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Subject access requests

You have the legal right to request a copy of the information we hold about you.

Subject access requests

Last updated: 26 February 2021

About subject access requests

Our role is to regulate social workers and education and training courses and qualifications for social workers in England. This means we hold information about concerns raised about social workers and those courses/qualifications.

We do not hold social work case notes or information about social workers’ interactions with members of the public unless a complaint/concern has been raised about the social worker’s fitness to practise and that case has been part of the complaint/concern.

You have the legal right to request a copy of the information we hold about you, in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). This is called making a subject access request.

We’re legally obliged to respond within a specified time period. In most cases, this will be within one month.

Who we hold information about

We would usually only hold your personal data if:

  • you’re a social worker
  • a fitness to practise concern has been raised about your social worker and your case has been relevant to that concern.

If you're a social worker

If you’re a social worker, you can view the personal registration details we hold about you, (such as your name, address and email address) on your online account.

You can read more about the other types of information we hold about you in our privacy notice.

If you're a member of the public

Before submitting your request, please consider the following:

  • If you need social work case notes about you or someone else, you should contact the social worker’s employer or local authority.
  • If you need records relating to a care home, you should contact the care home directly, or the relevant local authority, depending on the nature of the information you’re looking for.
  • If you have raised a concern about your social worker’s fitness to practise, we would only hold the data that was required to assist with our investigation into this concern.

You may not be entitled to all the information we hold about you

In some circumstances you may not be entitled to all of the information we hold about you. For example, in situations where withholding the information would be necessary and proportionate to avoid prejudicing a legal inquiry or our functions in protecting the public, or to protect the rights and freedoms of others. These exemptions are set out in the Data Protection Act.

If we refuse your request on the basis of an exemption, we will explain why we made this decision. You can ask for an internal review of such a decision. You can also make a complaint to the Information Commissioner or seek to enforce your right of access through a judicial process.

How to submit a subject access request

What information you need to provide

If you want to submit a subject access request, please tell us your:

  • full name
  • email address
  • date of birth
  • registration number, or your social worker’s registration number (you can find this on our register of social workers)
  • case reference number, if relevant

You should also provide a description of the information you would like to receive. Please include as much information as possible to help us find your information, such as:

  • dates
  • reference numbers
  • names of the people you have been communicating with

We need to be satisfied that you are who you say you are. This means that we may ask you to provide evidence of your identity. We do this to protect your information, so that we can make sure that we’re providing a response to the right person.

Where to send your request

You can submit your request using the contact details below:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Post: Information Request, Social Work England, 1 North Bank, Blonk Street, Sheffield, S3 8JY. If you write to us by post, please include the email or postal address you want us to reply to.
  • Phone: 0808 196 2274

More information

You can find more information about accessing your data from the Information Commissioner's Office.

If you want more information about how we handle your data, please read our privacy notice.

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