null Access your personal data or make a disclosure request

Access your personal data or make a disclosure request

Please note that due to the current circumstances and the need to prioritise essential services, our response to any information requests may take longer because of COVID-19 implications.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has advised that although they are unable to extend statutory timescales, they have advised individuals that they may experience understandable delays when making requests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please be aware that even though the statutory rights of individuals under data protection legislation remain unchanged, our resources are now limited and they may be spread across various compliance tasks at this time, which will likely cause delays. We will keep requesters informed of any delays and will respond as soon as our resources allow. The same applies if you are an organisation making a disclosure request for personal data the RSPCA might hold.

Please note that following government advice our offices are now closed, with our staff working from home. Therefore, we are currently unable to send any reports by post.

We thank you for your understanding while working with the RSPCA during the pandemic.

Your information rights

You have certain personal data rights you can exercise in relation to the personal information we hold about you.

The right of access

This is also known as a Subject Access Request or SAR. This is your right to receive a copy of your personal information held by the RSPCA.

Please note that a SAR only allows you to see your own data and not anyone else's, for example the person who reported you. Also, not all your personal data may be provided because the law allows for certain exemptions. We may ask for proof of identity when you submit your request. For more information, read our Subject Access Request Form and Guidance Notes.

The right to rectification

We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct, update or remove any information you think it is inaccurate. If you are a supporter or receive fundraising information, please email supportercare@rspca.org.uk or call them on 0300 123 0346.

For any other requests, please email data.protection@rspca.org.uk.

The right to erasure, or the "right to be forgotten"

You are entitled to have some personal data erased. However, this is a limited right and we may not be able to honour it all times. Please also note that we may require proof of identity of the person making the request.

To learn more, please see our Right of Erasure Guidance Notes (PDF 163KB).

The right to object

You are entitled to object to the RSPCA processing your information in some circumstances, for example if you would like us to stop sending you marketing emails. We will comply unless we can demonstrate a legitimate reason not to.

Rights in relation to automated decision-making and profiling

You have the right not to be subject to a decision that is based solely on automated processing of a decision that affects your legal rights or other equally important matters.

Please email supportercare@rspca.org.uk or call them on 0300 123 0346 to receive more information or to voice your concerns.

This is not an exhaustive list - check all your rights on the ICO website.

How to send your data request

You can email the RSPCA Data Protection at data.protection@rspca.org.uk or write to us at Data Protection Team, Legal Services, RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS.

Please feel free to use these contact details for any other general questions or concerns.

Third-party personal data requests

We want to assist the police, councils and other government or law agencies by sharing data wherever we legally can. Given that we are a private charity, we can only share personal information with such parties where a statute permits or orders us to. It is a common misconception that the information we process is in the public domain and can be made freely available.

As the data controller, we have a duty to ensure that any disclosure we make is both lawful and fair, as well as in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the ICO guidance on sharing data.

How to make a disclosure request for information to the RSPCA

As the requester, it is your responsibility to make your case for disclosure, provide strong evidence and explain how the information we provide will support your case. There is usually no obligation on the RSPCA to disclose, so the more context you provide, the easier for us will be to conclude that disclosure is necessary.

The following are examples of frequently used legal justifications we can consider. If unsure about the legal basis to support your request, please consult your own legal / data protection advisors.

Rely on an exemption under the DPA

Schedule 2, Paragraph 2 of the DPA (crime investigation/prosecution purposes or collection of tax/duty). Our Guidance Notes can help you structure your request (PDF 132KB). You can also ask for statements from RSPCA staff in the same way. We kindly ask that police submit information on their force's own version of an NPCC approved form. Other agencies are also welcome to use their own forms, but you can use the RSPCA Standard Disclosure Form (PDF 191KB).

Please be advised that the RSPCA is not a party to and therefore, unfortunately, cannot rely on Child Protection / Welfare legislation. Furthermore, the RSPCA does not provide disclosure under Schedule 2, Part 1, Section 5(3) of the DPA (necessary in connection with legal proceedings), as we are unable to carry out the impartial necessity test. It is for this reason that we cannot become involved in matters of a civil nature.

Schedule 2, Part 1, Paragraph 5(2) of the DPA (required by an enactment, a rule of law or an order of a court or tribunal). You can seek a court order, in which the necessity for disclosure can be assessed independently. Once served with it, we will respond by the set deadline. The type of Order we require in this instance must be explicit, in that the court must specifically order the RSPCA to disclose information to you and what this is exactly (in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rule 31.17).

Cite a legal provision requiring the RSPCA to disclose

If you are relying on a certain section of a statute for your disclosure, please state this clearly. Additionally, please ensure that the legislation you rely on covers an entity like the RSPCA to permit / require disclosure of information to third parties. It is often assumed that the RSPCA is subject to most statutes and regulations when this is not the case.

Ask for consent of the individual

In some cases, you may provide us with a written and explicit consent of the individual on whom information is sought. The consent should:

  • Clearly state that the RSPCA is authorised to disclose information to you
  • Include the printed name of the individual next to the signature and date signed
  • Include the name of the third party to whom the RSPCA may disclose information.

You must ensure that the consent provided to the RSPCA is freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. The ICO provides more guidance on valid consent.

How to submit your request

The RSPCA Data Protection Team at HQ deals with all disclosure requests.

We deal with queries in the order in which they were received. As a charity with limited resources and a high volume of requests, we ask and thank you in advance for your patience while we analyse your request.

If your enquiry is urgent, please state the nature of the urgency and what the deadline is - we can prioritise it then.

Share this...