing for our sites
We ask you for basic contact details if you enter our buildings (libraries, museums, children’s centres, community centres and council office buildings).
This data will be kept safely for 21 days and then securely destroyed. It will be shared with Public Health England’s Test and Trace service if you might have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. PHE’s or the council’s Test and Trace teams will contact you. Further details on why we need to do this is available at GOV.UK
The council will use personal and special category data gathered from its own files (social care, revenues and benefits) or from partners (NHS including Test & Trace, 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 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, 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 suitable education to borough children
- provide childcare in schools for children of key workers.
The council already processes and shares personal, special category and criminal data for this purpose across all its services. We will process personal data to ensure that coronavirus support payments or grants are not being misused. We will also expand our normal environmental health and environmental enforcement functions to ensure businesses and individuals are complying with COVID-19 regulations, including during lockdown and when under the national tiers system, or other government approaches to limit the pandemic.
The council monitors whether individuals and businesses are complying with law and official guidance, and will take suitable enforcement action and/or report potential offences to the police where we are aware of these either through our enforcement work or from allegations made by the public.
If asked by the police, we will provide basic information on when an individual was tested and when they were informed of their responsibilities, including when to isolate.
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 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 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.
The following information is processed for COVID-19 purposes:
- address & contact details
- date of birth
- 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 (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. There is also specific COVID-19 legislation.
The Secretary of State for Health has issued a notice under Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI), to require local authorities to process confidential patient information (CPI), for the purposes of managing the pandemic. This includes Test & Trace data.
The Act gives powers to public health officers and the police to require individuals to:
- provide information
- attend and take part in testing
- remain at or leave a location
This gives the local authority Director of Public Health (DPH) responsibility for:
- all their local authority’s duties to take steps to improve the health of the people in its area
- any of the Secretary of State’s public health protection or health improvement functions that s/he delegates to local authorities, either by arrangement or under regulations. These include services mandated by regulations made under section 6C of the 2006 Act, inserted by section 18 of the 2012 Act
- exercising their local authority’s functions in planning for, and responding to, emergencies that present a risk to the public’s health.
Care Act 2014 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 allows councils to process and share data to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.
Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 allows councils to process and share data as part of taking reasonable steps to help applicants secure accommodation.
Civil Contingencies Act 2004 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))
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.