Personal information charter

How the Veterinary Medicines Directorate treats your personal information and how to check what details are held on file.

Personal information charter

This information charter sets out the standards you can expect from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) when we collect, hold or use your personal information.

The VMD is committed to the responsible handling and security of personal data. Your privacy is important to us and protected in law through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), and the Law Enforcement Directive. 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 VMD 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.


The EU’s Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has issued guidance on transparency requirements necessary to comply with GDPR:

Transparency is an overarching obligation under the GDPR applying to three central areas: (1) the provision of information to data subjects related to fair processing; (2) how data controllers communicate with data subjects in relation to their rights under the GDPR; and (3) how data controllers facilitate the exercise by data subjects of their rights. Insofar as compliance with transparency is required in relation to data processing under Directive (EU) 2016/6803, these guidelines also apply to the interpretation of that principle.

Transparency is a long established feature of the law of the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom). It is about engendering trust in the processes which affect the citizen 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 expressed in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Under the GDPR (Article 5(1) (a) 6), in addition to the requirements that data must be processed lawfully and fairly, transparency is now included as a fundamental aspect of these principles.

Transparency is intrinsically linked to fairness and the new principle of accountability under the GDPR. It also follows from Article 5.2 that the controller must be able to demonstrate that personal data are processed in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject.

What is personal data

Personal data is data that identifies an individual directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as their name or a reference number. Some personal data is more sensitive in nature and requires more careful handling. GDPR defines “special categories of personal data” which means 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 does the GDPR apply to

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has set out its view on who GDPR applies to:

  • The GDPR applies to ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’
  • 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/household activities

VMD as part of the Defra group

The VMD is part of the Defra group that comprises 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)
  • 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)

What are my rights

You have rights under the General Data Protection Regulation, the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) are listed out in full in the ICO’s website

How we use your 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(s) we need your information, how we are collecting your information, what we will do with it and who we will share it with.

When we share personal data

We share or disclose personal data where we are required to do 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 data in conformity with your rights.

When we publish 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

We may have to release personal data and commercial information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We may share anonymized or non-personal data in support of public tasks, and where possible disclosed under an Open Government Licence.

How long will we keep 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.

Records periods are set in line with statutory, regulatory, legal, security reasons or for their historic value. Details will be on the relevant Privacy notice.

What if my details are inaccurate or incomplete

If you discover that the personal data we hold about you is inaccurate, or incomplete, please contact us 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. See How to contact us for contact details.

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 ICO, as detailed in this Personal Information Charter.

How do I ask to see the data we hold about you

You can ask to see what data we hold about you. This is called a ‘subject access request’. Send your written request to the VMD’s address in the How to contact us section below.

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 two months in complex cases. If we determine that the costs and or resources to provide you with all of the data requested, 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.

Do you transfer my personal data outside of the European Economic Area

There are instances where personal data is stored outside the European Economic Area. In most cases Personal data is not transferred or stored outside of the European Economic Area.

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

You have the right to request that (1) we no longer process your personal data and (2) request that we delete your personal data at any time. However, agreement may not be assumed as we may have to refuse your request should the data be required to comply with a legal obligation, performance of a contract or public interest task or exercise of official authority.

We may also refuse for the purposes of public health purposes, 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 and agreement is not required we will advise you of this. Prior to deletion we may anonymise and hold data for data analysis.

What are the consequences if I 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 noncompliance, for example not complying with specific legislation. We try to ensure that we only collect the minimum personal data that is necessary for us to offer the Service(s) to you.

Will my data be used 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.

How do I make a complaint about how my 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.

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 want to do one of the following, please use following contact, making clear which right you wish to exercise:

  • to make a complaint about how we are handling your personal data
  • to report a data breach
  • to report if your details are inaccurate or incomplete
  • to see the data we hold about you and
  • to see if you can withdraw your consent or request we delete your personal data

Data Protection Manager
Veterinary Medicines Directorate
Woodham Lane
New Haw
KT15 3LS


If you’re unhappy with their response or if you need any advice you should contact the ICO who are the supervisory authority.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 Email:

VMD Privacy Notice

You can get more information about what we use personal information for under our Privacy Notice.