Children in need or looked after privacy notice

Privacy notice specifically for children in need and looked after children.

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:

  • personal information (such as name, date of birth and address)
  • characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity and disability)
  • episodes of being a child in need (such as referral information, assessment information, Section 47 information, Initial Child Protection information and Child Protection Plan information)
  • episodes of being looked after (such as important dates, information on placements)
  • outcomes for looked after children (such as whether health and dental assessments are up to date, strengths and difficulties questionnaire scores and offending)
  • adoptions (such as dates of key court orders and decisions)
  • care leavers (such as their activity and what type of accommodation they have).

Children in need and looked after children information is essential for the local authority’s operational use. While the majority of personal information you provide to us is mandatory, some of it requested on a voluntary basis. We will inform you at the point of collection whether you are required to provide certain information to us or if you have a choice in this.

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.

This information is needed to comply with:

  • Children Act 1989
  • Children Leaving Care Act 2000
  • Adoption and Children Act 2002
  • Children and Adoption Act 2006
  • Children and Young Persons Act 2008
  • Children and Family Act 2014
  • Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017.

The legal basis for processing special category data

Processing is necessary:

  • for the purposes of preventative or occupational medicine
  • for assessing the working capacity of the employee
  • for medical diagnosis
  • for the provision of health or social care
  • for treatment or management of health or social care systems and services on the basis of law or a contract with a health professional.

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.

How we use your personal information

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

  • support children, their families and carers and monitor their progress
  • provide them with pastoral care and support
  • assess the quality of our services
  • evaluate and improve our policies on children’s social care.

Who we share your information with

We do not share information about our Children in Need or Children Looked After with anyone without consent unless we are doing so in order to perform a public task and legislation or our policies allows us to do so.

We may pass data to:

  • the Department for Education (DfE)
  • IPEH - Integrated Prevention Early Health Team
  • the National Health Service (NHS)
  • Public Health Service
  • other public authorities
  • our external trusted service suppliers
  • our NHS partner Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT), who provide our Child and Adolescent Multi-disciplinary Service (CHAMPS) service.


All local authorities, as part of a national programme, share basic information securely when a child is known to social care services and is a Looked After Child or on a Child Protection Plan, if that child attends an NHS unscheduled care setting. This could be, for example, an emergency department or minor injury unit.

This means that health and social care staff have a more complete picture of a child’s interactions with health and social care services. This enables them to provide better care and earlier interventions for children who are considered vulnerable and at risk.

You can obtain more information from NHS Digital – Child Protection: Information Sharing Project.

Department for Education

The Department for Education (DfE) collects personal data from educational settings and local authorities via various statutory data collections. We are required to share information about our children in need and children looked after with the DfE for the purpose of those data collections, under:

  • section 83 of 1989 Children’s Act
  • section 7 of the Young People’s Act 2008
  • section 3 of The Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2013.

All data is transferred securely and held by DfE under a combination of software and hardware controls which meet the current government security policy framework.

Other public authorities

When we share information with other public authorities we do so as part of our duties, powers and responsibilities as a public authority and in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as outlined under Section 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004.

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 is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are collected.

The council is currently reviewing and updating its retention policies. See our records management page for published retention schedules.

Your rights

See our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.


See our Privacy Policy for information about making a complaint.

Last updated:
15 May 2024
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