Data Protection Act

Accessing information about yourself

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) gives individuals the right to ask any organisation which processes personal data about them for a copy of that information. You are entitled to see personal data that are held electronically as well as those held in most manual records. These types of requests are called Subject Access Requests (SARs).

How can I find out what information UCLan holds about me?

You can make a SAR by writing to the Information Governance Officer:

UCLan’s Information Governance Officer deals with all matters relating to the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as well as managing and coordinating all requests for information received by the University. You can contact the Information Governance Officer at:

Information Governance Officer
Legal Services (Office of the University Secretary)
Harris Building
University of Central Lancashire

Telephone: 01772 892561.

SAR Request Form

Wherever possible you should use the SAR Form (.doc 48KB, also available as a pdf, 60KB) as this has been designed to help you provide us with the information we need to deal with your SAR quickly, please also refer to the SAR Form explanatory notes (.doc17KB). If you cannot complete the form you can still make a SAR by emailing or writing to us, but we may need to ask you for further information to help us find your personal data.

Is there a charge?

Under the Data Protection (Subject Access) (Fees and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2000 UCLan is entitled to charge up to £10 for each SAR; however we do not currently make this charge and will handle your request free of charge.

What other information do I have to provide?

You should also include your present address as this will help us locate your information and is where we will send our response. We also need two pieces of evidence to prove your identity such as a recent utility or council tax bill, your driving licence or other similar items which include your name and address. This is so we can ensure your personal data remain secure and are only sent to you at your address. You should send us copies of these, rather than original documents.

You should also provide us with as much detail as you can about the information you want to access so we can locate it quickly. If we need to contact you for further information to help us find the personal data you requested you may have to wait longer for a response.  

Once we have located your personal data we will either post copies to you by Recorded Delivery or email the information to you in an encrypted attachment (this means you will have to use a password to access the information we send you and is for security purposes – only those with the password will be able to open the information).

How long will it take to get access to my information?

Once we have received your SAR in writing, proof of your identity and any information we reasonably require to locate your personal data, we have 40 calendar days to provide you with your information.

Can I arrange for someone else to request access to the information on my behalf?

Yes. You can ask anyone to act on your behalf such as a friend, relative, solicitor or employee of a consumer organisation such as a Citizens Advice Bureau. Before we will discuss or provide your personal data to anyone acting on your behalf you must confirm to us in writing that they have your authority to do so.

Can I see all the information that's held about me?

Under the DPA we must provide you with all the personal data you are entitled to. This usually means we will provide you with everything we hold about you; however in some cases certain information may be exempt. This means we do not have to provide it to you.

There are a number of reasons why information may be exempt; however as an example, it may be exempt if providing it to you would compromise the prevention or detection of crime or the prosecution of offenders. In certain cases we may also withhold some information relating to education, health and social work.

What if I'm not satisfied with UCLan’s response?

You can contact the Information Governance Officer directly by post or email using the above details. You can also complain to the Information Commissioner.

Complaining to the Information Commissioner

You can complain to the Information Commissioner about the way UCLan or any other organisation is processing your personal data. The Information Commissioner is an independent regulator who provides advice and guidance on, and enforces, the DPA. The Information Commissioner will not normally investigate complaints if you have not tried to resolve the matter with the organisation yourself first.

You can contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Helpline: +44 (0)1625 545745 or +44 (0)303 1231113 

Fax: +44 (0)1625 524510