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Believe in justice for all

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How to Complain about misuse of your personal information

This information was last updated: 17 April 2015

When can I complain?

A public body may have mishandled your personal information. This would include

  • holding inaccurate information about you
  • holding too much information or holding it for too long
  • losing the information they hold or disclosing it to someone they should not

You may have asked a public body for details of the information they hold about you and they have not replied.

How do I complain?

You should first raise your concerns with the organisation. This will give them the chance to put things right. Each organisation will have a complaints procedure.  You can look at our how to: guides for the Police and UKBA for example.

If you cannot resolve the complaint then you can ask the Office for the Information Commissioner to help (ICO). The ICO’s contact details are: –

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

The ICO has a very useful advice line if your are thinking about complaining to them – 0303 123 1113.

What can the ICO do?

The ICO will investigate and will decide if a breach of your data protection rights has occurred. It will also tell the organisation where it went wrong.

Can the ICO award compensation?

No.  If the way your personal information has caused you financial loss or damaged your health you may, if you can show the organisation was at fault, take them to court.  You have 6 years from the date the information was mishandled or 3 years if your health suffered as a result.  Our Public Law team can advise you about this.

What if I need my records quickly?

In addition to making a complaint you can go to Court to seek disclosure of your personal records. You should make a request first but if the organisation does not respond or refuses to disclose the information you should take legal advice about asking a judge to order the disclosure. Again our Public Law team can advise you about this.


The information provided in this How To: is general advice and information and Wilsons Solicitors LLP accepts no liability for its applicability to the facts of your individual circumstances.

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