Privacy notice for adults in family court proceedings
This Privacy Notice is for adults involved in family court proceedings. It explains how we process your personal information.
We collect and use personal identifiable information when it relates to the family court proceedings, surveys or when you submit general enquiries. This can include:
- your personal details: name, address, email address, telephone number(s), date of birth;
- diversity information: ethnicity, disabilities;
- criminal record information: from the Police National Computer;
- local authority record information: from children’s services; and
- health record information: GP records and other health information.
By sharing any information about any individuals, you are confirming that you have made them aware of how we will process their data as set out in this privacy notice.
We process your personal data to carry out our public task and statutory obligations, which are set out in section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. Our obligations are to:
- safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- give advice to the family courts;
- enable children to be represented in the family courts; and
- provide information and support to children and their families.
We process your special category data, such as health and ethnicity data, where processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest (necessary for statutory and government purposes as set out in section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000). We collect your diversity information in conjunction with the Equality Act 2010 to better understand and apply equality and diversity considerations in our work. It is your choice whether you share this information with us. You do not have to provide this information if you do not want to.
We process criminal offence data, which includes personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences where processing is necessary for statutory and government purposes.
We collect this information:
- from court documents;
- directly from you in telephone, emails or face-to-face interviews and through SMS, webchat, video chat and social media interactions;
- from other parties on the case; and
- from other people our staff need to speak to for their enquiries.
We also collect information from other agencies as part of our safeguarding work. This is set out in the Child Arrangements Programme (paragraph 13.3). These agencies include:
- the police; and
- local authorities.
We may make enquiries with other agencies, such as your GP or your child’s school/ nursery.
If you object to us making these enquiries, if necessary, a court direction may be sought so we can make our enquiries.
We use this information to:
- give advice to the court;
- make recommendations to the court in a letter or report;
- inform research about family court proceedings;
- respond to complaints; and
- improve the services we provide.
We will share your data if we are required to do so by law – for example, by court order, or to prevent fraud or other crime.
We may contact you once the court proceedings have ended to ask:
- for your feedback on our services; and
- if you would be willing to take part in our research. We only publish research in a way that means you cannot be identified.
You do not need to give feedback or be involved with research if you do not wish to.
Information may be shared with:
- the court;
- the other parties in the case;
- other trusted organisations, such as local authorities and the police; and
- our commissioned service providers (see below).
Information usually cannot be shared with anyone else. This is because information about court proceedings cannot be shared without the court’s permission.
However, information may be shared with other professionals if it is needed for child protection. This is set out in the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (section 12.73).
Information about your case may be shared with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you approach them about a complaint.
We may share limited information with our commissioned services which provide court ordered activities. This work is carried out under strict terms and conditions.
We only share information with these services when the activity has been ordered by the court.
For information about commissioned services, please see our Planning Together for Children webpage and for other services click here.
The Family Procedure Rules (Practice Direction 12G) allow us to share information with some third parties, including government departments, for research purposes. This is to help:
- monitor the effectiveness of family court proceedings; and
- develop policy and good practice.
This data sharing only takes place if it has first been reviewed by the Cafcass Research Advisory Committee. This ensures that:
- projects are conducted ethically and are useful for Cafcass and the children and families with whom we work;
- there are appropriate controls and safeguards in place to meet data protection requirements; and
- information is anonymised before any research is published, so you cannot be identified.
Please see our approved research projects on the research pages of this website.
We use external data processors who are third parties and who provide elements of services for us, such as, but not limited to, system maintenance, the provision of the Cafcass website and communications. We have contracts in place with our data processors, which means that they cannot do anything with your personal information unless we have agreed and or instructed them to do so. They will hold your personal information securely and retain it for the period we instruct.
- You can ask us to correct your information if you believe it is wrong.
- Please contact your Cafcass Family Court Adviser if any of the information we have recorded about you is incorrect. We will assess your concerns and take appropriate action.
- It is your responsibility to update us if any of the information you have provided to us changes.
- You can request a copy of the information that we hold about you by making a Subject Access Request (SAR).
- Please see here for more about how to access your information.
You also have the right to:
- object to the processing of your personal data;
- request the rectification of your personal data;
- request that the processing of your personal data be restricted; and
- request that your personal data be erased. This is also known as the ‘right to be forgotten’.
These rights are not absolute and only apply in certain circumstances. Please contact our Data Protection Officer using the details provided in the ‘How to contact us’ section of this notice should you wish to ask for more information.
- We keep information on our secure case management system and in secure archives.
- We send sensitive information by secure postal services or via secure encrypted Egress email.
- All Cafcass official email addresses end in @cafcass.gov.uk.
If, for some reason, you suspect that an email you have received is not from us (for example it does not end in @cafcass.gov.uk) please contact us at [email protected] to let us know.
If you receive an email from someone saying that they work for Cafcass but you do not know them, please contact our Call Centre on 0300 456 4000 and we can confirm things for you.
If you believe someone is pretending to work for Cafcass, please contact [email protected]
More detail on how we protect information is available in our Information Assurance Policy
If you have any questions about how we use your information, you can contact our Data Protection Officer:
by email: [email protected] or
by post: Data Protection Officer, Cafcass, Ground Floor,70 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8NH
If you have any concerns about how we use your information, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office who ensure that organisations comply with data protection laws: https://ico.org.uk/