File Access

Subject Access Requests – (File Access)

Guidance for foster carers on how to get access to their personal file held by Brighton and Hove.

  1. Requests for access to personal files can be made for many reasons, including a wish to see all the personal information that has been gathered on oneself, a need to ensure that specific facts or views have been correctly recorded, and so on. You may only request information on your file that is about you, not other parties.
  2. These requests are formally called ‘Subject Access Requests’ and are covered by the Data Protection Act 1998. There is a formal process that has to be gone through to ensure that you get the information that you have requested. There are guidelines that the local authority has to follow when retrieving your file for sharing with you. In particular, it has some discretion about whether it will share with you information that has been supplied to it in confidence, on the understanding that this information would not be shared with you, eg personal references.
  3. Unless the local authority has the written agreement from someone who has supplied us with confidential information, we are unlikely to be able to share it with you. However most information on your file should have been shared with you during the course of your assessment or fostering career, so you should get few surprises when you see your file.
  4. Your first step is to write to the Information Compliance Officer, Brighton and Hove City Council, Room 218, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove, BN3 4AH, saying that you want to see your personal file(s). They will send back to you a standard letter, together with a Subject Access Request Form. You then return the form, completed as fully as possible, together with the £10 fee (cheque to be made payable to Brighton and Hove City Council), and a form of identification. Brighton and Hove are then required to provide you with the requested information within 40 days of receipt of your completed form, fee and identification.
  5. Arrangements would then be made for the information to be made available to you. It will be good practice for you to go through your file together with your supervising social worker so that they are on hand to explain any documents or comments that are not clear. If documents have had to be removed then you will be told the general nature of these, eg it is a written reference, but you will not be told the specific contents or who is the author.

If you have any queries about the above you can contact Wendy Kassamani, Project Support Offices, on 01273 296636, or Graham Whitaker, Agency Advisor, Fostering, on 01273 295381.



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