Accessing your personal information – how to make a Subject Access Request

This guidance is designed to help you make a request for your personal information – either by completing a form or in writing without the form. If you would like to talk to an officer about making a request you can phone us on 01392 383000 – ask for ‘access to information’ when prompted – or email us on

Why we may hold information about you

Before making a request you may find it useful to find out more about Why We May Hold Records About You

Your Rights 

Data protection laws give you the right to be told if we hold any personal information about you and the right to receive a copy of that information within one calendar month, subject to any exemptions that may apply. For more information about how we process your personal data please refer to our Information Requests Privacy Notice.

If you wish to request your personal data, please complete our subject access request form.

The use of the form is not compulsory, but a completed form makes it easier for us to understand exactly what information you need, to ensure the request is valid, and to respond more effectively.

You can also submit a request by email to

We recommend that you use email as this will help us to start to process your request more quickly.

If you post the request to us please use the address : Devon County Council, Access to Information team, Room 120a, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD, Devon.

Postal requests may not be accessed immediately as officers are working from home due to COVID pandemic restrictions and this may cause a delay.

If you require assistance, please telephone: 01392 383000 and ask for ‘access to information’.

Devon County Council will act as a ‘data controller’ for any personal data that you provide to us when making a request under the Data Protection Act 2018, General Data Protection Regulation, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and or Freedom of Information Act 2000 (information request).  As such, we will ensure that the data you give us is processed in line with our organisation’s Data Protection Policies and in line with your rights under the EU General Data Protection Regulations and any other laws enacted in the UK which govern the processing of personal data.

Should you wish to find out more about Devon County Council’s data protection policies please contact our Data Protection Officer.

Our Obligations

  • to be sure of your identity and your entitlement to the information you are requesting
  • to provide the information within one calendar month or up to three months if the information is 1500 pages or more
  • to notify you of any information we consider exempt from disclosure and why
  • to provide a response by secure email – if you request a postal response there may be a delay caused by the issue outlined above. Second copies of responses on paper may be charged for.

How to make a request

Guidance is provided below on each part of the request form but the same information will be required if the form is not used.

Your Contact Details 

  • full name
  • maiden name if appropriate
  • any other names you may be known by
  • email address – we will send the response by email unless you would like it by post – if so, please let us know
  • telephone number
  • postal address

Proof of your identity 

Provide copies of two documents which prove your identify – one which shows your name and date of birth, and a second one from the list of examples below, which should include your current ( within three months) postal address, if you require a response by post.  The list below is not a definitive list, there may be other official documents which would be adequate.

  • Adoption certificate
  • Bank statement
  • Benefit statement
  • Birth certificate
  • Building Society statement
  • Citizen Card
  • Civil Partnership Certificate
  • Council Tax statement
  • Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) document
  • Driving Licence ( current and UK only)
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) document
  • HM Forces Identity card
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Passport – current and valid
  • Utility bill – not mobile phone

If you do not have any of these please let us know. You may wish us to contact someone such as a social or health worker, charity or voluntary agency worker working with you who is able to verify your identity. We can also send your information to them on your behalf if you agree in writing.

Requests from Solicitors 

If you are a Solicitor requesting personal information about a client on their behalf you must enclose their written authority for the disclosure of their personal data to you.

Requests for personal information about children 

If you are requesting the personal information about a child we will require written evidence either that they consent to sharing the information with you or, if they do not have the capacity to consent that you have parental or legal responsibility for them and are therefore entitled to the information.

Please provide one of the following :

  • a copy of the child’s full birth or adoption certificate with you named as a parent
  • a copy of the parental responsibility agreement signed by both parties if named on the birth certificate
  • a copy of the parental responsibility order issued by a court

If we require their consent, we will need a written statement from them confirming that they agree to us disclosing the information you have requested about them to you. If you consider they do not have the capacity to provide that consent please let us know, we may consult with a Devon County Council social care or legal professional for advice.

The information you require

Please provide as much detail as possible, in particular:

  • the service or team you think may hold the information
  • the names of council officers you think may have been involved with your case
  • the date or date range of relevant information
  • the names of particular documents

If we don’t have enough information or you ask for all the information we hold about you this may affect how we search for your information.

Why we may refuse your request 

We will not disclose any information which identifies another living individual unless that person has provided their consent, you may use our standard consent form for this purpose or you have written authority such as :

  • Power of Attorney
  • Court of Protection Order
  • Signed form of authority
  • or there is another legal reason for it to be disclosed.

If you think the personal information you want may identify others you can obtain their consent and include it with your request.

We may refuse to disclose some of your personal information if we consider it may put you or somebody else at risk of harm.

We may refuse to disclose some of your personal information if we it would prejudice the council’s social work functions.