Public health data privacy notices
All local authorities have a public health function and have a statutory duty to improve the health and wellbeing of, and reduce health inequalities in, the population they serve. To help Plymouth City Council do this, we use data from a range of sources to aid our understanding of the nature and causes of disease and ill health, and the health and care needs, across the city.
Plymouth City Council is bound by a number of information sharing agreements which are drawn up to ensure information is received from, and shared with, organisations in a way that complies with relevant legislation (Data Protection Act 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)).
Privacy notice: birth and death records
This notice provides details of how Plymouth City Council collects and uses information about registrations of births and deaths.
What is this information?
Personal information about a birth is collected at the time of a registration of birth and personal information about a death is collected at the time of a registration of death by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The term personal identifiable data relates to any data that could potentially identify an individual.
Information held about births that are classed as personal identifiable includes: date of birth of child; NHS number of child; address and postcode of usual residence of mother; and address and postcode of place of birth of child. Other information held includes: sex of child; birth weight; age of mother; a birth in marriage indicator; country of birth of parents; occupation and socioeconomic status of parents; and a still birth indicator. NHS Digital provides more information on the data.
Information held about deaths that are classed as personal identifiable includes: date of birth; date of death; NHS number; address and postcode of place of death; address and postcode of usual residence; cause of death; maiden name; name of certifier; and name of coroner. Other information held includes: age at death; sex; registered GP and practice; occupation; and place of birth. NHS Digital provides more information on the dataset.
What is the legal basis for accessing and processing the data?
Plymouth City Council has a Data Access Agreement with NHS Digital (who hold and supply the data on behalf of ONS). Access is legally permitted in accordance with section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007, as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012), allowing statistical analysis for Local Authority Public Health purposes, and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 which states the data can only be used for public health purposes.
The processing of this personal data is permitted under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Article 6(1)(e) and Article 9(2)(h).
These processing conditions allow us to discharge our statutory and government functions to support the duty of the Local Authority under Section 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to take appropriate steps to improve the health and wellbeing of, and reduce health inequalities in, our population.
Who uses this information?
The Public Health Team (Office of the Director of Public Health directorate) of Plymouth City Council.
Why do we use this information?
Births and death record data are of significant value to Plymouth City Council. Analysis of births and deaths in our local area allows the following:
- Measuring and monitoring the health, mortality, or care needs of the population by specific geographical areas or population groups;
- Planning, evaluating, or monitoring health and social care policies, services, and interventions; and
- Protecting or improving the public’s health
The information is used to ensure that health, social care, and public health services address local needs and are focussed on reducing health inequalities (the differences in health status between population groups and geographical areas).
What do we do with this information?
The data is used to produce statistical outputs for public health purposes.
Specifically birth record information is used to identify trends in birth rates and low birthweights and highlight differences between geographic areas, age, and socio-economic characteristics. This information feeds into our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, local commissioning plans, and health needs assessments. Other uses include the analysis of the distribution and relationship between place of residence and place of birth and age of mother to support service planning for higher risk pregnancies and teenage conception programmes.
Specifically death record information is used to identify trends in death rates, life expectancy, and premature deaths, highlighting the differences between geographic areas, age, sex, and other characteristics. This information feeds into our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, local commissioning plans, and health needs assessments. Other uses include the investigation of variations in death rates between GP practices, suicide audit and prevention work, public place of death analyses and accident prevention work, monitoring of deaths from specific causes, monitoring the seasonal patterns of deaths and excess winter deaths, and monitoring child deaths and stillbirths.
For some of these purposes, an anonymised version of the dataset is used. Anonymisation is the process through which identifiable information is removed. This results in individuals no longer being identifiable.
In the case of suicides and deaths with an open verdict an audit process is undertaken to gather further details from other public organisations. Under these arrangements Plymouth City Council contacts acute hospitals, GP practices, and local coroner’s offices to gather information about the circumstances of death and any contact with services to identify local issues to inform local suicide prevention work. Whilst the dataset is not shared with these organisations identifiable data are used to help gather the relevant information required for the audit from their systems. This data is not circulated outside the department.
No personal-identifiable information is published. Numbers and rates in published reports are aggregated to a level that protects confidentiality and anonymity.
Automated decision making/profiling
Public Health do not use this data for automated decision making or profiling.
Who do we share this information with?
This information will not be shared with anyone outside of Plymouth City Council, without your permission, unless we have a legal reason to do so.
Please see the Data Protection website for more detailed information about how the council will protect your privacy
How do we keep this information safe?
This information is held securely in an AES 256 encrypted area of Plymouth City Council’s internal network. The data is only accessible to analytical staff within Plymouth City Council’s Public Health Team who have a need to access the data.
How long do we keep the data?
Data is currently held for births and deaths registered from 1996 onwards as stated by the Data Access Agreement.
We will only keep your information for as long as it is required to be retained. The retention period is either dictated by law or by our discretion. Once your information is no longer needed it will be securely and confidentially destroyed. Plymouth City Council has a record retention and disposal schedule. This sets out the legislation, guidance, and policy about record retention of all data we hold.
All retention periods quoted are minimums only and our records are reviewed at the end of any quoted time. Records are considered both individually and in relation to business as a whole. The purpose, value, and corporate significance is also considered.
What are your rights?
Under the Data Protection Act 2017 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations 2018 you have the right of access to, and the right to request a copy of, the information we hold about you. In addition you have the right to request rectification or deletion of your personal data. You also have the right to request that Plymouth City Council stop processing your personal data. Please see the Data Protection website for more detailed information.
Should you wish to exercise or discuss any of these rights, or complain about the way that your personal data has been handled by Plymouth City Council, please contact the Data Protection Officer using the following contact details:
Tel: 01752 306120
Write to: Customer Relations Team – Information Access, Plymouth City Council, Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ
Any complaint will be investigated in accordance with the Council’s Customer Feedback Procedure.
If you have concerns about the use of your personal data, or remain dissatisfied with the way your data has been handled by Plymouth City Council, you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioners Office, an independent body set up to uphold information rights in the UK. Please use the following contact details:
Website: Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Write to: Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF