Updated 24 May 2018

We treat your personal data as confidential and protect it accordingly. We will always make sure that your data is protected and treated securely. Any data that you give will be held in accordance with:

  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • As of 25 May 2018, the new data protection legislation introduced under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Bill.

How we will use your personal data

Personal data about you can be used for the following purposes:

  • to send you our newsletter where you have requested it;
  • to enable you to attend our public events, and provide any necessary support around access and food requirements;
  • to respond to any queries you may have and help signpost you to support;
  • to improve the quality and safety of care;
  • in special cases, to support the Local Authority in its duty to safeguard you or another person from serious harm;
  • to ensure our website works for you and that we can monitor its use;
  • to recruit and support you if you volunteer or apply to volunteer with us.

For details about our lawful basis for processing personally identifiable data please view the document attached at the foot of this webpage.

Retention and disposal of personal data

Our retention and disposal schedule is also included in the document attached at the foot of this webpage. It explains how long we keep different types of records and documents containing personal data. Personal data is deleted or securely destroyed at the end of its retention period.


We are strongly committed to data security and we take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect your personal data from unauthorised access, loss, misuse, alteration or corruption.

We have put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the data you provide to us.

Only authorised employees, and volunteers and contractors under strict controls will have access to your personal data.

Signing up to our newsletter

We call signing up to our newsletter 'becoming a Healthwatch Supporter' as this is how we inform you about all of our work and offer you opportunities to get involved in the design, commissioning, delivery and monitoring of local health and care services.

When you sign up to receive our newsletter, we also ask for some data about your personal characteristics. You do not have to give this. We collect this data in order to monitor whether we are reaching a broad sample of the local community.

Signing up to our public events

When you sign up to attend our events, we collect data on whether you have any access needs or dietary requirements. We collect this data in order to meet your needs and keep you safe at the event.

Information about people who share their experiences with us

There are a number of ways in which we collect feedback from people about their experiences of using health and social care services:

  • We are contacted directly from members of the public as part of our signposting service – for example, over the telephone, by email or when we run a stall.
  • We run surveys, focus groups and interviews.
  • Our staff and volunteers visit health and social care settings to evaluate how services are being delivered (this is called 'Enter and View').

We will only store information that is relevant and we anonymise information wherever we can, but there may be instances where we need to store personally identifiable data in order to: help us provide signposting support to you; anonymously report issues about health and social care in a balanced and accurate way; fulfil our monitoring requirements and deal with potential complaints about our service. However, if the data we store includes relevant legally defined 'sensitive data' (which includes health and disability data) we will ensure that we have your consent to keep it. There may be exceptional circumstances where we will keep the data without consent but we must have a lawful basis for doing so, such as for safeguarding purposes.

We ensure that where consent is required it will be freely given, used only for agreed specific and unambiguous purposes and that you are well informed about how the data will be kept and for how long. We will comply with current data protection legislation at all times.

Personal information received from other sources

On occasion we will receive information from the families, friends and carers of people who use health and social care services. We will store and share this anonymously wherever possible. Wherever it is practical, we will make sure that we have your consent to use data that is about you. We will only process your personal data where there is a lawful basis to do so under current data protection legislation.

Sharing information with Healthwatch England and the Care Quality Commission

We are required to share information with Healthwatch England to ensure that your views are considered at a national level. This contains no personally identifiable data. Any information that is used for national publications is anonymised and will only be used with the consent of a local Healthwatch. 

Find out more about Healthwatch England's purpose and what they do

We may also share information with the Care Quality Commission, who officially inspect health and social care services to ensure that they are fit for purpose. We suggest areas for them to focus on in their inspections based on feedback from patients and the public. Again, the information we provide to the Care Quality Commission contains no personally identifiable data. 

Find out more about the Care Quality Commission's purpose and what they do

How we share information with other organisations

Information is shared in order to fulfil our remit which is to pass on your experiences of care to help improve them on your behalf. We work with local commissioners and providers of services to make this happen.

We will only share information that is relevant, and wherever possible we will ensure that any information that we share is anonymised, so that you cannot be identified from it.

We will only disclose your personal data without anonymisation where we have your consent to do so, or where there is another very good reason to make the disclosure. For example,

  • We may disclose data to a local authority (usually Southwark Council) where we think it is necessary to do so in order to protect a vulnerable person from abuse or harm.
  • In very rare circumstances, we might need to disclose personal data in confidence to a commissioner or provider of services to enable action to be taken on serious concerns about the quality of care.
  • We may also share data to assist in the investigation of fraud or criminal activity, for the purposes of seeking legal advice or exercising or defending legal rights, or as otherwise required by the law.

Any such disclosure will be made in accordance with the requirements of the current data protection legislation and we would do everything possible to discuss it with you. We would take further care when this data might include sensitive information about you or your health.

Publishing information

When making our findings public, we always remove a person's name and key identifying details. We also remove or alter other details that might make the person identifiable, unless this has been otherwise agreed and full consent has been given.

Information about the use of our website

Please note that this statement does not cover links within this website to other websites.

When you browse through this website, it does not store or capture your personal data unless you fill in a form for this purpose (to sign up to our newsletter or tell us about your experiences). We do log your IP address (as it is automatically recognised by the web server) but this is only so you can download this website onto your device rather than for any tracking purpose; it is not used for any other purpose.

Please be aware that our website uses cookies – the website will tell you when this is the case. A cookie is a text file stored on your computer's browser. This file then enables the website server to identify the browser, in order to personalise the website for you. Find out more about our use of Cookies from the Healthwatch England website.

Information about our own staff and people applying to work with us

Our host organisation, Community Southwark, recruits and employs staff on our behalf and processes their data in order to carry out its role and meet its legal and contractual responsibilities as an employer. View Community Southwark's privacy statement. We publish our staff's names and contact details on our website.

Information about our volunteers and people applying to volunteer with us

Healthwatch Southwark recruits volunteers to support our mission. This involves processing information on qualifications and experience, and contact details.

We may also process information about volunteers' racial or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender and sexuality. We use this information to check we are promoting diversity among our volunteers and so that we can provide them with any necessary support to carry out their roles. Our volunteers decide whether or not to share this monitoring data with us, and can choose to withdraw their consent for this at any time by simply letting us know.

We check that people who volunteer for us are fit and suitable for their roles. This may include asking people to undertake Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

Your rights

Your right to access information about you

If you think we may hold personal data relating to you and want to see it please contact us at info@healthwatchsouthwark.org or call 0207 358 7005. We may require proof of identity in order to release personal data.

Your right to request correction or object to the use of your data

If you know that we are holding your personal data and believe that it may be wrong, or if you want it to be erased or for us to stop using it or restrict use of it, you have a right to request this and in many circumstances we will need to comply. Please make your objection in writing to info@healthwatchsouthwark.org. If you cannot use email, please call 0207 358 7005 for information on our postal address.

Your right to be informed

This privacy statement is a key part of how we inform you about the use of your personal data. We will also explain this at times when we might obtain data. If you require further information or have any concerns, please contact us at info@healthwatchsouthwark.org or call 0207 358 7005.

Your responsibilities

Please work with us to ensure that information we hold about you is accurate and up to date – for example, let us know if your contact details change.

Complaints about how we look after or use your information

If you have any concerns or complaints about the way we use your personal information, please contact us at info@healthwatchsouthwark.org or call 0207 358 7005. You can also contact our Data Protection Officer as detailed below.

If you feel that we have not met our responsibilities under data protection legislation, you have a right to request an independent assessment from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). 

View details on their website

Our contact details and key roles

Data Controller: Healthwatch Southwark, hosted by Community Southwark

Contact: info@healthwatchsouthwark.org / 0207 358 7005


Data retention schedule