Darren asks the Department of Education about children’s data privacy rights

Darren asked:

What guidance and advice her Department plans to provide for data subjects and their parents on the alternative provision collection of pregnancy, health and mental health data from January 2018; and with and to whom those data will be shared and made accessible?

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools, replied:

Where a child of compulsory school age would not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason, local authorities have a duty to provide suitable ‘alternative provision’ (AP). Although the AP provider understands the reason for the child’s placement, as does the responsible local authority, nationally very little is known about these AP placements and the children who need them. This is fundamental to understanding the effectiveness of the AP system to better target policy interventions and improve the quality of education provided to these children.

As data controllers in their own right, it is important that local authorities and AP providers collect, process and store all data (not just that collected for the purposes of the Department data collections) in accordance with the relevant data protection regulations. Being transparent and providing accessible information to individuals about how their personal data will be used is a key element of both the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The most common way to provide this information is via a privacy notice. The Department provides template privacy notices that schools and local authorities can use. However, the notices must be reviewed and amended according to local needs and circumstances. The AP census guidance reminds data providers of their responsibilities in this area and provides links to the template notices.

Darren also asked:

Whether her Department conducted a privacy impact assessment about the collection of data on pregnancy, health and mental health for the Alternative Provision Census 2018?

Nick Gibb MP replied:

Where a child of compulsory school age would not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason, local authorities have a duty to provide suitable ‘alternative provision’ (AP). Although the AP provider understands the reason for the child’s placement, as does the responsible local authority, nationally very little is known about these AP placements and the children who need them. This is fundamental to understanding the effectiveness of the AP system to better target policy interventions and improve the quality of education provided to these children.

Conducting a privacy impact assessment is not a legal requirement of the Data Protection Act. The changes to the AP census relate to information already required (and held) by local authorities during the process of commissioning placements in AP and do not require the collection of any additional information by local authorities or AP providers from the individuals. The AP census is a long-standing data collection with established protocols and processes in place for the handling, collection and disclosure of individual level information. As the AP census already collects a range of characteristic information about individuals, these additional items of information (about the same individuals) do not present any new privacy risks over and above those already present so a formal privacy impact assessment was not completed.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *