Subject Access Requests
- Individuals have a statutory right to access their personal information which is being held by an organisation.
- This means you have the right to get a copy of the information that is held by Cafcass about you. This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR).
- Please see our Subject Access Request factsheet and the questions below for more information about what this is and how to make one.
- To see how Cafcass use your personal information, please see our Privacy Notice.
What is a Subject Access Request?
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018, individuals are able to access their personal information which is held by an organisation.
This means you have the right to get a copy of the information that is held by Cafcass about you. This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR).
What information will I receive?
You are entitled to be informed whether any personal information about yourself is held by Cafcass, and, if so:
- you will be given a description of the information
- you will be told for what purposes the information is processed by Cafcass
- you will be told of the recipients to whom the information is or may be disclosed.
However, not all personal information is covered within these rights, and there are exemptions which may allow Cafcass to refuse to comply with your SAR in certain circumstances. For more information about these exemptions please see our Subject Access Request factsheet and Subject Access Request policy
When will I receive the information?
SARs must be dealt with promptly and within one calendar month of receipt of the request, together with the necessary documentation (see ‘What information do I need to provide?’). If the deadline date falls on a bank holiday or weekend the information will be provided by the next working day.
If an extension is required, Cafcass will let you know as soon as possible.
How do I make a Subject Access Request?
A SAR can be made via:
- completing our website form
- post: Customer Services Team – SAR, Cafcass, National Business Centre, Milburn Hill Road, University of Warwick Science Park, Coventry CV4 7JJ
- by telephone or in person (any request made verbally will be passed to the Customer Service Team)
What information do I need to provide?
Cafcass needs some information and other items in order to process your SAR, and the Customer Service Team will contact you to ask for:
- your name and any other references to help locate your information (e.g. case number or court reference)
- proof of ID: this needs a signature and photo (e.g. driver’s license, passport)
- proof of residence: this needs a name and address (e.g. a recent utility bill, or official letter)
However, if Cafcass has previously corresponded with you and your contact details are unchanged and verified then we are able to exercise discretion when requesting proof of identity in certain circumstances.
Will I have to pay a fee?
SARs are responded to by Cafcass free of charge and you will not have to pay a fee.
How will I receive the information?
Please note that for security and efficiency, we provide responses to SARs electronically via secure email (Egress) unless a request for a postal response is made.
Please see our Egress FAQs page for more information about our use secure email.
Can I access information about my child?
Information about children may be released to a person with Parental Responsibility. However, the best interests of the child will always be considered. Even if a child is young, their information still belongs to them, and it is the child who has the right to access their information.
When a child is considered by Cafcass to be mature enough to understand their right to see their personal information, a parent will not be able to request the information on their behalf. Cafcass will notify the parent that we will only respond to the request if the child makes it themselves. A 12 year old is generally considered to be able to make a request themselves.
What if I am unhappy with the SAR response?
If you are not satisfied with the response to your SAR, you can make an appeal in writing to the Customer Feedback Team.
It is helpful if you detail exactly what you are not satisfied with, and if there is some information in particular you had expected to receive.
A member of the Customer Feedback team, who was not party to the original response, will review the response previously sent to you, and will respond within 20 working days of receiving the request.
You can also complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office: www.ico.org.uk.