Data Protection requests

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), you have the right to ask for the personal information that Southwark Council holds about you. Asking for information about yourself is known as a ‘subject access request’, because you are the data subject.

Making a subject access request  

To ask for your information, you have to:

  1. put your request in writing (this could be an email, letter, Facebook post, tweet or similar)
  2. give us enough information for the council to find the records you are asking for

This could be your name, any other names you're known by, a postal or email address, or any account numbers.

It’s really important that we don’t send your information to someone pretending to be you. The Data Protection Act 1998 allows us to ask you to show proof of who you are (Section 7 (3)).

We will ask you to provide a form of photo ID – this could be:

  • passport
  • driver’s licence
  • government issue photo identification
  • ID Card eg Union Membership
  • Tenancy Agreement (where it has your photo)

You can make a subject access request by emailing

You can also write to us at:

Southwark Council
Access to Information Team
Customer Experience
PO Box 64529
London SE1P 5LX

Tel: 020 7525 7511

If you want help in writing to us, talk to our staff at a one stop shop.

What happens next

If we can’t find the information you’re asking for, we might ask you to tell us more information, like:

  • are you looking for letters or emails?
  • who might have sent, or received the emails?
  • which team or department might have the information?
  • when was the information collected, or being used?
  • what key words could we use to look for your information?

We can help you target the request so you can get the most important information.

Please note that the council won’t be able to answer if you just say "I want everything the council holds on me”.

The council has to answer you within 40 calendar days. The clock starts when we have enough information to find what we have, and you have provided ID.

Information we can tell you

We can tell you if we're using your personal data, or someone is doing so for us.

We can tell you what information we have; why it is being used or kept; who we may give it to; and who gave us the information.

If we don’t have any information about you, or the law says that the council doesn’t have to give it to you, we will tell you in writing. 

What information might the council not tell you

Sometimes the council can’t give you everything we hold on you. That might be because someone else’s information is tied up with yours, or because there is an investigation going on that has to be kept secret, or because the information is part of legal advice we have been given.

If we don’t have any information about you, or the law says that the council doesn’t have to give it to you, we will tell you in writing. 

Asking for information about someone else

By law, the council cannot tell you information about someone else without their permission. We ask for a signed letter from that person, saying that they understand, and want you to have their information.

If the person doesn’t want you to have their information, then the council has to respect their decision.

If you can’t get their permission, because they aren’t able to give it, or you are a parent or carer asking on behalf of a child  please tell us so that we can help.

Sharing information

Sometimes the council can, or has to, give information to other people; for example the police, other local authorities or solicitors.

If you are making a request under section 29 or section 35 of the DPA, please use the Southwark Disclosure form (docx, 24kb)

Please do not use this form to ask for information about yourself.

Page last updated: 01 November 2017