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Presiding Officer's Office: Correspondence and complaints

This privacy statement explains how we collect and use personal information for general enquiries and correspondence, including complaints to the office of the Presiding Officer. We are the data controller for this process.

Some of the language used in privacy notices can be specialised.  The Information Commissioner's website provides a useful introduction to key terms and concepts.


The purposes of the processing

The purpose of the processing is to enable the office of the Presiding Officer to send replies in response to enquiries and complaints that are received.

Categories of information processed

General enquires and correspondence, including complaints, may contain the personal data of the sender as well as any other individuals that are mentioned.

Correspondence will normally contain normal category data, such as your name, address, email address and telephone number.

Depending on the nature of the enquiry or complaint, *special category data and/or **criminal offence data may be processed, for example court references, health information, political affiliation, police and/or information relating to criminal records.

*Special category data consists of information revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purposes of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation.

**Criminal offence data consists of information about criminal convictions and offences, or related security measures.

Source of the information

This information is received from correspondence which may be provided to the office of the Presiding Officer by members of the public, MSPs and other elected and non-elected representatives (UK and abroad), public bodies and other external organisations.

Legal basis for processing

Data protection law states that we must have a legal basis for handling your personal data.

The legal basis for processing for the purposes of responding to enquiries and correspondence, including complaints is that it is necessary for performance of a task carried out in the public interest in accordance with Article 6(1)(e) UK GDPR and section 8(d) of the DPA. Engagement of the Presiding Officer with the general public and other organisations, including responding to any complaints, greatly increases the transparency, accountability and accessibility of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB). 

For special category data contained in correspondence and/or complaints sent to the Presiding Officer, processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest in terms of Article 9(2)(g) UK GDPR and section 10(3) DPA, in accordance with paragraph 6 (2)(b), Part 2, Schedule 1, DPA. For any criminal offence data contained in correspondence and/or complaints sent to the Presiding Officer, the legal basis is set out in Article 10 UK GDPR and section 10(5) DPA, together with paragraph 6 (2)(b), Part 2, Schedule 1, DPA. 

Data sharing

Complaints about the conduct of an MSP during a meeting of the Scottish Parliament will be made to the Presiding Officer. If the complaint is about a Member’s conduct at a committee meeting, the complaint will be made to the Convenor of the committee involved, unless the complaint is about the Convenor, in which event the complaint will be made to the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer or the committee’s convenor, as the case may be, may refer a complaint to the Standards Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee. 

The Presiding Officer may also receive complaints about a Member engaging with constituents. Where a complaint is received the Presiding Officer will share the complaint with the MSP who the complaint is about and, if necessary, with the respective Party Business Manager. If the complaint cannot be resolved or the complaint is sufficiently serious as to merit an investigation the Presiding Officer will share the complaint with the Convenor of the SPPA Committee. 

Otherwise, any enquiries and correspondence received that requires a reply may be shared with the relevant parliamentary official(s) tasked with providing advice and/or drafting the response. 

Retention of data

Enquiries are retained till the end of the calendar year plus three years, in accordance with the Scottish Parliament records management policy.

Complaints against Members of the Scottish Parliament that are considered by the Presiding Officer are retained till the end of the calendar year plus five years, in accordance with the Scottish Parliament records management policy.

Children and young people safeguarding and child protection

In line with the principles underlying the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014), published by the Scottish Government, our staff may report a concern to the relevant authorities if they come across an issue during their work which causes them to think that a child may be at risk of abuse or harm.

Your rights

Data protection legislation sets out the rights which individuals have in relation to personal data held about them by data controllers. Applicable rights are listed below.  You can exercise your data subject rights in particular circumstances depending on the purpose for which the data controller is processing the data and the legal basis upon which the processing takes place.

The following rights may apply:

Access to your information

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information about you that we hold.   

Further information on how to make a data protection 'subject access request'.

Correcting your information

You have the right to ask us to correct the personal data we hold about you. We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date and you may ask us to correct any personal information about you that you believe does not meet these standards.

Objecting to how we may use your information

You have the right at any time to require us to stop using your personal information for direct marketing purposes. In addition, where we use your personal information to perform tasks carried out in the public interest then, if you ask us to, we will stop using that personal information unless there are overriding legitimate grounds to continue. 

  • please note that the right to object to the processing of personal data does not apply where the data subject has consented to the processing, subject to the right to withdraw consent
  • the right to object to the processing of personal data for the purposes of a public interest task is restricted if there are legitimate grounds for the processing which override the interest of the data subject
  • the right of erasure and the right to object to processing of personal data do not apply where personal data is processed for the performance of a legal obligation. This will be considered on a case by case basis and depends on what personal data is involved and the risks further processing of that data could pose to you 

Deletion of your information

You have the right to ask us to delete personal information about you where:

  • you consider that we no longer require the information for the purposes for which it was obtained
  • we are using that information with your consent and you have withdrawn your consent – see Withdrawing consent to using your information below
  • you have validly objected to our use of your personal information – see Objecting to how we may use your information above
  • our use of your personal information is contrary to law or our other legal obligations
  • please note that the right allowing for deletion or erasure of personal data (right to be forgotten) does not apply in cases where personal data is processed for the purposes of the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. 
  • the right of erasure and the right to object to processing of personal data do not apply where personal data is processed for the performance of a legal obligation. This will be considered on a case by case basis and depends on what personal data is involved and the risks further processing of that data could pose to you. 

Restricting how we may use your information

In some cases, you may ask us to restrict how we use your personal information. This right might apply, for example, where we are checking the accuracy of personal information about you that we hold or assessing the validity of any objection you have made to our use of your information. The right might also apply where there is no longer a basis for using your personal information, but you don't want us to delete the data. Where this right is validly exercised, we may only use the relevant personal information with your consent, for legal claims or where there are other public interest grounds to do so.

Withdrawing consent to using your information

Where we use your personal information with your consent, you may withdraw that consent at any time and we will stop using your personal information for the purposes for which consent was given.

Please contact us in any of the ways set out below if you wish to exercise any of these rights. 

Changes to our privacy statement

We keep this privacy statement under regular review and will place any updates on this website.  Paper copies of the privacy statement may also be obtained using the contact information below. 

This privacy statement was last updated on 23 February 2021.  

Contact information and further advice

If you have any further questions about the way in which we process personal data, or about how to exercise your rights, please contact the Head of Information Governance at:
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0131 348 6913

(Calls are welcome through the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL.)

Email: [email protected]

Please contact us if you require information in another language or format

Complaints

We seek to resolve directly all complaints about how we handle personal information but you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office online at: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint.

Or by phone at: 0303 123 1113

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