Personal information charter

Our personal information charter contains the standards you can expect when we ask for, or hold, your personal information. It also covers what we ask of you, to help us keep information up to date.

We hold personal data on the majority of the UK adult population:

  • the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) holds records on 42 million drivers and 36 million vehicle keepers
  • the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) holds details of 3.7 million tests conducted each year and 90,000 registrations for approved and potential driving instructors and 103,000 records on goods and passenger vehicle operators
  • the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) holds records on seafarers

It is very likely that we, or one of our agencies, will hold personal information about you.

Your privacy

We know how important it is to protect your privacy and to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. If we ask for your personal information we will:

  • let you know why we need it
  • only ask for what we need
  • make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services, and whether you can say no
  • only keep it for as long as we need to
  • not make it available for commercial use (such as marketing) without your permission

In dealing with your personal information, we will also:

  • value the personal information you give to us and make sure we respect that trust
  • abide by the law when it comes to handling personal information
  • consider the privacy risks when we are planning to use or hold personal information in new ways, such as introducing new systems
  • provide training to staff who handle personal information and respond appropriately if personal information is not used or protected properly

In return, to help us keep your information reliable and up to date, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible of any changes, such as a change of address

Find out what personal information our agencies handle:

How to find out what personal information we hold about you

If you want to find out if we or any of our agencies, hold any personal information about you, you can make a ‘subject access request’ under the Data Protection Act 1998. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it
  • tell you why we are holding it
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to
  • let you have a copy of the information in a form that is as clear and understandable as possible

Please be as specific as you can about the information you want, and, if it isn’t obvious, explain why you expect us to hold your personal information. To make a subject access request contact us or the relevant agency.

Note: there can be a charge of £10 for this information.

When we share information

We may share personal information within our organisation or with other bodies if it would be compatible with the purpose for which we collected it, and/or where we need to, or are permitted to do so by law.

There are some cases where we can pass on your information without telling you, for example to prevent or detect crime or to produce anonymised statistics. In all cases – whether data is shared internally or externally – we will act within the Data Protection Act and other law.

The training and guidance we give to our staff

All of our staff are trained in the importance of protecting personal and other sensitive information. Anyone working with large volumes of personal data, receives more in-depth training and takes refresher training each year. Managers who have formal responsibilities for large datasets receive more training.

How to make a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your personal information and want to make a complaint, please write to the Data Protection Officer at the relevant agency or the Department for Transport.

We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and send you a full response within 20 working days. If we can’t respond fully in this time, we will write and let you know why and tell you when you should get a full response.

Data protection contacts

Data Protection Officer
Department for Transport
Information Management Directorate
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex, TN37 7GA


For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, contact:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire, SK9 5AF