We will help you understand what information is held about you and help you make choices about information you might want to see.
You have a right to see the information we keep about you, including the files and records written while you are in our care or after you have left.
You may want to find out more and understand an important event in your life, or you may want to see your whole record.
If you want information from your records about a particular time of your life or about specific things that have happened, your Personal Adviser can help you get it as part of your ‘life story work’.
Getting your information
if you want to see all the records that Children’s Social Care hold about you, or a large amount of information, or if you don’t get support from the Leaving Care Service any more, you can make an application for Access to Records (see below).
Life story work
But, if you want to see information from your records about a particular time of your life or specific things that have happened, you don’t have to follow the formal process and can have the information as part of ‘life story work’ as part of regular contact with your worker.
Life story work, allows you to build a picture of your life.
Examples of this information could be
- A summary of why you were placed in care
- Important dates in your life or a series of significant events
- The case notes of a particular event
- Copies of forms you have already been given or notes of meetings that were held with you
There may be others.
There may be some bits of information we will not be able to give you. If this happens, the law says we must tell you if we do not give your information to you, and why. For example, we cannot share information about other people, this could include your parents, brothers, sisters or friends.
Where you have an allocated worker, you don’t need to put your request in writing and we don’t need to ask you for formal identification like with the formal Access to Records process.
You just need to ask your worker in whatever way you like. This could be by having a conversation, by phone, text, email or using MOMO.
Access to Records
The process for getting access to your records allows you to request all the information we hold on you. If you do not have a Personal Adviser, or if you want access to a large amount of your file, or the whole file, the Access to Records process must be followed.
If your file is large, we will ask you to tell us exactly what you want first, to reduce the size of the information we give you. We will work with you to make sure you get your whole file, but we will provide it in stages.
We do this so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the size and content of your file. Also, we can’t process huge volumes quickly, especially if there is a lot of information that needs to be removed about another person.
Sometimes your record may have information about another person. We can’t share information about other people – this could include your parents, brothers, sisters or friends.
There are exceptions where you already know the information, or the other person has given their permission to share their information with you.
We can help you understand what is in your record, to help you make a choice about the information you want first. This could be your first year in care, or when you were a specific age, or information about a specific event.
To get access to your information under the Access to Records process, please fill in the form on the Council website. You can speak to your worker or contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 to get help with this.
We have 30 days to provide you with your information, unless it turns out to be a complex or large case. If this happens we will write to you to let you know, and we will extend the time it takes to provide you with your information up to a further 60 days (making 90 days in total).
We can provide extra copies but there will a charge for this.
We can refuse to give you your information, if it is clearly unreasonable, or if you have requested it before.