Everyone has rights with regard to the way in which their personal data are handled.

Policy statement

  • During the course of our activities we will collect, store and process personal data about our students, staff, suppliers and other third parties, and we recognise that the correct and lawful treatment of this data will maintain confidence in the University and will provide for successful academic and business operations.
  • Data users are obliged to comply with this policy when processing personal data on our behalf. Any breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action.

About this policy

  1. The types of personal data that Bath Spa University (We) may be required to handle include information about current, past and prospective students, employees, officers, governors, suppliers and others that we communicate with. The personal data, which may be held on paper or on a computer or other media, are subject to certain legal safeguards specified in the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act) and other regulations.
  2. This policy and any other documents referred to in it set out the basis on which we will process any personal data we collect from data subjects, or that is provided to us by data subjects or other sources.
  3. This policy does not form part of any employee's contract of employment and may be amended at any time.
  4. This policy sets out rules on data protection and the legal conditions that must be satisfied when we obtain, handle, process, transfer and store personal data.
  5. The Data Protection Officer is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and with this policy. That post is held by the Head of Legal Services and Compliance, who can be contacted on +44 (0)1225 876018 or at data-protection@bathspa.ac.uk. Any questions about the operation of this policy or any concerns that the policy has not been followed should be referred in the first instance to the Data Protection Officer.

Definition of data protection terms

  1. Data is information which is stored electronically, on a computer, or in certain paper-based filing systems.
  2. Data subjects for the purpose of this policy include all living individuals about whom we hold personal data. A data subject need not be a UK national or resident. All data subjects have legal rights in relation to their personal information.
  3. Personal data means data relating to a living individual who can be identified from that data (or from that data and other information in our possession). Personal data can be factual (for example, a name, address or date of birth) or it can be an opinion about that person, their actions and behaviour.
  4. Data controllers are the people who or organisations which determine the purposes for which, and the manner in which, any personal data are processed. They are responsible for establishing practices and policies in line with the Act. We are the data controller of all personal data collected and used in our business for our own purposes.
  5. Data users are those of our employees whose work involves processing personal data. Data users must protect the data they handle in accordance with this data protection policy and any applicable data security procedures at all times.
  6. Data processors include any person or organisation that is not a data user that processes personal data on our behalf and on our instructions. Employees of data controllers are excluded from this definition but it could include suppliers which handle personal data on our behalf.
  7. Processing is any activity that involves use of the data. It includes obtaining, recording or holding the data, or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the data including organising, amending, retrieving, using, disclosing, erasing or destroying it. Processing also includes transferring personal data to third parties.
  8. Sensitive personal data includes information about a person's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition or sexual life, or about the commission of, or proceedings for, any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by that person, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings. Sensitive personal data can only be processed under strict conditions, including a condition requiring the express permission of the person concerned.

Data protection principles

  1. Anyone processing personal data must comply with the eight enforceable principles of good practice. These provide that personal data must be:
    • Processed fairly and lawfully.
    • Processed for limited purposes and in an appropriate way.
    • Adequate, relevant and not excessive for the purpose.
    • Accurate.
    • Not kept longer than necessary for the purpose.
    • Processed in line with data subjects' rights.
    • Secure.
    • Not transferred to people or organisations situated in countries without adequate protection.

Fair and lawful processing

  1. The Act is not intended to prevent the processing of personal data, but to ensure that it is done fairly and without adversely affecting the rights of the data subject.
  2. For personal data to be processed lawfully, they must be processed on the basis of one of the legal grounds set out in the Act. These include, among other things, the data subject's consent to the processing, or that the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with the data subject, for the compliance with a legal obligation to which the data controller is subject, or for the legitimate interest of the data controller or the party to whom the data are disclosed. When sensitive personal data are being processed, additional conditions must be met. When processing personal data as data controllers in the course of our business, we will ensure that those requirements are met.

Processing for limited purposes

  1. In the course of our business, we may collect and process personal data. This may include data we receive directly from a data subject (for example, by completing forms or by corresponding with us by mail, phone, email or otherwise) and data we receive from other sources (including, for example, schools or other educational partners, UCAS and others).
  2. We will only process personal data for the specific purposes which we have communicated to the data subject or for any other purposes specifically permitted by the Act. We will notify those purposes to the data subject when we first collect the data or as soon as possible thereafter.

Notifying data subjects

  1. If we collect personal data directly from data subjects, we will inform them about:
    • The purpose or purposes for which we intend to process that personal data.
    • The types of third parties, if any, with which we will share or to which we will disclose that personal data.
    • The means, if any, with which data subjects can limit our use and disclosure of their personal data.
  2. If we receive personal data about a data subject from other sources, we will provide the data subject with this information as soon as possible thereafter.
  3. We will also inform data subjects whose personal data we process that we are the data controller with regard to that data.

Adequate, relevant, and non-excessive processing

We will only collect personal data to the extent that they are required for the specific purpose notified to the data subject.

Timely processing

We will not keep personal data longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes for which they were collected. We will take all reasonable steps to destroy, or erase from our systems, all data which are no longer required.

Processing in line with data subject's rights

We will process all personal data in line with data subjects' rights, in particular their right to:

  • Request access to any data held about them by a data controller.
  • Prevent the processing of their data for direct-marketing purposes.
  • Ask to have inaccurate data amended.
  • Prevent processing that is likely to cause damage or distress to themselves or anyone else.

Data security

  1. We will take appropriate security measures against unlawful or unauthorised processing of personal data, and against the accidental loss of, or damage to, personal data.
  2. We will put in place procedures and technologies to maintain the security of all personal data from the point of collection to the point of destruction. Personal data will only be transferred to a data processor if they agree to comply with those procedures and policies, or if they put in place adequate measures themselves.
  3. We will maintain data security by protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the personal data, defined as follows:
    • Confidentiality means that only people who are authorised to use the data can access it.
    • Integrity means that personal data should be accurate and suitable for the purpose for which they are processed.
    • Availability means that authorised users should be able to access the data if they need them for authorised purposes. Personal data should therefore be stored on Bath Spa University’s computer system instead of individual workstations.
  4. Security procedures include:
    • Entry controls. Any stranger seen in entry-controlled areas should be reported.
    • Secure lockable desks and cupboards. Desks and cupboards should be kept locked if they hold confidential information of any kind. (Personal information is always considered confidential.)
    • Methods of disposal. Paper documents should be disposed of using the confidential waste disposal (white sack) system. Digital storage devices should be physically destroyed when they are no longer required.
    • Equipment. Data users must ensure that individual monitors do not show confidential information to passers-by and that they log off from or otherwise secure their workstation when it is left unattended.
    • Endpoint protection. Data users should ensure that portable devices (e.g. memory sticks, laptops and smartphones) employ PIN or password protection and encryption technologies.

Transferring personal data to a country outside the EEA

  1. We may transfer any personal data we hold to a country outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"), provided that one of the following conditions applies:
    • The country to which the personal data are transferred ensures an adequate level of protection for the data subjects' rights and freedoms.
    • The data subject has given his consent.
    • The transfer is necessary for one of the reasons set out in the Act, including the performance of a contract between us and the data subject, or to protect the vital interests of the data subject.
    • The transfer is legally required on important public interest grounds or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
    • The transfer is authorised by the relevant data protection authority where we have adduced adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of the data subjects' privacy, their fundamental rights and freedoms, and the exercise of their rights.
  2. Subject to the requirements in the clause above, personal data we hold may also be processed by staff operating outside the EEA who work for us or for one of our suppliers. That staff may be engaged in, among other things, the fulfilment of contracts with the data subject, the processing of payment details and the provision of support services.

Disclosure and sharing of personal information

  1. We may share personal data we hold with any member of our group, which means our subsidiaries, as defined in section 1159 of the UK Companies Act 2006.
  2. We may also disclose personal data if we are under a duty to disclose or share a data subject's personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply any contract with the data subject or other agreements; or to protect our rights, property, or safety of our employees, customers, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction.
  3. Every year, we send some of the information we hold about our employees and students to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). HESA is the official source of data about UK universities and higher education colleges www.hesa.ac.uk. The collection notices can be found at www.hesa.ac.uk/collection-notices.
  4. We may share personal data with employment agencies or prospective employers where they contact us to verify an individual’s details such as attendance records, examination results or degree classifications.
  5. Employees must make themselves aware of departmental guidelines setting out the types of personal data that may be disclosed and the circumstances in which disclosure is appropriate. We will arrange appropriate training for employees.
  6. We may also share personal data with relevant authorities, where we consider this appropriate. For example, we may share data with the police in the event of an emergency.
  7. Where we share personal data with third parties who are carrying out processing on our behalf, we will:
    • Enter into a written contract with the processor and require the processor to act on our instructions.
    • Ensure that our contractual arrangements set out each party’s obligations to ensure compliance with the Act.
    • Carry out appropriate checks into the third party’s security arrangements (technical and organisational) to protect the data.

Dealing with subject access requests

  1. Data subjects must make a formal request for information we hold about them. This must be made in writing. Employees who receive a written request should forward it to the Data Protection Officer immediately.
  2. When receiving telephone enquiries, we will only disclose personal data we hold on our systems if the following conditions are met:
    • We will check the caller's identity to make sure that information is only given to a person who is entitled to it.
    • We will suggest that the caller put their request in writing if we are not sure about the caller’s identity and where their identity cannot be checked.
  3. Our employees will refer a request to their line manager or the Data Protection Officer for assistance in difficult situations. Employees should not be bullied into disclosing personal information.

Records management

Any record containing personal data must be created, stored and disposed of in accordance with our Records Management Policy.

Research using personal data

Personal data processed for research purposes must not be used to support decisions with respect to data subjects or processed so as to cause significant damage or distress. Such data shall be anonymised prior to publication where possible. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to retain personal data collected for research purposes indefinitely.

Changes to this policy

We reserve the right to change this policy at any time. Where appropriate, we will notify data subjects of those changes by mail or e-mail. This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Data Protection Officer.

Date of last approval: September 2016
Approved by: Senior Management Team
Date of next review: September 2017
Department/Post responsible: University Solicitor

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