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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministry-of-defence-privacy-notice/mod-privacy-notice
Purpose of this document
The following is to explain your rights and to give you information you are entitled to under the Data Protection legislation.
This notice applies to current and former Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel (including their dependants) and contractors. It is important that you read this notice, together with any other privacy notice that is provided on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.
Data protection principles
We will comply with the data protection principles under the data protection legislation. This says that the personal information we hold about you must be:
- used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way
- collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained to you and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes
- relevant to the purposes we have told you about and limited only to those purposes
- accurate and kept up to date
- kept only as long as necessary for the purposes we have told you about
- kept securely
The identity and contact details of MOD Data Controller and Data Protection Officer
The Ministry of Defence is the data controller. The contact detail is
MOD Data Protection Officer
The kind of information we hold about you
Personal data, or personal information refers to any information about individuals from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).
We collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:
- personal contact for example: name, title, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses
- dates of birth, marriage and divorce
- marital status and dependants
- next of kin, emergency contact and death benefit nominee(s) information
- national Insurance number
- bank account details, payroll records and tax status information
- salary, annual leave, pension and benefits information
- start date, leaving date
- location of employment or workplace
- copy of driving licence, passport, birth and marriage certificates, decree absolute
- recruitment information (including copies of right to work documentation, references and other information included in a CV or cover letter or as part of the application process)
- full service records for military and civilian staff (including terms and conditions, job titles, work history, working hours, promotion, absences, training records and professional memberships)
- compensation history
- performance and appraisal information
- disciplinary and grievance information
- secondary employment and volunteering information
- CCTV footage and other information obtained through electronic means such as swipe card records
- information about your use of our information and communications systems
- sounds or visual images (for example, photographs, videos)
- accident book, first aid records, injury at work and third party accident information
- evidence of how you meet the nationality requirements and confirmation of your security clearance. This can include passport details, nationality details and information about convictions/allegations of criminal behaviour
- evidence of your right to work in the UK/immigration status
- family, lifestyle and social circumstances
- financial status
- goods or services provided
We will also collect, store and use the following special categories of more sensitive personal information:
- information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions
- trade union membership
- information about your health, including any medical condition, health and sickness records. This may also include the health records of other family members
- genetic information and biometric data (including physical identifiers including DNA, fingerprints, all other iris scanning data and other genetic samples)
- information about criminal convictions/allegations and offences
How we collect or process your data
We typically collect personal information about MOD personnel (including their dependants) and contractors through the application and recruitment process, either directly from candidates or sometimes from an employment agency or background check provider. We will sometimes collect additional information from third parties including former employers, credit reference agencies or other agencies.
This may include:
- other government departments (OGDs)
- pension administrators
- doctors, medical and occupational health professionals
- trade unions
Please note that we also collect additional personal information in the course of job-related activities throughout the period of you working for us. You will be provided with separate privacy notices on what, why, when and how we collect and process these personal data.
Our legal basis for processing your personal data
We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:
- where it is in the public interest to do so; or for official purposes; or in the exercise of a function of the Crown, a minister of the Crown or GLD as a government department
- where it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by MOD or by a third party
- where we need to comply with a legal obligation
- where it is necessary for performing a contract, we have entered into with you
- where we have your informed consent
- there can be rare occasions where it becomes necessary to use your personal information to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests)
Why are we collecting or processing your data
We need all the categories of information to enable us to perform an employment requirement; to enable us to comply with other legal obligations, to carry out our functions as a government department/functions of the Crown; or where it is necessary to do so in the public interest. The situations in which we will process your personal information are listed below:
- making decisions about your recruitment or appointment
- determining the terms on which you work for us
- checking you are legally entitled to work in the UK and to provide you with the security clearance appropriate for your role
- for civil servants, to check eligibility to become and remain a civil servant
- paying you and, if you are MOD personnel, deducting tax and National Insurance contributions
Providing employment-related benefits to you including:
- occupational sick, adoption, maternity, paternity, shared parental and annual leave
- advances of salary and pay related allowances
- pension payment and liaising with your pension provider, providing information about changes to your employment such as promotions, changing in working hours
- general administration of any contract we have entered into with you
- business management and planning, including accounting and auditing
- conducting performance reviews, managing performance and determining performance requirements
- making decisions about salary reviews and compensation
- assessing qualifications for a particular job or task, including decisions about promotions
- gathering evidence and any other steps relating to possible grievance or disciplinary matters and associated hearings
- making decisions about your continued employment or engagement
- making arrangements for the termination of our working relationship
- education, training and development requirements
- dealing with legal disputes involving you, or other MOD personnel and contractors, including accidents at work
- ascertaining your fitness to work, managing sickness absence
- complying with health and safety obligations
- to prevent fraud
- to monitor your business and personal use of our information and communication systems to ensure compliance with our IT policies
- to ensure network and information security, including preventing unauthorised access to our computer and electronic communications systems and preventing malicious software distribution
- to provide and administer security and intelligence matters
- to carry out policing, including the prevention and detection of crime (including CCTV); apprehension and prosecution of offenders, protection of life and property; maintenance of law and order
- to conduct data analytics studies to review and better understand MOD personnel retention and attrition rates. equal opportunities monitoring
- dealing with Freedom of Information Act/Environmental Information Regulations requests
- to maintain our records and information or databanks
- provide health services to patients
- general welfare and other post service benefits
- to promote and advertise services
Some of the purposes will overlap and there can be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.
If you fail to provide personal information
If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we will not be able to fully perform our legal, security and employment obligations or provide you with assistance that you may be entitled to, such as paying you or providing a benefit, or we could be prevented from complying with our legal obligations, such as to ensure the health and safety of our workers.
Change of purpose
We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated or new purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.
Please note that we will if necessary process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required and permitted by law.
How we use particularly sensitive personal information
Special categories of particularly sensitive personal information require higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We will, if necessary, process special categories of personal information in the following circumstances:
Where we need to carry out our legal obligations or exercise our employment-related legal rights and in line with our data protection policy.
Where it is in line with our data protection policy, it is substantially in the public interest to do so and necessary for:
- performing our functions as a government department or a function of the Crown
- equal opportunities monitoring
- administering our pension scheme
- preventing or detecting unlawful acts
- where it is needed to assess your working capacity on health grounds, subject to appropriate confidentiality safeguards
In some circumstances, we will process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests, or someone else’s interests, and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.
Our obligations as an employer:
We will use your particularly sensitive personal information in the following ways:
- we will use information relating to leaves of absence; this can include sickness absence or family related leave, to comply with employment and other laws
- we will use information about your physical or mental health, or disability status, to ensure your health and safety in the workplace and to assess your fitness to work, to provide appropriate workplace adjustments, to monitor and manage sickness absence and to administer benefits
- we will use information about your race or national or ethnic origin, religious, philosophical or moral beliefs, or your sexual life or sexual orientation, to ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting and that you have appropriate security clearance
- we will use trade union membership information to register the status of protected MOD personnel and to comply with employment law obligations
Do we need your consent?
We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your personal information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal obligations, or for one of the other reasons outlined above: ‘How we use particularly sensitive personal information’.
In limited circumstances, if the need arises, we will approach you for your written consent to allow us to process certain particularly sensitive data. If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us.
Information about criminal convictions
We will only use information relating to criminal convictions or alleged criminal behaviour where the law requires us to do so. This can arise when it is necessary for us to comply with the law or for another reason where there is a substantial public interest in us doing so.
Less commonly, we will, if necessary, use information relating to criminal convictions or alleged criminal behaviour where it is necessary in relation to legal claims, where it is necessary to protect your interests, or someone else’s interests and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.
We will only collect information about criminal convictions or allegations of criminal behaviour where it is appropriate given the nature of the role and where we are legally able to do so. Where appropriate, we will collect information about criminal convictions/allegations as part of the recruitment process or if we are notified of such information directly by you in the course of you working for us.
Automated decision making
Automated decision making takes place when an electronic system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention. We are allowed to use automated decision making in the following circumstances:
- where we have notified you of the decision and given you 21 days to request a reconsideration
- where it is necessary to perform the contract with you and appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights
- in limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent and where appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights
If we make an automated decision based on any particularly sensitive personal information, we must have either your explicit written consent or it must be justified in the public interest, and we must also put in place appropriate measures to safeguard your rights.
You will not be subject to decisions that will have a significant impact on you based solely on automated decision making, unless we have a lawful basis for doing so and we have notified you.
How we store personal data
Your personal data will be stored in a secure government Information Technology systems. We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed.
In addition, we limit access to your personal information to only MOD personnel, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions. Details of these measures are available upon request from local Data Protection Advisors.
Third parties will only process your personal information on our instructions and where they have agreed to treat the information confidentially and to keep it secure, in a contractual arrangement.
We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.
With whom we will be sharing your personal data
We will in some circumstances have to share your data with third parties, including third-party service providers and other Civil Service bodies. We require third parties to respect the security of your data and to treat it in accordance with the law. We will in some circumstances transfer your personal information outside the EU. If we do, you can expect a similar degree of protection in respect of your personal information.
Why might you share my personal information with third parties?
We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to administer the working relationship with you; where it is in the public interest to do so or where it is necessary for the performance of our functions as a government department or a function of the Crown. This will, in some circumstances, involve sharing special categories of personal data and, where relevant, data about criminal convictions/allegations.
How secure is my information with third-party service providers?
All our third party service providers are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow our third party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.
When might you share my personal information with other organisations within the Civil Service?
We will share your personal information with other Civil Service organisations as part of our regular reporting activities on departmental performance, in the context of a business reorganisation or restructuring exercise, for system maintenance support and hosting of data; business planning/talent management initiatives, succession planning, statistical analysis; and general management and functioning of the Civil Service. Personal data is also shared with the Office for National Statistics, mainly for statistical purposes.
What about other third parties?
If required, we will need to share your personal information with a regulator or to otherwise comply with the law.
Transferring information outside the EU
We will, if necessary, transfer the personal information we collect about you to other departments outside the EU to perform our obligations or duties under the law.
Sharing your personal data
Where necessary or required and in accordance with the law, we share information with:
- you (the data subjects)
- relatives, guardians or other persons associated with the data subject
- current, past or prospective employers of the data subject
- healthcare, social and welfare advisers or practitioners
- education, training establishments and examining bodies
- business associates and other professional advisers
- MOD personnel and agents of the data controller
- suppliers, providers of goods or services
- financial organisations and advisers
- credit reference agencies
- debt collection and tracing agencies
- survey and research organisations
- trade, employer associations and professional bodies
- police forces
- private investigators
- local government
- central government
- voluntary and charitable organisations
- ombudsmen and regulatory authorities
- the media
- data processors
- the national archives, places of deposit and other archives recognised under the provision of The Public Records Act (1958)
- religious organisations
- overseas government departments
- law enforcement agencies
- regulatory bodies
- legal representatives
- prosecuting authorities
- police authorities
- emergency services
- Civil Service Commission
- Advisory Committee on Business Appointment
- Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments
For how long we will keep the personal data, or criteria used to determine the retention period
We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. Our defence records management policy and procedures JSP 441 is available online.
After the retention period, has elapsed all data will be destroyed securely in line with MOD data destruction policy. To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.
In some circumstances, we will anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we will use such information without further notice to you. Once you are no longer MOD personnel (including their dependants) and contractors we will retain and securely destroy your personal information in accordance with our data retention policy or applicable laws and regulations.
Duty to inform
It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your working relationship with us.
Under certain circumstances, by law, you have the right to:
Request access to your personal information
This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
If you want to find out if MOD or any of our agencies hold any personal information about you, or want to make any corrections, you can make a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) under the Data Protection legislation. If we do hold information about you, we will:
- give you a description of it
- tell you why we are holding it
- tell you to whom it has, or will be disclosed, in particular if it has been disclosed to international organisations
- 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. For information about how to make a SAR application see our guide on obtaining information about yourself.
There are a small number of cases where we do not have to give you the information you have asked for. For example, if we are using data for the purposes of investigating, preventing or detecting crime, or apprehending or prosecuting offenders where to do so would be likely to prejudice those purposes. In cases where it is known the police are investigating, or prosecuting offences, we will ask for their view on whether providing you with the information would prejudice their activities.
Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you
This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
Request erasure of your personal information
This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing.
Object to processing of your personal information
Where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.
Request the restriction of processing of your personal information
This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
Request the transfer of your personal information
Allows you to obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes across different services. If you want to verify, correct, or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please make a request in writing to ISS-DataSubjectRights@mod.gov.uk.
Guidance is also available on Data Protection: rights for data subjects page.
Right to withdraw consent
In the limited circumstances where you have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time.
To withdraw your consent, please contact ISS-DataSubjectRights@mod.gov.uk.
Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.
No fee usually required
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we are allowed under the law to charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we can refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.
What we need from you
To comply with your request, we sometimes need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.
Further information can be found at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/individual-rights/
How to complain
If you are unhappy with how any aspect of this privacy notice, or how your personal information is being processed, please contact:
MOD Data Protection Officer
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.
If you are still not happy, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):
Information Commissioner’s Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF Tel: 0303 123 1113 Email: email@example.com
Changes to this privacy notice
We reserve the right to update this privacy notice at any time, and we will provide you with a new privacy notice when we make any substantial updates. We will also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.
If you have any questions about this privacy notice, please email the Information Rights Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.