The London Borough of Merton is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your information.

What is the purpose of this document?

This privacy notice describes how we collect and use personal information about you during and after your working relationship with us, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and accompanying UK Data Protection legislation when enacted.

It applies to all employees, workers, and individual contractors.

The London Borough of Merton is a "data controller". This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. We are required under the data protection legislation to notify you of the information set out in this privacy notice.

This notice applies to current and former employees, workers and contractors. It does not form part of any contract of employment or other contract to provide services. We may update this notice at any time but if we do so, we will draw the updated version to your attention and/or provide you with a copy as soon as reasonably practicable.

It is important that you read and retain this notice (or ensure you have access to a copy) together with any other privacy notice we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so you are aware of how and why we are using such information and what your rights are under the data protection legislation.

Please note that not all aspects of this notice will necessarily apply to everyone working for us; and not all aspects of the processing that applies to employees will apply to workers and contractors and vice versa.

Data Protection Principles

We will comply with data protection law. This says that the personal information we hold about you must be:

  • Used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way;
  • Collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained to you and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes;
  • Accurate and kept up to date;
  • Kept for only as long as necessary for the purpose we have told you about; and kept securely.

The Kind of Information we hold about you

Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified, it does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).

There are "special categories" of more sensitive personal data which require a higher level of protection such as information about a person’s health or sexual orientation.

We will collect, store and use the following categories of information about you, including:

  • Personal contact details such as name, title, addresses, telephone numbers and personal email addresses
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Qualifications
  • Marital status and dependents
  • Next of kin and emergency contact information
  • National Insurance Number
  • Bank account details, payroll records and tax status information
  • Salary, annual leave, pension and benefits information
  • Start date, and, if different, the date of your continuous employment
  • Leaving date and reason for leaving
  • Location of employment or workplace*
  • Copy of driving licence
  • Copy of passport
  • Recruitment information (including copies of right to work documentation, references and other information included in your application form or separately as part of the application process.
  • Employment/work records (including job titles, work history, working hours, training records and professional memberships.)
  • Compensation history
  • Performance information
  • Disciplinary and Grievance information
  • CCTV footage and other information obtained through electronic means such as swipe card records.*
  • Information about your use of our information and communications systems *
  • Photographs *
  • Results of HMRC employment status check, details of your interest in and connection with any intermediary through which your services are supplied*
  • We may also collect, store and use the following "special categories" of more sensitive personal information:-
  • Information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions
  • Trade Union membership
  • Information about your health, including any medical condition, health and sickness records, including:-
  • Details of any absences (other than holidays) including time on statutory parental leave and sick leave; and
  • Referrals to the Occupational Health Service; and
  • Where you leave employment and the reason for leaving is related to your health, information about that condition needed for pensions, ill-health retirement or related purposes.
  • Information about criminal convictions and offences

If you are not an employee of the London Borough of Merton not all of the above list will apply, other than those items marked *.

How is your personal information collected?

We collect information about employees, workers and individual contractors through the application and recruitment process, either directly from candidates or sometimes from third parties such as employment or recruitment agencies, former employers, and referees. We may also collect information from third parties in relation to pensions or pension arrangements.

We will collect additional personal information in the course of job-related activities in throughout the period of you working for us, including as appropriate from your manager.

How we use information about you

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

  • Where we need to perform the contract we have entered into with you;
  • Where we need to comply with a legal obligation, for example to comply with legislation and statutory obligations, including the Equality Act 2010, Employment Rights Act 1996, the TUPE Regulations and related legislation, and other employment legislation and statutory reporting requirements that apply to all or most employers ;
  • Where it is needed for official purposes in relation to the Council’s tasks, duties, functions or powers or where it is needed to carry out a specific task in the public interest which is laid down by law, for example, powers or obligations under Local Government legislation such as initiatives under the Localism Act; or other legal requirements such as our Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.
  • We may also use your personal information in the following situation, which is likely to be rare: Where we need to protect your vital interests (or someone else’s interests).

Situations in which we will use your personal information

We need all the categories of information in the listed under "The Kind of Information we hold about you" above, primarily to allow us to perform our contract with you [*] and to enable us to comply with legal obligations [**]. In some cases we may use your information for official purposes in relation to the Council’s tasks, duties, functions or powers or where it is needed to carry out a specific task in the public interest which is laid down by law [***]; or our legitimate interests provided your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests [****]. The situations in which we will process your personal information include those listed below. We have indicated by asterisks the purpose or purposes for which we are processing or will process your personal information, as well as indicating which categories of data are involved.

  • Making a decision about your recruitment or appointment: [**] or [***] or [****]
  • Determining the terms on which you work for us: [*] or [**]
  • Checking you are legally entitled to work in the UK: [**]
  • Paying you and, if you are an employee for tax purposes, deducting tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs): [*] or [**]
  • Paying benefits to you such as occupational and statutory sick pay: [*] or [**]
  • Administering expenses [*] or [**]
  • Enrolling you in a pension arrangement in accordance with our statutory duties and the rules of the relevant pension scheme(s). [*] or [**]
  • Liaising with third parties (e.g. previous employers) in relation to pension arrangements. [*] or [**]
  • Administering the contract we have entered into with you [*]
  • The Council’s business management and planning, including accounting and auditing [**] or [***] or [****]
  • Conducting performance reviews, managing performance, and determining performance requirements: [*] or [****]
  • Making decisions about salary and compensation [*] or[**]
  • Assessing qualifications for a particular job or task, including decisions about promotions [*] or [**] or[***]
  • Gathering evidence for possible grievance or disciplinary hearings [**] or [***]
  • Making decisions about your continued employment or engagement [*] or [**]
  • Making arrangements for the ending of our working relationship [**] or [***]
  • Education, training and development requirements: [*] or [**] or [***] or [****]
  • Dealing with legal disputes involving you, or other employees, workers and contractors, including accidents at work: [**] or [***] or [****]
  • Ascertaining your fitness to work and referrals to occupational health [*] or [**]
  • Managing sickness absence [**] or [****] 
  • Complying with health and safety obligations [**]
  • To prevent fraud or if we need to report potential crimes [**] or [***]
  • To monitor your use of our information and communication systems: [**] or [***]
  • To ensure network and information security, including preventing unauthorised access to our computer and electronic communications systems and preventing malicious software distribution: [**] or [***] or [****]
  • To conduct data analytics studies to review and better understand employee retention and attrition rates [**] or [***] or [****]
  • Equalities/ Equal Opportunities monitoring: [**] or [***]

Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.

If you fail to provide personal information

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you (such as paying you or providing a benefit) or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations (such as to ensure the health and safety of our workers).

Change of Purpose

We will only use personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis that allows us to do so.

Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules where this is required or permitted by law.

How we use particularly sensitive personal information

"Special categories" of particularly sensitive information require the highest levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We have in place an appropriate policy document and safeguards which we are required by law to maintain when processing such data. We may process special categories of data in the following circumstances:

  • In limited circumstances with your explicit written consent.
  • Where we need to carry out our legal obligations or exercise rights in connection with employment.
  • Where it is needed in the public interest, such as for equal opportunities/ Equalities monitoring; or in relation to our occupational pension scheme

Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.

Our obligations as an employer

We will use your particularly sensitive information in the following ways including:- 

  • We will use information relating to leaves of absence, which may include sickness absence or family related leaves, to comply with employment and other laws and where necessary to manage sickness absence and calculate pay.
  • We will use information about your physical or mental health, or disability status, to ensure your health and safety in the workplace and assess your fitness to work, to provide appropriate workplace adjustments, to monitor and manage sickness absence and to administer benefits including statutory maternity pay, statutory sick pay and pensions.
  • If you apply for Ill-health related retirement /pension we will use information about your physical or mental health in reaching a decision about your entitlement.
  • We will use information about your race or national or ethnic origin, religious beliefs, or sexual life or your sexual orientation, to ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting and in relation to our equality duty. We will anonymise this data so that any identifying particulars or details are removed when it is used for statistical purposes
  • We will use trade union membership information to pay trade union premiums, register the status of a protected employee and comply with employment law obligations.

Do we need your consent?

We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal obligations or exercise specific rights in the field of employment law. In limited circumstances, we may approach you for your written consent to process particularly sensitive data. If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information we would like and the reason we need it, so you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us.

Information about criminal convictions

We may only use information about criminal convictions where the law allows us to do so. This will usually be where such processing is necessary to carry out our obligations and provided we do so in line with our data protection policy.

Less commonly, we may use information in relation to criminal convictions where it is necessary to protect your vital interests (or someone else’s interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.

We will only collect information about criminal convictions if it is appropriate given the nature of the role and where we are legally able to do so.

Where appropriate, we will collect information about criminal convictions as part of the recruitment process or we may be notified of such information directly by you in the course of you working for us.

We carry out disclosure and barring service checks where the work role involves working with or access to data relating to children, vulnerable adults or patients. A disclosure, or any associated correspondence, will not be retained for longer than is necessary for the recruitment decision to be made.

In general, this will be no longer than six months after the date on which the recruitment or other relevant decisions have been taken, or after the date on which any dispute about the accuracy of the disclosure information has been resolved. The period should be exceeded only in very exceptional circumstances, which justify retention for a longer period. In these cases we will consult the DBS, if appropriate.

Disclosure information will be destroyed by suitably secure means, e.g. shredding in the HR office. No photocopy or other image of the disclosure will be retained, nor will any copy or representation of the contents be made or kept.

A record of the following will be kept:

  • The date of a disclosure
  • The name of the subject
  • The type of disclosure
  • The position applied for
  • The unique number issued by the DBS
  • The recruitment decision

Automated Decision Making

Automated decision-making takes place when an electronic system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention. We are allowed to use automated decision-making in the following circumstances:

  1. We have notified you of the decision and given you 21 days to request re-consideration of the decision
  2. Where necessary to perform a contract with you and appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights.
  3. In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent and where appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights.

If we make an automated decision on the basis of any particularly sensitive personal information, we must have either your explicit written consent or it must be justified in the public interest, and we must also put in place appropriate measures to safeguard your rights.

You will not be subjected to decisions that will have significant impact on you based solely on automated decision-making, unless we have lawful basis for doing so and we have notified you.

For further information about the limited ways we employ automated decision making please refer to our Corporate Privacy Statement under "Protecting your security" on the Intranet.

Automatic decision making is at present only used in some recruitment processes where pre selection questions (e.g. in relation to key qualifications) must be satisfied in order for an application to progress.

Data Sharing

We may have to share your data with third parties, including third-party service providers.

We require third parties to respect the security of your data and to treat it in accordance with the law.

Why might you share my personal information with third parties?

We will share your information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to administer the working relationship with you, or purposes in relation to the Council’s tasks, duties, functions or powers, or where it is needed to carry out a specific task in the public interest which is laid down by law; or where we have another legitimate interest in doing so, but only where your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.

Which third-party service providers process my personal information?

"Third parties" includes third-party service providers (including contractors and designated agents). Some activities are carried out by third-party service providers including: payroll services, pension services and disclosure barring services.

How secure is my information with third-party service providers and other entities in our group?

All our third-party service providers are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.

What about other third-parties?

We may share your personal information with our other third-parties, for example in the context of the possible transfer of services. In this situation we will, so far as possible, share anonymised data with the other parties before the transaction completes. Once completed, we will share your personal data with other parties if and to the extent required under the terms of the transaction/contract in accordance with our legal obligations.

We may also need to share your personal information with a regulator or to otherwise comply with the law. This may include making returns to HMRC

Data Security

We have put in place measures to protect the security of your information. Details of those measures are available on the intranet under "Protecting your information".

Third parties will only process your personal information on our instructions and where they have agreed to treat the information confidentiality and to keep it secure.

We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty or confidentiality. We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

Data Retention

How long will you use my information for?

We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purpose we collected it for, including the purpose of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. Details of retention periods for your personal information are available in our retention policy are available from the Data Protection Officer unless there is an overriding legal hold

To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes though other means, and the applicable legal requirements.

Should you leave the organisation your personal data will be stored for a period of 6 years (or for longer for safeguarding). While you remain employed by Merton some data, for example disciplinary records, has specific retention periods as set out in the relevant HR procedures. If the role you held with us involved working with children, then your will be retained for 25 years for safeguarding purposes, and will be retained permanently if you are subject to a safeguarding investigation.

In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further notice to you. Once you are no longer an employee, worker or contractor of the Council we will retain and securely destroy your personal information in accordance with our data retention policy.

Right of Access, Correction, Erasure and Restriction

Your duty to inform us of changes

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes and during your working relationship with us.

Your rights in connection with personal information

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a "data subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request erasure of your personal information in certain circumstances. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us to continue processing it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
  • Object to processing of your information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example, if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your information to another party.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact the Data Protection Officer in writing at data.protection@merton.gov.uk.

No fee usually required

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights).

However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.

What we may need from you

We may need specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.

Right to Withdraw Consent

In the limited circumstances where you may have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time. To withdraw your consent, please contact the Data Protection Officer.

Once we have received your notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.

Data Protection Officer

We have appointed a data protection officer (DPO) to oversee compliance with this privacy notice. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how to handle your personal information, please contact the DPO at data.protection@merton.gov.uk. Whilst we hope you would contact the DPO in the

first instance, you have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.

Changes To This Privacy Notice

We reserve the right to update this privacy notice at any time, and we will provide you with a new privacy notice when we make any substantial updates. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.

If you have any questions about this privacy notice, please contact The DPO via data.protection@merton.gov.uk