Who we are and what we do Merton Council is a data controller under the UK Data Protection law because we collect and process personal information about you in order to provide Adult Social Care services to our residents and communities. This enables the council to meet its statutory obligations under the Care Act 2014.Should you have further questions about Merton Council’s privacy practices please email: data.protection@merton.gov.uk. Visit Merton Council’s Privacy Notice web page.

or write to

Data Protection Officer London Borough of Merton Civic Centre London Road Morden SM4 5DX

Why do we collect your information?

In order to provide the right types of services and support you may need Adult Social Care must identify what your needs are.

Under the Care Act 2014 local authorities have a “legal obligation” to:

  • make decisions with you about how to provide the right kind of support services to meet your needs
  • make sure your support is safe and effective
  • work effectively with others who also provide you with support on their behalf
  • make sure your care is well coordinated
  • help investigate any worries or complaints you have about your care
  • keep track of spending on care services
  • check the quality of care
  • effectively research and plan new services
  • local authorities also have a duty to improve the health of the population they serve. To help achieve this, we use health and other data to support our Public Health function in order to understand more about health and care needs of the local population. Please remember that without your data Merton Council will be unable to assess your social care needs or be able to arrange or provide services to meet those needs.
  • Your information may also be used in the prevention of fraud, crime, evaluate the impact of specific services and programmes, such as the Government’s Supporting Families Programme, or research. Where it is used for research the data will be anonymised.

What is the source of your personal data?

Wherever possible your personal information will be collected directly from you. Where we get your information from another source we (Merton Adult Social Care) will

  • inform you as soon as we are able after obtaining the information
  • inform you if we disclose this information or plan to disclose this information to another party requiring this information.

What types of information do we collect?

Where required and relevant in assessing and meeting social care needs we may collect the following:

  • name and contact details
  • social care ID
  • NHS number
  • family and friend’s information particularly where they provide support
  • lifestyle and social circumstances
  • financial details
  • where you live, housing tenure and needs
  • visual images, personal appearance and behaviour. Note visual images may be held in relation to Safeguarding
  • case file information
  • physical or mental health details
  • racial or ethnic origin
  • nationality
  • gender
  • offences (including alleged offences)
  • religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • social care support outcomes
  • advocacy details
  • what you can and cannot do for yourself
  • information of people in your life that may pose a threat 

How we use your information

For Merton Council Adult Social Care to meet its legal responsibilities under the Care Act 2014 information may be shared with, and information requested from, other agencies, in order to meet the council's legal responsibilities and to ensure everyone involved with providing a service or support does so efficiently and effectively.

Your data will never be sold to a third party.

The information you provide will be kept electronically on the whole, although some information may be kept on paper files.

Be assured that:

  • all personal information provided is held in confidence
  • information is shared with other organisations on a need to know basis only
  • only individuals who require it will have access to your personal information
  • your information will be kept in a securely
  • you can ask to see what information the council keeps about you.

How you can access, update, restrict, remove or correct your information

Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself, called a Subject Access Request.

You will need to request this in writing and provide proof of identity. Visit the How to request a copy of the information we hold about you web page to learn more.

The accuracy of your information is important in helping us provide relevant services. If you wish to restrict data processing or sharing or do not want to be contacted by the council, please inform us. You can request that we remove your details from our systems. We will remove data in accordance with your wishes, excluding data we are required to keep by law. 

Who do we share your information with?

Your information may be shared with organisations and agencies both internally and externally:

  • health providers
  • NHS agencies (GPs, hospitals, ambulance, health visitors)
  • education providers
  • domiciliary care providers
  • residential/nursing care providers
  • day care providers
  • mental health services
  • government agencies (department of health, department of work and pensions)
  • other council departments
  • other local authorities
  • police
  • substance misuse agencies
  • advocacy services
  • fire and rescue services
  • prepaid card providers
  • direct payment support services
  • housing associations 

How Adult Social Care uses your NHS Number

Your NHS number may be shared with us if you are receiving support from adult social care. This ensures that the NHS and adult social care are using the same number to identify you whilst providing your care. Using the same number improves our ability to work together to improve your care and support.

To opt out

You have the right to opt out of Merton Council Adult Social Care receiving or holding your personal identifiable information. The National Data Opt-Out allows individuals to opt out of their personal information being used or disclosed for indirect care (research and planning etc).

There are occasions where service providers will have a legal duty to share information, for example for safeguarding or criminal issues.

The process for opting out will depend on what the specific data is and what programme it relates to. For further information, please contact the Adult Social Care and Public Health team by email at: public.health@merton.gov.uk or in writing to: Public Health, Merton Council, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX.

How long do we retain information?

We process many different types of information according to our retention policy. We will stop using your data when we no longer have a statutory reason to use your information unless instructed otherwise by a Court, the Home Secretary or Police.

We will stop using your data once you no longer are in receipt of support or services from us. The information will be held for designated amount of time (dependent on the type of record) before being deleted.

Below is a brief summary of long we will keep your information and the action taken at the end of the retention period. 

InformationRetention PeriodAction
Client Social Care file 7 yearsDestroy
Mental Health client file Up to 20 yearsDestroy
Occupational Therapy 6 yearsDestroy

The Information Commissioner's Office

The Information Commissioner is the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights. If you would like to know more about your rights under the Data Protection law, and what you should expect from us, visit the Information Commissioner's website

If you have a complaint or any concerns regarding our privacy practices or about exercising your Data Protection rights, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.