Privacy notice

We keep this privacy notice under regular review, and it was last updated on 28 March 2023.

Kent County Council respects your privacy and is committed to protecting your personal data.  This privacy notice will inform you as to how we look after your personal data and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.

Who are we?

Kent County Council collects, uses, and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so, we are regulated under the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (‘UK GDPR’) and the Data Protection Act 2018.  We are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information. Our Data Protection Officer is Benjamin Watts.

The Kent Public Health Observatory (KPHO) is a team within Kent County Council which provides analysis, knowledge, and evidence to improve health and wellbeing across Kent.

The personal information we collect and use

Information collected by us

In the course of providing a public health observatory service we do not collect personal information, but we do obtain personal information from other sources as follows:

  • NHS organisations such as NHS England, Integrated Care Boards, GP practices, and other provider organisations
  • Other parts of Kent County Council

The personal information is:

  • Descriptions such as socio-economic categories, levels of deprivation, household groupings, ethnicity, gender, age, smoking status, type of housing, locations like ward and lower super output area, frailty ratings, and likelihood of being re-admitted to hospital.
  • Health conditions such as diagnoses, procedures, test results, types of services used, and medications prescribed.
  • Records of births and deaths.
  • Health information such as appointment, admission, and discharge dates; and services used.
  • Social care information such as dates and amounts of services used.
  • Education information such as attendance and attainment.

Almost all personal information used in the Observatory is de-personalised so that individuals cannot be easily identified. There are strict safeguards on how this information is used to prevent re-identification of individuals.

We do use some personally identifiable data about births and deaths which has additional safeguards on its use.

How we use your personal information

We use your personal information to:

  • Improve health, care and services through research and planning (commissioning)
  • Understand if health and care services are working well and are value for money (evaluation)
  • Look for outbreaks of disease

How long your personal data will be kept

We do not collect personal information, but we do obtain personal information from other sources. All data will be held in line with the retention schedules of the organisations sharing data with Kent Public Health Observatory. These retention schedules will determine the length of time data will be kept.

Reasons we can collect and use your personal information

When we collect your personal data, we rely on the following legal bases:

  • Article 6(1)(e) - processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller

When we collect your ‘special categories of personal data, (such as health, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation) we rely on the following legal bases:

  • Article (9)(2)(h) - processing is necessary for the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services
  • Article (9)(2)(i) - processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health

We rely on condition 3 (Public Health) from Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018 when relying on Article(9)(2)(h) to process your special category data.

We take the following appropriate safeguards in respect of your special category data when relying on the conditions above:

  • We have a retention schedule which explains how long data is retained.
  • We maintain a record of our processing in our ‘Record of Processing Activities’ and record for any reasons deviating from the periods in our Retention Schedule.

If there is a significant threat to the health of the public, for instance, an outbreak of an infectious disease, the Council has the legal right to use identifiable data under:

Section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012) and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

Who we share your personal information with

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law or in connection with legal proceedings.

We will share personal information with our legal and professional advisers in the event of a dispute, complaint, or claim.  We rely on Article 9(2)(f) where the processing of special category data is necessary for the establishment, exercise, or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.

Your Rights

Under the UK GDPR, you have a number of rights which you can access free of charge, which allow you to:

  • Know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it
  • Ask to see what information we hold about you
  • Ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
  • Object to direct marketing
  • Make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office

Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to:

  • Ask us to delete information we hold about you
  • Have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • Object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • Object to how we are using your information
  • Stop us using your information in certain ways

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties. As we hold health and social care data in a de-personalised form it is not possible for us to honour your rights directly. Please contact your GP surgery to opt out of data sharing for health information and your social worker or case manager for social care information.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under the General Data Protection Regulation.

If you would like to exercise a right, please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, used, or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Covid-19 and your information

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Kent Public Health used patient information collected by health and social care services and national health bodies such as Public Health England to protect people in their area. This data was vital for researching, monitoring, tracking, and managing the pandemic.

Existing law allows patient information to be used and shared appropriately in a public health emergency. Under Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, Kent County Council is permitted to process Covid-19 data for the purpose of communicable disease surveillance.

We download, process and store person level pseudonymised Covid-19 testing data. This data is collected by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and accessed via their secure web portal. The list of data variables comprises episode number, latest episode indicator, age, sex, coronavirus test result and test date, Lower Super Output Area geographical code plus geographical lookups (such as lower tier local authority), whether the case is linked to a care home, care home ID number and care home name. All outputs are aggregated and anonymised.

When necessary, we use identifiable data for outbreak consequence management.

Kent and Medway Care Record

The Kent and Medway Care Record (KMCR) provides healthcare professionals with a joined-up view of an individual's care and treatment from multiple health providers. It contains automated, regular data feeds from acute hospital trusts, community services providers, mental health providers, GP practices and social care teams based in local authorities.

The Kent Public Health Observatory has access to a pseudonymised version of KMCR intended for secondary care purposes such as planning, population health management, business intelligence and research. See the Kent County Council KMCR privacy notice for further information.

Who to Contact

Please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at to exercise any of your rights, or if you have a complaint about why your information has been collected, how it has been used or how long we have kept it for.

You can contact our Data Protection Officer, Benjamin Watts, at

The United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner who may be contacted at telephone 0303 123 1113.

For further information visit