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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's Information Charter

Holding personal information about you helps us provide better services for you.
This Charter sets out the standards that you can expect from us when we process or hold information, including but not limited to personal data about you, or your enquiries. It will tell you how you can get access to information, including your personal data, and what you can do if you think standards are not being met.

The Data Protection Act is the legal framework that ensures that personal information about you is used fairly and lawfully.

Responsibilities

The Authority owns this Charter on behalf of the Service and is responsible – with the support of Members and to any individual who is recognised as a worker – for its implementation.

The Senior Risk Information Officer (SIRO) will ensure that information governance policies and procedures are implemented across the whole Service and that they are regularly reviewed to ensure continuous improvement. Our SIRO is the Assistant Chief Officer (HR).

Information asset ownership is recognised as vital to sound information governance and officers identified as Information Asset Owners will actively manage and monitor the full lifecycle of the information in their charge, from its creation through usage, amendment and storage through to archiving and/or destruction.

Everyone who is recognised as a worker and handles information has a responsibility to ensure that the requirements of confidentiality, integrity and availability are maintained at each stage in the information lifecycle.

We recognise that there is always a possibility of human error. This Charter explains what we will do to put things right if a mistake is made.

Types of information

We hold both personal and non-personal information in a variety of databases and information stores which are critical to our activities, together with systems relating to our support functions such as human resources and finance.

How we manage information

We have committed to manage, maintain and protect information according to legislation, policies, procedures and best practice.

Security measures maintain and safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our systems and data, and ensure that information is stored, processed and communicated in a secure manner making it reliably available to properly authorised users.

We handle all information in a manner that respects the rights of individuals and which complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

Personal Information

We know how important it is to protect customers’ privacy and to comply with the Data Protection Act. We will safeguard your information and in most circumstances will not disclose personal data without consent. When we ask you for personal information, we will:

  • make sure that you know why we need it;

  • only ask for what we need, and not to collect too much or irrelevant information;

  • protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t;

  • let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services - and if you can say no;

  • only process information about you without your knowledge where we are legally entitled to do so for specific purposes, such as the prevention of crime or to produce anonymised statistics;

  • make sure that we don’t keep personal information about you for longer than necessary;

  • not make your personal information available for commercial use.

 
If we fall below these standards, we will:

  • tell you what has happened and why;

  • implement our Information Security Incident Reporting and Management Policy;

  • inform the Information Commissioner, and cooperate with any investigation he decides is needed.

 

In return, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information;

  • and tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes, such as a new address.

 
This helps us to keep your information reliable and up to date.

Access to personal information

You can find out if we hold any personal information about you by making a ‘subject access request’ under the Data Protection Act. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it,

  • tell you why we are holding it,

  • tell you who it could be disclosed to, and

  • let you have access to information or, if appropriate, give you copy of the information in an intelligible form.

 
You can also access more information on:
  • Circumstances where we can pass on your personal data without telling you, for example, to prevent and detect crime and to produce anonymised statistics

  • Our instructions to staff on how to collect, use and delete your personal data, and how we check that the information we hold is accurate and up to date.

  • General information about us through our Publication Scheme. If the information you want is not already available, then you can make a Freedom of Information Request.


For independent advice and guidance about data protection, privacy and data-sharing issues, please visit the website of the Information Commissioner.