Privacy Policy

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Privacy policy

Your privacy is important to us. Here’s how we protect and respect your details

At Action for Children, we’re honest, we’re analytical, we’re straightforward – it’s part of our values.

We apply these values to everything we do– including how we treat your personal information.

Your ongoing support is invaluable to us. Without it, we cannot continue to help the hundreds of thousands of children, young people, and families we reach every year, across the UK.

To keep your support, we know we need to earn your trust, so we treat your personal information as you’d expect – with respect.

Below is our promise to you – whether you’re a supporter, donor, fundraiser, campaigner, volunteer, foster carer, adoptive parent, or someone who uses our services: we’ve included an outline of how, why, and when we obtain and use your personal information, and how we keep it safe and secure.

Our promise to you

We are responsible for protecting your personal information, and we take this responsibility very seriously.

If you have any queries or concerns about how we use your personal information, please contact the Data Protection Officer:

By email: dataprotection@actionforchildren.org.uk

By post: Data Protection Officer, Action for Children, 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, WD18 8AG.

You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.

So, we promise…

  1. To only collect personal information (or ‘data’) from those who directly interact with us: supporters, donors, fundraisers, event attendees, volunteers, campaigners, foster carers (and/or those who make enquiries), adoptive parents (and/or those who make enquiries), those who use our services, those who use our website and those who request access to our records e.g. a genealogy request.
    Action for Children also, through collaboration with universities or research centres, at times apply for and act as data controller for national data on children such as National Pupil Data in order to analyse the characteristics, pathways and outcomes of children through the care or education system. We may therefore receive anonymised or pseudonymised data that we may use in our research as per point 13 below. Where we receive pseudonymised data we are unable to identify the individual that the information relates to.

2. We – Action for Children – may be the ‘data controller’ or ‘data processor’ in respect of your personal information depending on the service provided, and are responsible for what happens to it, where it goes, and who sees it … and you can hold us to account for this.

3. That we will never ever sell your data to third parties for their own marketing needs.

4. To collect the minimum personal information we need, limited, where relevant, to your:

  • Name
  • Age/date of birth
  • Gender
  • Contact number(s)
  • Email address(es)
  • Postal address
  • Contact preferences (do you prefer emails or SMS messages?)
  • Information for ‘market analysis’
  • Records of fundraising events you’ve attended
  • Campaigns you’ve supported
  • Lobbying events you’ve attended
  • Historical details relating to your foster or adoptive family (if relevant to you as an individual)
  • Record of your contact with us – whether a query, compliment, or complaint
  • For our research we may also process data relating to demographic information, education, ethnicity, health and social care.

5. To only obtain and use this information, where relevant, to:

  • Raise further awareness of Action for Children and the work we do
  • Help raise further funds to support children and families across the UK
  • Learn how best to contact you (and what about)
  • Keep a record of your support
  • Some information may be used to help us profile donors to support with our approach to communications
  • Progress applications (employment, volunteering, fostering, adoption) or any other enquiries
  • Learn how to improve our products and services
  • Learn about other audiences who may be interested in supporting the work of Action for Children (and the new products, services, and information they may be interested in).

6. To keep your data for personal information for:

  • As long as you are an active campaigner, donor, or fundraiser – and only for as long as necessary after your last interaction with us.
  • Up to five years if you make a genealogy request.
  • Up to six years in relation to Gift Aid (in compliance with HMRC regulations)
  • Up to seven years if you volunteer with us
  • As long as is necessary in relation to fostering and adoption and any other enquiries
  • As long as necessary if you have pledged a Legacy to us.

7. That you can opt out of receiving communications from us at any time.

We will only be able to send communications, updates, or information to those who have stated they are happy for us to do so.

8. That you can request to access, change, or delete your information at any time.

9. To only share your personal information with carefully selected third party partners, where relevant – and never for third party sale purposes – for:

  • Secure storage
  • Market analysis (looking at the types of people who engage with us, and why)
  • Screening data, so that we don’t send information to an old address, or call an old phone number
  • Emailing via our email partners
  • Calling you, via Ethicall
  • Sending printed material (newsletters, updates, magazines, appeals)
  • Securely processing Direct Debits
  • Looking for prospective supporters, of a similar background, via Facebook
  • Securely processing donations from text giving platforms, using selected partners.

But… please be mindful that our website may contain links to and from other websites – partners and affiliates – and they will have their own privacy policies, which we do not accept any responsibility or liability for.

10. That the previously mentioned third parties can only act on our strict instructions, in line with our contracts with them, and cannot use your personal information for any reason outside of those instructions, or sell those details to any other organisations.

11. To protect your personal information by:

  • Only keeping it for as long as is strictly necessary
  • Only passing it to carefully selected third parties
  • Anonymising your personal details when using data for market analysis
  • Encrypting your personal information when using it to develop new services or products, or looking for supporters of a similar background or age
  • Ensuring all online forms are encrypted and that our network is protected
  • Securely destroying your identity documents once we’ve acted on an Access to Records or Genealogy request
  • Acting upon any requests to view, change, or delete your information, within one calendar month unless the request is complex and more time is required.

12. If you are unhappy with how we’ve handled your personal information, or a complaint you’ve made in respect of this, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

13. Action for Children on occasion carry out research projects with the aim to improve well-being, care and services for children and their families within the UK. Sometimes this is in partnership with other organisations such as research funders or Universities. If Action for Children request the research they are often the Data Controller. Other times where Action for Children just use the information they are the Data Processor. Where AfC works in collaboration with other organisations there may be two or more Data Controllers. In these instances AfC will have agreements in place that outline the responsibilities of all parties. AfC promises to respect the confidentiality and sensitivity of personal information. When conducting research on outcomes where possible AfC collect, use and share anonymised data. The data will be kept in accordance with our data retention schedules. Personal data contained within such datasets will be safeguarded appropriately in order to protect the rights and interests of the data subjects and particular care will be taken with highly sensitive personal data such as gender, ethnicity, or disability, etc. Appropriate safeguards will be in place as follows:

  • The research will not cause substantial damage or distress to the data subject (i.e. substantial physical harm, financial loss or psychological pain). It will not be used to make any individual decisions about children.
  • The research will have approval from a research ethics committee.

The lawful basis for processing this data is legitimate interest. This is to support our research and campaigning aids that have a wider societal benefit. The special condition for processing special category data is Article 9(2)(j) Archiving, research and statistics. The associated condition set out in DPA (2018) Schedule 1, Part 1 that is relied upon for these research projects is condition (4) Research.

Who we are

1. In the legal sense

Action for Children is a leading UK children’s charity, registered in England and Wales (Charity Number: 1097940), and in Scotland (SC038092). We are also a company limited by guaranteed registered in England and Wales (company number: 04764232). Our registered office is at 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD18 8AG

Action for Children and other Action for Children Group Companies are the data controller for the information you give us. We use your consent, or legitimate interest, as the lawful basis for processing personal information.

2. In plain English

Action for Children is a charity supporting 604,885 children, young people, and families across the UK, every year.

We support them through practical, evidence-based programmes and services, proven to work:

  • Helping families stay together
  • Supporting children in their early years
  • Stepping in early to stop abuse and neglect
  • Finding loving foster and adoptive parents
  • Supporting young carers
  • Supporting children with disabilities
  • Steering young people away from trouble – into training and employment.

And we continue to campaign to change flawed policies – to make life better for children, from the moment they’re born.

We’ve been supporting children for almost 150 years – from our humble beginnings as the National Children’s Home to our role as Action for Children; protecting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and young people, right across the country.

In that time, we’ve worked with thousands of supporters, donors, campaigners, volunteers, foster and adoptive parents, and we continue to do so – as Action for Children.

We couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you for helping so many children.

Adoption and fostering

We will only ever use the information you provide, in our online form, for:

  • Sending you information about adoption and fostering
  • Contacting you follow-up calls
  • Market analysis

When we say ‘market analysis’, we’re simply looking to learn more about the types of people who might be interested in fostering and adoption, and we’ll always use minimal personal details when doing this.

However, you can contact us, at any time, to object to the use of your information for market analysis.

You can also withdraw your initial application, if you do not wish to go ahead and foster or adopt.

In terms of securely storing your information, this is done through our partners, SCN (Social Care Network), who manage a system called Charms on our behalf.

We only keep your information for as long as we need. If you decide to progress your enquiry to become a foster carer, or adopt, then the length of time your information is held changes, and is determined by law.

What information we collect about you

Using your personal information

Who we might share your information with

How long we keep your information safe and secure

How long we keep your information

Access to records and genealogy requests

If you make a genealogy request, to trace a member of your family, or request access to our historical records, we’ll collect information to:

  • Check your identity
  • Keep a record of all enquiries received
  • Help locate the information you’ve requested
  • Monitor our service

We’ll never share your data with any other organisation, unless required by law, and once we’ve acted upon your request, your identity documents will be securely destroyed.

Any other information in relation to your request, such as notes from meetings, is added to your file and stored according to the data protection legal requirements – for example:

  • For residential care files – 75 years from date of birth
  • For adoption files – 100 years
  • For Genealogy enquiries – 5 years
  • For all other files – 6 years (unless the law requires otherwise).

Campaigns

When you support us by campaigning – for example, lobbying government to change a policy affecting children – we collect the information you provide, but only with your consent, to:

  • Keep a record of your support
  • Send you relevant information about campaigns
  • Request further support
  • Keep records of our contact with you – updates or information we send, and any enquiries or complaints you make.

We may sometimes use your data for our legitimate interest, helping us to become more effective as a children’s charity – for example:

  • Understanding the types of people who support Action for Children
  • Finding new supporters of a similar background or age group,
  • Developing new products and services.

The data we use would be completely anonymised and we’d only use the minimum amount required.

We may share limited information about you with our third party partners, but this will only be so that we can contact you in relation to Action for Children campaigns, appeals, or updates on events or services.

As mentioned, these partner organisations can only act on our instructions.

And, if you’d rather this information wasn’t shared, you can ask to have it changed, withdraw your consent, or object to it being used (in our legitimate interests), at any time. See Your rights, below, for more details.

Fundraising, donations and legacies

When you support our work by fundraising; taking part in an Action for Children event (such as Spring Ladies Lunch or the Giant Wiggle); raising funds for us via a third party event (like the London Marathon); donating your own money or money raised by a group; or choosing to leave a gift in your will, we’ll collect the information you provide and only use it to:

  • Keep a record of your support
  • Keep a record of your preferred method of contact (phone, email, post, SMS)
  • Send you relevant information about our work, including campaigns or fundraising events
  • Ask for further support
  • Note fundraising events you’ve taken part in
  • Keep records of our contact with you – updates or information we send, and any enquiries or complaints you make
  • Keep information about donations and Gift Aid, to comply with HMRC requirements.

We may carefully use some of your personal information for our legitimate interests – fully encrypted – to help us in:

  • Understanding the types of people who support Action for Children
  • Finding new supporters of a similar background or age group
  • Developing new products and services
  • Understanding how we can improve existing products and services
  • Advertising those products and services to people with similar interests to you.

We may share limited information about you with our third party partners, but this will only be so that we can contact you in relation to Action for Children campaigns, appeals, or upcoming events.

As mentioned, these partner organisations can only act on our instructions.

We keep information about donations and Gift Aid for 6 years, to comply with HMRC requirements.

And, if you’d rather this information wasn’t shared, you can ask to have it changed, withdraw your consent, or object to it being used to help us (in our legitimate interests), at any time. See Your rights for more details.

Job applicants

Action for Children is the data controller for the information you provide during the process unless otherwise stated. If you have any queries about the process or how we handle your information please contact us at recruitmentservice@actionforchildren.org.uk.

Action for Children is the data controller for the information you provide during the process unless otherwise stated. If you have any queries about the process or how we handle your information please contact us at recruitmentservice@actionforchildren.org.uk. Our permanent recruitment and disclosure services are outsourced to the Guidant Global (who is a subsidiary of Impellam Group Limited), they will have access to the information on eArcu for the purposes of your application for employment with Action for Children/ Action for Children Developments Ltd (t/a “Spring Nurseries”).

Purpose and lawful basis for processing

What will we do with the information you provide to us?

What information do we ask for, and why?

Application stage

Shortlisting

Assessments

Conditional offer

Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE)

Use of data processors

How long is the information retained for?

How we make decisions about recruitment?

Your rights

Complaints or queries

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated on 2nd March 2021

How to contact us

If you want to request information about our privacy policy or to make a complaint you can email us or write to:

Information Governance Team, Action for Children, 3 The Boulevard, Ascot Road, Watford, WD18 8AG or email dataprotection@actionforchildren.org.uk

If – having contacted us about the use of your personal information – you are unhappy with our response, you can register a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.org.uk/concerns

Volunteers

We’ll only ever use the information you provide, and references from your chosen referees, to:

  • Assess and progress your application
  • Contact you regarding volunteer opportunities

Your information is securely stored with Better Impact, a data storage company in Canada – a country recognised as providing robust protection by the European Commission.

You can find more details on Better Impact’s Privacy Policy here.

How we use profiling

We are grateful for every single penny we receive from our supporters – every penny that goes towards changing children’s lives for the better.

But we want to ensure that what we ask of our supporters is fair, reasonable, and relevant, to them.

For this reason, we do something called ‘profiling’.

It’s standard practice across the charity sector, and simply means we look at your personal information – your background – and consider what’s appropriate to ask of you, or send to you.

We do this manually, by looking at information that you’ve given us, or information that’s publicly available – for example, on social media and other public sources.

It means we can tailor communications so that they are relevant (perhaps in relation to one of our services in your area), timely, and respectful – only asking for donations that are within a supporter’s means, or appropriate for those who may be able/willing to give more than they already do.

It also enables us to identify those who are in the fortunate position of being able to help us fund entire projects or services, and whether they would like to meet us to develop a more personal relationship and/or discuss future opportunities to support our work in helping children.

In turn, this approach means we can raise funds sooner, and more cost-effectively – something we know to be of great importance to our supporters.

If you would rather your personal information is not used for the purposes of profiling, please contact us using the details in the Your rights section of this policy.

Your rights

You have the right to:

  • Ask what information we hold about you – and be given that information
  • Ask us to correct, change, or update any information we hold about you
  • Withdraw your consent for us to use your information
  • Ask us to delete your information entirely
  • Make a complaint or ask any other question in relation to your information

In relation to fundraising, legacies, donations or campaigns, you have the right to:

  • Opt out of communications
  • Object to your data being processed by us (for legitimate interests) – for market research/analysis purposes

The above rights do not apply in all circumstances and this will be explained when you make the request.

If you wish to do any of the above, please contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 123 2112, or email dataprotection@actionforchildren.org.uk

You can also write to us at:

Action for Children,
3 The Boulevard,
Ascot Road,
Watford
WD18 8AG.

If – having contacted us about the use of your personal information – you are unhappy with our response, you can register a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office. If you are based in Guernsey you should contact the Office of the Data Protection Authority.

Privacy policy updates

Our Privacy Policy is regularly reviewed, and may be updated, based on certain requirements.

With that in mind, you are advised to revisit the policy for the most up-to-date information.

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