Personal information charter

This information charter sets out the standards you can expect from the Cabinet Office when we request or hold information ('personal data') about you, or if you follow us on Twitter.

‘Personal data’ is information that relates to identifiable living individuals. It does not include information relating to dead people, groups of people, organisations or businesses. The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the management of personal data.

We may need to handle personal information about you so that we can provide better services for you. This is how we look after that information.

When we ask you for personal information, we promise:

  • to make sure you know why we need it
  • to ask only for what we need, and not to collect too much or irrelevant information
  • to protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • to let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services – and if you can say no
  • to make sure we don’t keep it longer than necessary
  • not to make your personal information available for commercial use without your permission

In return, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes, such as a new address

This helps us to keep your information reliable and up to date.

You can get more details on:

  • how to find out what information we hold about you and how to ask us to correct any mistakes
  • agreements we have with other organisations for sharing information
  • circumstances where we can pass on your personal information without telling you, for example, to prevent and detect crime or to produce anonymised statistics
  • our instructions to staff on how to collect, use and delete your personal information
  • how we check the information we hold is accurate and up to date
  • how to make a complaint

For more information, contact:

FOI Team
Cabinet Office
Room 120
70 Whitehall

Email: FOI team

When we ask you for information, we will keep to the law, including the Data Protection Act 1998. For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data-sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 Fax: 01625 524510 ICO website

Twitter policy

Twitter accounts are managed by the digital communications team in the Cabinet Office.

We do not use any automation (such as tools which generate tweets from RSS feeds) to post content on Twitter. If you follow one of our accounts, you can expect tweets covering the following:

  • relevant news stories and press releases
  • occasional live coverage of events
  • updates on relevant Cabinet Office programmes
  • links to relevant speeches and announcements by UK government departments
  • other information we think is relevant to you

If we follow an account it does not imply endorsement of any kind.

@ messages and direct messages

We review all @ messages every day, but as a general rule we do not reply to them. Even if we do not reply to you directly, that does not mean we aren’t listening to you. In most circumstances we will not reply to direct messages. The limitations of Twitter’s format mean that we would not be able to give you a full and useful reply. We cannot engage on issues of party politics.

Twitter and FOI

For Freedom of Information (FOI) requests we will usually ask you to provide email details to reply to and then process the request that way. Where we can reply in 140 characters we may do so.

Twitter policy for @UKResilience, the Civil Contingencies Secretariat

The @UKResilience Twitter account is managed by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat within the Cabinet Office.

The account is aimed at the resilience community:

  • organisations classified under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA) as Category 1 responders (organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies - emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies)
  • Category 2 responders (co-operating bodies such as government agencies and utility companies etc)
  • government departments
  • the Devolved Administrations
  • voluntary sector
  • academia
  • businesses/organisations interested in improving resilience to natural hazards, major accidents and malicious attacks

While the information is not specifically aimed at the public, we aim to be open and transparent about our work and some of it might be of interest to individuals wishing to improve their or their community’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

Sometimes we will be directing responders to a restricted site – the National Resilience Extranet - which is designed specifically for the responder community to share information and work in a protected environment due to the sensitive nature of some of our work.

If you follow us, you can expect tweets covering some or all of the following:

  • developments in central government policy and practice on UK resilience
  • alerts about new content on our other digital channels, particularly the UK Resilience Gateway email tool, bulletin notices, website updates, news, publications, publicity campaigns etc
  • signposting of new case studies / relevant documents on the National Resilience Extranet (a secure web-based browser tool that enables responders to have access to key information up to and including restricted level, for multi-agency working and communications)
  • invitations to provide feedback on specific issues on which we are consulting
  • information from our resilience teams about what they’re doing
  • information on developments in EU Civil Protection and activity within the European Union

We will not normally comment or share information on the response to ongoing emergencies through this account.

Following @UKResilience

If you follow us we will not automatically follow you back. However, being followed by us does not imply endorsement of any kind.

Availability of @UKResilience

We will normally only update and monitor our Twitter account during office hours, Monday to Friday. Twitter may occasionally be unavailable and we accept no responsibility for lack of service due to Twitter downtime.

The account was activated in August 2012. It will be kept under review and an assessment will be made in August 2013 as to the success of the account and whether it has proved to be a worthwhile communication tool.

@Replies and direct messages

We welcome feedback and ideas from all our followers, and endeavour to join the conversation where possible. However, we are not able to reply individually to all the messages we receive via Twitter. We read all @replies and direct messages and ensure that any emerging themes or helpful suggestions are passed to the relevant people within the department.

We cannot engage on issues of party politics or answer questions which break the rules of our general comments policy.

Contact details

The usual ways of contacting us for official correspondence are as follows:

Civil Contingencies Secretariat
Cabinet Office
3rd Floor
35 Great Smith Street