Privacy policy


The information you provide to Cornwall Council is controlled by Cornwall Council, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY. Data Protection Registration Number: Z1745294

Cornwall Council is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We aim to be as transparent as possible to fully explain how your personal data is held and processed.

This Privacy Notice explains when and why we collect personal information about people who engage or come into contact with us, whether via applying or receiving our services, living or visiting the county or our website.

This notice explains how we collect, use and share your information, how long we keep it, and how we keep it secure.

Each service that we provide or you engage with also has its own Privacy Notice to explain in more details how they use your information and the legal basis for using the information.

We may change this Privacy Notice from time to time so please check this page regularly to ensure that you're happy with any changes.

What type of information we collect about you

The council may collect various types of personal data about individuals depending on the services you receive and your contact with the Council, such as your:

  • contact details; including name, address, email address, telephone number.
  • date of birth
  • proof of identity
  • national identifiers such as; NHS number and National Insurance numbers
  • information about your family
  • IP address and information regarding what pages are accessed and when
  • lifestyle, social and personal circumstances
  • the services you receive
  • financial details for purposes of receiving or making payments
  • employment details (when you apply for jobs)
  • housing information relating your Council tenancy
  • visual images, personal appearance and behaviour
  • licenses or permits held
  • business activities

We may also collect sensitive personal data that may include:

  • physical or mental health details
  • racial or ethnic origin
  • gender and sexual orientation
  • trade union membership
  • political affiliation and opinions
  • offences (including alleged offences
  • religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences

We may also record and monitor telephone calls to our Contact Centre for quality and training purposes.

Why we need your information

We need your personal data in order to provide you with Council services that you apply for or receive from us, as well as where we are required to use information to meet our statutory obligations. We will only collect personal data that is absolutely necessary and any information we collect about you will be strictly in accordance with Data Protection legislation and other statutory obligations which we are bound by.

We process your information for the following services:

  • council tax
  • business rates
  • housing benefits
  • social housing needs
  • parking permit
  • blue badge
  • adults and children's social care services
  • planning applications
  • building control applications
  • licensing
  • landlord licensing
  • voting and elections
  • school admissions and education services
  • youth services
  • birth, marriages and deaths
  • employment
  • health and wellbeing
  • bins, recycling and waste collection
  • crime and public safety

In most cases the information will be collected and used where we have statutory obligations to collect use or share your information or where you have consented or agreed to receive a service.

You will be advised of any additional purposes or uses at the time the information is collected or used.

Who your information may be shared with

The Council has statutory obligations to collect, process and share personal or sensitive personal information without consent, with our partners such as the NHS, housing associations, schools, central government, such as DWP, HMRC, Home Office, Department of Education, Department of Health, other councils and law enforcement agencies such as the Police and the Crown prosecution service, for the following purposes:

  • health and wellbeing and public health
  • safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children
  • the prevention and detection of crime
  • the assessment of any tax or duty
  • collection of debt
  • if we are required to do so by any court or law
  • prevention of fraud
  • the national fraud initiative
  • protect you or other individuals from serious harm
  • protect public funds
  • public safety and law enforcement
  • criminal or civil prosecution of offender
  • national security

We may also share your information with our partners to deliver national government programmes and initiatives such as the Supporting Families programme, or improving services we deliver, or provide the services you agreed to receive. We may share with: 

  • NHS (GPs, Hospital, Mental Health, ICBs)
  • schools
  • voluntary sectors
  • central government
  • other council
  • housing associations

This will be done where there is a lawful basis under the conditions set out in the Data Protection Legislation.

We may also share your information with third party service providers working on our behalf for the purposes of completing tasks and providing services to you on our behalf (for example; domiciliary care providers). However, when we use third party service providers, we disclose only the personal information that is necessary to deliver the service and we have a contract in place that requires them to keep your information secure, as required by the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), and not to use it for any other purposes.

We will never use or share your personal information to third parties for marketing purposes without your permission. 

For more information, please see each service’s specific privacy policies which apply to our different business areas.

How we keep your information secure

Any information held by the council about individuals is held securely and in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR.

Cornwall Council is committed to protecting its service user's personal data. We have put measures in place to ensure that our staff, service providers, partners and suppliers all look after your information in line with good practice and the law. These follow the rules and practices known as Information Governance (IG).

The information security measures we've put in place include:

  • following good Information Governance practice and the law when it comes to collecting, handling and giving access to information
  • training staff in their data protection responsibilities
  • putting processes in place to ensure good Information Governance practices for information we collect, hold or handle in both manual and electronic forms
  • access to your information is only given to those who need to know and where it is necessary
  • information will not be held for longer than required and will be disposed of securely
  • we encrypt all our electronic devices and sensitive information that is transmitted is encrypted

Where we store your data

Your data will not be transferred outside of the European Economic Area unless this is stated in the service specific privacy notice.

How long we store your personal data

Each service stores personal data in line with the Council’s retention and disposal schedule. Specific information relating to retention periods are detailed in each services’ privacy policies.

Marketing and e-newsletters

Cornwall Council always acts upon your choices around what type of communications you want to receive and how you want to receive them. Where you have signed up for one of our newsletters, we use email newsletters to inform you of what we're doing, news and events.

Tools may be used to help us improve the effectiveness of our communications with you, including tracking whether the emails we send are opened and which links are clicked within a message. This helps us to improve and refine future email marketing around our campaigns and make sure all our emails are relevant and as useful as possible.

You have a choice about whether or not you wish to receive information from us. If you no longer want to receive our e-newsletters, then you can do this by clicking the unsubscribe link on every email. You can find out more on our Stay in Touch page.

Business intelligence, profiling and automated decision making

Business intelligence

We may analyse your personal information to improve services and for the following purposes:

  • undertake statutory functions efficiently and effectively
  • service planning by understanding your needs to provide the services that you request
  • understanding what we can do for you and inform you of other relevant services and benefits
  • help us to build up a picture of how we are performing at delivering services to you and what services the people of Cornwall need
  • analysis of costs and spend of services we provide so that we can ensure better and efficient use of public funds
  • evaluating, monitoring health of the Cornwall population and protecting and improving public health

The Council is however committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases, this will be the default position.

Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field.

Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details from something, (for instance medical test results) for statistical or other purposes.

Profiling and automated decision making

Profiling means any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a person, to analyse or predict aspects concerning that person's economic and health situation, reliability, personal preferences and interests..

Automated-decision making means any processing that is carried out by automated means without any human review element in the decision-making. For example, carrying out credit checks searches to detect and reduce fraud.

We may use your information from the different services that you engage with to create a single view and profile of you, which will help us to better understand your specific needs and ensure we are providing the right and efficient services to you in accordance with your needs as well as ensure that we hold one accurate record of your basic personal data across all our Council services; such as your name, date of birth, address, email address, or change in circumstances.

Profiling will be carried out only when it is necessary in order to provide you with the service you have agreed to receive or where the Council has a statutory obligation or where the law allows. However, we will notify you where we would do this and where required we will seek your consent.

Information we collect about visitors to our websites

We use Google Analytics to collect internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make, and do not allow Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be clear about this. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

How we use cookies

You can read about how we use cookies on our Cookies page.

Information about people who contact us via social media

We use a third-party provider, Hootsuite, to manage our social media interactions. If you send us a private or direct message via social media, the message is stored by Hootsuite for three months. It will not be shared with any other organisations.

Information about people who contact our Contact Centre via telephone using a mobile telephone

We store mobile telephone numbers for up to 7 days so that we can send you text message providing a link to an online customer satisfaction survey. You can opt out of receiving these text messages. If you choose to opt out we will hold your number for the duration that your opt out is in place, this is to ensure that we uphold your wishes.

Information about people who contact us via Textphone/minicom

If you are a textphone (minicom) user, please contact us using Text Relay by dialling 18001 before the number you are calling.

Text Relay assisted calls are charged at your telecommunication provider’s normal rates.

Please dial 0800 500 888 from a textphone for help or visit https://www.relayuk.bt.com/.

Call and Screen Recording Policy

We use our telephone system to log the telephone number of incoming and outgoing calls unless the number is withheld by the caller. We process this information in statistical form as performance data in order shape and improve our service to the public. We store this information for two years to protect the Council and members of the public in the event of a complaint or criminal activity .

Please read our Call and Screen Recording Policy for more information about this.

Web chat with advisor and chatbot 

Chatbot

Our virtual agent is available on some pages across the Cornwall Council website to provide support to our customers with signposting.

Please do not enter any personal data with the chatbot.

The chatbot is designed to provide answers based on your replies to certain topics which are pre-set.

Our virtual agent is provided by Microsoft and is hosted by Microsoft Azure within our secure servers.

Our chat bot will capture the content of this conversation and this information is used to improve the service in the future

The council will hold the data from each conversation for six months.

Chat with an advisor

In some cases our virtual chatbot agent will pass a customer to an advisor in our contact centre.

Our advisors use the same system as the chatbot which is provided by Microsoft and is hosted by Microsoft Azure within our secure servers.

The data you enter into the chat will be used to process your enquiry. It may be passed to our partners where they are required to process your enquiry. 

The council will hold the data from each conversation for 12 months.

How you can update your information

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. If you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is out of date, please inform the service you are receiving services from.

Your rights

Your personal information belongs to you and you have the right to:

  • be informed of how we will process it
  • request a copy of the information we hold about you. You can ask to receive it in an electronic format if you wish. If you provided this to us electronically for automated processing, we will return it in the same way.
  • have it amended if it is incorrect or incomplete
  • have it deleted (where we do not have a legal requirement to retain it)
  • withdraw your consent if you no longer wish us to process (if applicable)
  • restrict how we process it
  • object to us using it for marketing or research purposes
  • object to us using it in relation to a legal task or in the exercise of an official authority
  • request that a person reviews an automated decision where it has had an adverse effect on you

Please read the Data Protection pages for more information about your data rights. Information is also available about the National Data Opt Out. Please contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer if you have any questions about how we process your information. Please email: dataprotection@cornwall.gov.uk.

How you can exercise your rights

Please contact Data Protection Officer Cornwall Council County Hall Truro TR1 3AY Tel: 01872 326424 Email: dpo@cornwall.gov.uk

  • to request copy of the information we hold about you, or
  • to tell us any concerns you have about the way we have processed your information

What to do if you don’t agree with something

We would prefer any complaints to be made to us initially so that we can see if we can put things right.

Please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office Tel No. 0303 123 1113 https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ if you are unhappy with the way we have processed your information.

Information about our services

Services across the Council collect information in different ways. More information about about how departments and services handle your information is below:

Changes to our privacy notice

The terms of this Privacy Notice may change, so please recheck periodically.

Need help to understand this information?

Please contact the Data Protection Team if you need help in understanding this information by emailing dataprotection@cornwall.gov.uk.

Need help?

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