Personal information charter

This charter sets out what customers, contractors and employees can expect from APHA when we ask for or hold their personal information.

Data controller

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the data controller for the personal data you give APHA.

APHA also works with the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government and we are joint controllers for any relevant personal data.

For Scotland: visit the Scottish Government website privacy policy.

For Wales: visit the Welsh Government website and search for personal information charter.


The Defra group is committed to the responsible handling and security of personal data.

Your privacy is important to us and protected in law by the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018).

We must provide you with information setting out how we process your personal data. This is set out below.

This is intended to apply to any Defra group organisation website, application, product, software, or service that links to it (collectively, our ‘services’). A service will link directly to a specific privacy notice that outlines the particular privacy practices of that service.

When we make changes, we will update the relevant privacy notice and do our best to let you know. We can only do this, if you let us have your contact details, your preferred forms of communication and you inform us of any changes to these.

Privacy notices

This personal information charter outlines individuals’ rights when we process your data. It focuses on the high level requirements and who to contact to exercise your rights.

More detailed information on how we manage personal data for each of our functions is included within our privacy notices.


Transparency is an overarching obligation under the UK GDPR, which applies in 3 key areas:

  1. Providing ‘fair processing’ to people whose personal data is being processed.
  2. How data controllers communicate with data subjects in relation to their rights under the UK GDPR and DPA 2018.
  3. How data controllers enable data subjects to exercise their rights under the UK GDPR and DPA 2018.

Transparency is a long-established feature of UK law. It is about engendering trust in the processes which affect citizens by enabling them to understand, and if necessary, challenge those processes. It is also an expression of the principle of fairness in relation to the processing of personal data.

Under the UK GDPR, in addition to the requirements that personal data must be processed lawfully and fairly, transparency is included as a fundamental aspect of these principles. Transparency is intrinsically linked to fairness and the new principle of accountability under the UK GDPR. The controller must also be able to demonstrate that personal data are processed in a transparent manner.

Personal data

What is personal data

Personal data is information relating to an identifiable, living person.

Some personal data is more sensitive in nature and requires more careful handling. The UK GDPR defines ‘special categories of personal data’ as data relating to a living person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health or data concerning someone’s sex life or sexual orientation.

Who the UK GDPR applies to

The UK GDPR applies to UK ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’ and puts legal obligations upon them in respect of their handling of personal data.

A controller determines the purposes and means of processing personal data.

A processor is responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller.

If you are a processor, the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you; for example, you are required to maintain records of personal data and processing activities. You will have legal liability if you are responsible for a breach.

However, if you are a controller, you are not relieved of your obligations where a processor is involved – the GDPR places further obligations on you to ensure your contracts with processors comply with the GDPR.

The GDPR applies to processing carried out by organisations operating within the EU. It also applies to organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU.

The GDPR does not apply to certain activities including processing covered by the Law Enforcement Directive, processing for national security purposes and processing carried out by individuals purely for personal or household activities.

Defra group

The Defra group is a number of separate legal entities and organisations which are grouped into separate data controllers:

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and its executive agencies:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
  • Rural Payments Agency (RPA)
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)

Non-departmental public bodies:

  • Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • Environment Agency (EA)
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
  • Natural England (NE)

Non-ministerial department:

  • Forestry Commission (FC)

Your rights

You have rights under the UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 and they are listed out in full on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Using your personal data

We process your personal data in a number of ways to deliver public services. We will look to inform you at the point of collection via a privacy notice, the reason we need your information, how your information is being collected, what we will do with it and who we will share it with. In some cases we may pass it on to our agents/representatives to do these things on our behalf.

Sharing your personal data

We share or disclose personal data where we are required to so by law or to provide services to fulfil our public task. Where we know there is a requirement to share your personal data we will tell you why and who we will share your personal data with. We will ensure that the data processor agrees to handle your personal data in conformity with your rights.

Publishing your personal data

Public bodies are required to be transparent about the use of money, for example, and in some cases this may require the publication of personal information. Data published in these cases will balance the needs for transparency compared to your privacy rights. Examples where we publish personal data are:

  • Senior Executive salaries
  • Public registers
  • Publication of beneficiary information

We may have to release personal data and commercial information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, we will not permit any unwarranted breach of confidentiality, nor will we act in contravention of our obligations under data protection laws.

Anonymised or non-personal data may be shared in support of public tasks, and where possible disclosed under an Open Government Licence.

Keeping your personal data

Public bodies retain information for various reasons, primarily to ensure accountability. When we no longer need personal data, arrangements are made to securely delete or destroy it. Retention periods are set in line with statutory, regulatory, legal, security reasons or for their historic value. Details will be on the relevant privacy notice.

Updating your personal data

If you discover that the personal data we hold about you is inaccurate, or incomplete, please contact us (see the ‘How to contact us’ section), so we can update your records. When doing so, please explain where you have seen it and what data you feel is inaccurate. We will aim to respond to you within one month but may extend this period to two if the request is complicated.

Where we maintain that the original information held was accurate, we will explain why. If you do not agree with our decision, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, as detailed in this Personal Information Charter.

Requesting your personal data

You can ask to see what data we hold about you. This is called a ‘subject access request’. Send your written request to APHA (see the ‘how to contact us’ section).

On receipt of your request we will acknowledge it and may ask for proof of your identity.

We will respond within one month, and exceptionally extend this by up to 2 further months in complex cases, i.e, up to 3 months in total. For example, If we determine that the costs or resources to provide you with all of the data requested would be excessive, we may have to refuse your request or ask you to provide a contribution to meet these costs.

We will respond within one month, and exceptionally extend this by up to two months in complex cases. If we determine that the costs and or resources to provide you with all of the data requested, would be excessive due to the volume, we may have to refuse your request or ask you to provide a contribution to meet these costs.

When you ask to see information we hold it is helpful to include as much information as possible to help us find the data you want, for example, tell us the functions, schemes, or transactions and dates that you want to know about.

Transfer of personal data outside of the European Economic Area

There are instances where personal data is stored outside the UK and European Economic Area. However, in most cases personal data is not transferred or stored outside of the UK or European Economic Area.

If your personal data is processed outside the UK or European Economic Area, you will be informed of this and the safeguards that are in place to protect your personal data.

You have the right to request that:

  • we no longer process your personal data
  • we delete your personal data at any time

However, these rights applies where we are processing your personal data on the basis of your consent only or if it is no longer necessary for us to keep your personal data. These rights do not apply when we are required to keep and use the data to comply with a legal obligation, performance of a contract or public interest task or in the exercise of our official authority.

We may also refuse such requests for the purposes of public health exercise or defence of legal claims or archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research, historical research, or statistical purposes. Where this is the case, we will advise you of this. Before deleting personal data, we may anonymise it so that people are not identifiable and use the anonymised data for analysis and statistical purposes.

Authorise a third party to access your data or act as your representative

To nominate a third party to access you data held by APHA or act as your representative or agent on your behalf, please complete the APHA third party access authorisation form and send to APHA.

Consequences if you do not supply the requested personal data

If you do not supply the requested personal data it is more than likely that the service you are applying for or wish to use will not be available to you.

This may have consequences in terms of non-compliance, for example not complying with specific legislation. We collect only the minimum personal data that is necessary for us to offer the services to you.

Use of personal data for automated decision-making

Your personal data may be subject to automated decision-making. You will be informed where automated decision making applies including profiling, and the envisaged consequences of such processing.

Make a complaint about how your personal data has been handled

If you think your data has been misused or that the organisation holding it hasn’t kept it secure, you should contact them and tell them. For APHA contacts, see the table below.

How to contact us

For day to day use, please look to contact the team you are already communicating with. They are best placed to manage general enquiries or to update the accuracy of your data, or provide you with information.

However, if they cannot help you, or you have a complaint about how your data is being handled, please use the following contact, making it clear which right you wish to exercise:

Request Contact
Make a complaint Follow APHA’s complaints procedure
Report a data breach Email include ‘data breach’ in the subject
Update your details Email or write to Data Protection Manager, Animal and Plant Health Agency, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP
Ask to see your data Email or write to Access to Information Manager c/o Records Management, Weybourne Building, APHA Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey , KT15 3NB
Withdraw consent or request your data is deleted Email or write to Data Protection Manager, Animal and Plant Health Agency, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP
Authorise a third party to access your data or act as your representative Fill in the authorisation form

The Defra Data Protection Officer is responsible for monitoring that APHA is meeting the requirements of data protection legislation and they can be contacted at:

Defra Group Data Protection Officer
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
SW Quarter, 2nd floor
Seacole Block
2 Marsham Street


If you’re unhappy with the response or if you need any advice you should contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who are the supervisory authority.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Any complaint to the Information Commissioner is without prejudice to your right to seek redress through the courts. Should you wish to exercise that right full details are available on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Changes to our personal information charter

We keep our personal information charter under regular review. It was last updated on 16 February 2023.