Has your personal data been affected by a local council data breach? Did you suffer harm, either psychologically or financially, as a result? In this guide, we are going to explain what a personal data breach is, how it can happen, and who could be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
According to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), local councils and authorities are known as data controllers. This means that they decide why your personal data is collected and how it is used.
Our advisors can offer free legal advice and help to determine if you have a valid claim when you get in touch today. To contact us, you can:
Select A Section:
- Types Of Data Councils Could Hold
- Examples Of A Potential Council Data Breach
- Are You Eligible To Claim For A Local Authority Data Breach?
- What Could You Claim For?
- Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- How We Could Help With A Claim For A Council Data Breach?
Types Of Data Councils Could Hold
Your local authority may store and process many kinds of data that relate to you. Not all of this data is necessarily protected by law and therefore may not form the basis of a successful claim. Personal data and a type of personal data known as special category data are both protected under data protection legislation. These can include:
- Personal data: This includes information that could identify you. Examples include your phone number, email address, date of birth, and name. It can also include financial information such as your debit card, credit card, or bank account details.
- Special category data: This type of personal data requires extra protection according to data protection law. For example, it can include your race or ethnic origin, political party or trade union memberships, religious beliefs, or genetic and biometric data.
This type of data could become the basis of a claim for a local authority data breach. Contact our advisors today if your personal data has been involved in a council data breach and what information is protected under data protection law.
Examples Of A Potential Council Data Breach
bbbbA council data breach could occur through human error or a cyber attack. It is vital that organisations that process personal data ensure that staff are trained on how to keep this information confidential as well as have up-to-date cyber security defences in place.
A personal data breach claim will involve you being to prove that the organisation responsible for your personal data did not comply with data protection laws, and due to the failure to adhere, your personal data was breached. Compensation will be awarded to compensate for the mental and/or finanacial harm you suffered because of the breach.
Some examples of how a potential data breach could occur:
- Care services share personal data without a lawful basis.
- Rent arrears letter contains personal data sent to the wrong postal address, giving an unauthorised person access to your personal data.
- Documents containing personal data are faxed to the wrong recipient, causing a personal data breach.
- Failure to use BCC in a mass email could expose your personal email address to many others.
These are just a few examples of how a personal data breach could occur. For more information or to find out if your claim could be valid, contact our advisors today.
Are You Eligible To Claim For A Local Authority Data Breach?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, you must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to make a personal data breach claim against a council or local authority. This criterion includes:
- The breach must have been a result of the failings of the organisation responsible for your personal data
- Your personal data must have been affected by the breach
- You must have suffered psychological or financial harm as a result of the breach
There are also time limits that could affect your claim. Generally, you have six years to start a personal data breach claim. However, this reduces to one year if claiming against a public body.
Our advisors can provide information on who is eligible to make a local council data breach claim when you get in touch today.
Local Authority Data Security Figures
The chart below contains statistics from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and their published data security incident trends. It shows the main causes of non-cyber data incidents in local government for Q4 2021/22.
What Could You Claim For?
If you do have a valid claim for a council data breach, there are two potential heads of claim that you may wish to pursue. These are:
- Non-material damage for any psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder caused by emotional distress. There was a case heard at the Court of Appeal in 2015, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc, the ruling of which now allows claims for non-material damage without claiming for material damage alongside it.
- Material damage for any financial loss. For example, fraudulent purchases or damage to your credit score following a personal data breach.
Data Breach Compensation Calculator
There is no average payout for a council data breach claim. This is because all claims are unique, and the compensation you could receive reflects this. However, you can still get a broad estimate of what you could receive by using our personal data breach compensation calculator table.
The table below contains figures taken from the 2022 edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is often used by legal professionals to aid them in valuing claims, as it provides guideline compensation brackets for a number of injuries. For this reason, the table below only relates to non-material damage.
|Level of Severity
|Victims suffering from PTSD of this severity would have severe difficulties functioning. There would be a profound impact on every aspect of their lives.
|£59,860 to £100,670
|It is likely that the victim will make some recovery from this level of PTSD with professional help.
|£23,150 to £59,860
|It is very likely that the victim will make a good recovery.
|£8,180 to £23,150
|Some lesser symptoms may last longer than two years. However, most major symptoms of PTSD will clear up fully within two years.
|£3,950 to £8,180
|People with this disorder often struggle to work, attend school, and take care of their families. It is possible for symptoms to persist permanently.
|£54,830 to £115,730
|People suffering from these conditions would have difficulty managing their daily lives. However there is a better prognosis than the above category.
|£19,070 to £54,830
|The claimant will have made a good recovery and symptoms that remain will not be significant.
|£5,860 to £19,070
|Injury severity and duration will determine damages.
|£1,540 to £5,860
How We Could Help With A Claim For A Council Data Breach
Our solicitors are ready to help you with your personal data breach claim. They offer their work under a No Win No Fee agreement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This allows you access to expert legal representation without paying an upfront fee.
You won’t need to pay your solicitor a retainer fee or any upfront or ongoing costs under a CFA. You also do not pay your solicitor a service fee if the claim is lost. However, your solicitor will take a success fee if the claim succeeds. Your solicitor will discuss this amount with you before you begin your claim to ensure that there are no surprise costs.
Our team of advisors can give you more information about how one of our solicitors could help guide you through your claim when you get in touch today. To learn more, you can:
Claiming For A Council Data Breach Resources
Useful web links.
- ICO – A Guide to Data Protection
- GOV – Find Out What Data An Organisation Has About You
- ICO – The Principles of UK GDPR
Here are some other data breach claim guides to read over.
- What Are My Rights After A Post Office Data Breach?
- Nursery Data Breach, What Are My Rights?
- Solicitor’s Data Breach Claims
Contact our advisors today for more information on making a council data breach.