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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: 23 September 2022

Check whether you should make a subject access request to us

Social Work England is the regulatory body for social workers in England. We are not the employers of social workers. You can read more about our role and legislation.

Please carefully read the guidance on this page before you make a subject access request to us. In some cases, we may not be the right organisation to ask for your data.

Data we do not hold

We do not hold any of the following types of records:

  • social care records
  • social services case notes
  • adoption or fostering records

You should make requests for these types of records to the organisation that employs (or employed) the relevant social worker (or workers). This is often a local authority social services department. However, it could be a hospital, NHS health and social care trust, or charity.

Even if you do not know or remember the names of any social workers that were involved, we suggest making your request to the local authority for the area you live in (or lived in) at the time social services or social workers were involved.

You can use the GOV.UK search engine to find the relevant local authority.

For other places you can access records, view the section ‘other organisations you can make a subject access request to’.

Data we might hold

We are only likely to hold personal data about you if (any of the following apply):

  • you are a social worker
  • you are (or have in the past) been involved in a fitness to practise concern or case. This case could be about you, or a child you are responsible for
  • you work or previously worked for Social Work England

What is a subject access request?

A subject access request is a request you can make to an organisation. You use a subject access request to ask for copies of information that the organisation holds about you. We refer to this information as your ‘personal data’.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation gives individuals the legal right to make subject access requests.

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

Other organisations you can make a subject access request to

For health or medical records

For copies of health or medical records, you should ask (either of the following):

  • your GP practice
  • the hospital or health provider involved in the situation

The NHS website has more information about requesting records from the NHS.

For police or court records

For copies of police or court records, you should ask the police force or court involved.

This GOV.UK search engine can help you find your local court or tribunal.

For records about nursing or residential care homes

For copies of records about nursing or residential care homes, you should ask the residential or nursing home concerned.

If it is a council run home, the local authority for the area where the home is based may also hold the records.

How to submit a subject access request to us

Before submitting a request, please carefully read the information above. We may not be the right organisation to ask for your personal data.

You can submit a request using our online form or by using the contact details below.

Submit a subject access request (online form)

  • by email: [email protected]
  • by 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)
  • by telephone: 0808 196 2274

The information you will need to provide

You should tell us (as much of the following as you can):

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your email address
  • your Social Work England registration number (if you are a registered social worker)
  • the Social Work England registration numbers of any social workers involved
  • case reference number (for example starting ‘FTPS’, ‘CON’, ‘APP’ or ‘MOT’)

Please provide as much information as possible. Describing the information you are requesting will help us identify it.

You can find a social worker’s registration number by searching our register.

What happens after you submit a request

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.

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

In some circumstances, we may withhold some (or all) of your personal data. We will do this if it is necessary and proportionate to do so. For example, we may withhold your data to (do any of the following):

  • avoid prejudicing a legal inquiry
  • avoid prejudicing our functions in protecting the public
  • protect the rights and freedoms of others

These exemptions are set out in the Data Protection Act.

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

We’re legally obliged to respond within a specified time period

In most cases, this will be within one month.

Privacy notice

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

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