2. Find out what data an organisation has about you

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to find out what information the government and other organisations stores about you.

Write to the organisation and ask for a copy of the information they hold about you. If you don’t know who to write to, address your letter to the company secretary.

The organisation is legally required to give you a copy of the information they hold about you if you request it.

When information can be withheld

There are some situations when organisations are allowed to withhold information, eg if the information’s about:

  • the prevention, detection or investigation of a crime
  • national security or the armed forces
  • the assessment or collection of tax
  • judicial or ministerial appointments

An organisation doesn’t have to say why they’re withholding information.

How much it costs

Some organisations may charge you for providing the information. The cost is usually no more than £10 but it can be more if the information is contained within either:

  • certain types of records, eg health or education records
  • a large number of paper records held in an unstructured way by a public authority