Requesting a copy of your personal information

Subject Access Requests (SAR)

A Subject Access Request (SAR) is simply a written request made by or on behalf of an individual for the information which he or she is entitled to ask for under section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). A request may be a valid SAR even if it refers to other legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Use by the County Council of your personal information is controlled by the Data Protection Act 1998. This act also gives you the right to request access to your information by submitting what is known as a Subject Access Request.

Anyone can make a request for information that we hold about them. You will not be able to ask for copies of information about someone else unless you have their permission to do so. We may also not be able to release information that was provided to us about you by another organisation without that organisation's authority.

What is personal data?

For information to be personal data, it must relate to a living individual and allow that individual to be identified from it (either on its own or along with other information likely to come into the organisation’s possession).

What information is an individual entitled to?

SARs is a way for you to request to see a copy of the information Trafford Council holds about you.

If you are requesting to see a social care record, you may find the leaflet 'Applying to see your social care record' useful.

Is any information exempt from a SAR? 

Some types of personal data are exempt from the right of a SAR and so cannot be obtained by making a SAR. Information may be exempt because of its nature or because of the effect its disclosure is likely to have. There are also some restrictions on disclosing information in response to a SAR – where this would involve disclosing information about another individual.

Does the act apply for someone who is deceased?

The Act only applies to personal information about a living individual, the act no longer applies to records for the deceased. However, the executor of the will is able access the deceased's record. No fee is required for this, but a copy of the will, proof of identity of the executor is required. 

How do I access my NHS records?

If you are wishing to access your NHS records, you will need to make a SAR application to Trafford CCG.

  • Visit Trafford CCG for more details on how to access your health files.

Can I access my child's record?

Yes. In order to be provided copies of your child's records you will need to send us proof that you have parental responsibility. This can be their birth certificate(s) or an official court document stating parental responsibility. These must be the originals or certified copies.

Can I access someone elses's record on their behalf?

Yes. If you are applying on behalf of someone else you must provide a signed authority from that person, confirming that you are acting on their behalf, together with proof of their identity and your own identity. These must be the originals or certified copies.

How long will my request take to process?

Once we receive a completed application, you will receive a full response and files held on you within 40 calendar days. You will receive a acknowledgement letter confirming your application has been received and your documents returned to you.

How do I apply?

Please complete the SAR application form. You do not have to use this form but it will help speed up the process. Request must be made in writing. 

What documents to I need to submit?

  • Proof of identity. This must be something containing a photo such as a bus pass, driving licence or passport. These must be the originals or certified copies.
  • Proof of address. This can be a utility bill, council tax bill etc. and must be within the last 3 months. These must be the originals or certified copies.

What is a certified copy?

Details on who can certify a document can be found on the GOV.UK website. In order for a document to be certified as a copy, the person certifying the copy should:

  • Write ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’ on the document
  • Sign and date it
  • Print their name under the signature
  • Add their occupation, address and telephone number