Adoption, Fostering and Special Guardianship privacy notice

Privacy notice specifically for services relating to Adoption, Fostering (including supported lodgings) and Special Guardianship.

This privacy notice explains:

  • how personal information is going to be used
  • what it is used for
  • who it might be shared with and why
  • how long it is kept.

The information you provide helps us deliver our services effectively.

Personal and special category data

The categories of personal data we are processing are:

  • name, gender and date of birth
  • marital status
  • occupation
  • address, email and phone number
  • ethnicity and language spoken
  • religion
  • information relating to financial, social and family circumstances, lifestyle and behaviour
  • health information such as medical assessments and medical history
  • involvement with other services
  • criminal/police involvement
  • bank details (name, account details, national insurance, tax code).

We also obtain information from:

  • the local authority where you used to live
  • other West Sussex County Council departments
  • previous partners
  • health services
  • social media
  • references (personal and employment)
  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • schools/education providers
  • other fostering agencies and other local authorities with whom you have fostered.

Data Controller

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) complies with the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is registered as a ‘Data Controller’ with the Information Commissioner’s Office (Reg. No. Z6413427). 

You can find details for the WSCC Data Protection Officer (DPO) on our Privacy Policy.

We ensure that your personal data is accurate, processed fairly and lawfully, kept secure and retained for no longer than is necessary.

The legal basis for processing personal data

Processing is necessary:

  • for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
  • for compliance with a legal obligation to which the Council is subject.

This information is needed to comply with:

  • Children Act 1989
  • Adoption and Children Act 2002
  • Fostering Services Regulations 2011
  • Care Standards Act 2000
  • Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005, Section 6
  • Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 as amended 2016
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017.

The legal basis for processing special category data

We rely on Health and Social Care, which we use for the provision of health or social care, or treatment/management of health or social care systems, for special category data.

You will be asked to sign consent to us accessing the necessary information to enable us to carry out a thorough assessment as required by the regulations and associated enquiry and application forms.

How we use your personal information

Our Privacy Policy determines how we use personal data. We use it specifically to:

  • respond to your initial enquiries about foster care, adoption and special guardianship
  • process and assess foster carers, adopter and special guardianship applications, which will include carrying out background checks
  • train and develop people wishing to become adopters and foster carers
  • make recommendations to the Fostering and Adoption Panel (which could include both West Sussex and another agency’s panel if a match with a child from another area was being considered)
  • process foster carer and adopter and special guardianship payments
  • provide supervision and training
  • carry out annual reviews
  • provide information to Revenue and Benefits for Council Tax exemption
  • share your information with another fostering agency in the event of a transfer from West Sussex
  • share your information with another adoption agency in the event that prospective adopters transfer at any point in the adoption process
  • provide other local authorities with information should they request foster placements in West Sussex. We may share your information with them for this purpose in order to provide the best match for children and carers
  • share your contact information with external Fostering organisations which WSCC has set up paid membership to allow all foster carers to have access to independent support and advice:
    • Fostering Network - National organisation
    • United Foster Carers Association (UFCA) - West Sussex based.

Who we share your information with

We may pass data to:

  • West Sussex children’s social care teams and Finance
  • the Fostering and Adoption Panel
  • other local authorities
  • Ofsted (in the event of a local authority inspection of children’s services)
  • external audit services of the Council’s practices - Southern Audit Internal Partnership
  • fostering agencies - Regulation 26(1A) gives the fostering service undertaking the current assessment the power to request records about the applicant held by the fostering service or adoption agency which granted the approval (provided the applicant consents)
  • Inland Revenue as part of the verification process of foster career, adopter and special guardian payments or allowance
  • Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) if there is an application to de-register a foster carer or a foster carer challenges a qualifying
  • nominated fostering organisations to provide access to independent support and advice:
    • Fostering Network
    • United Foster Carers Association (UFCA).

You should be aware that we have a duty to protect public funds, which include allowances and discretionary payments made to foster carers, special guardians and adopters. We may therefore use the information we have for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may share this with other bodies for these purposes. We may also share this information with other parts of the council or other relevant organisations for purposes, which may include enforcement.

If a child or other person is considered to be at risk of significant harm, people working with you will have a duty of care to share the information with the relevant services without consent.

We will not share data with third parties for marketing purposes.

See our Privacy Policy if you require more information about how we use this data.

How long we keep your personal data

Personal data will not be retained for longer than necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected.

Your rights

See our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.


See our Privacy Policy for information about making a complaint.

Last updated:
4 February 2022
Share this
Share this

Do you have any feedback about this page?

Help us improve this website

Let us know if this page was helpful so we can make improvements. Add a star rating and leave your feedback below to show how useful you found this page.

Rate this page:
Clear star rating...
  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.