How the Coroners Service uses personal data
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25 May 2018, replacing the previous rules under the Data Protection Act 1998. The new rules strengthen the protection of personal information and extend the rights that we all have over who holds our information and how it is used.
This is how the rules apply to the Coroners Service:
- Information about deceased persons is not covered by Data Protection. However, we still consider their dignity and privacy when sharing information. Disclosure of the Coroner's file of evidence will only be given to Properly Interested Persons, prior to the inquest to allow them time to prepare. This always includes the family of the deceased and can include hospital Trusts and other agencies. Disclosure is made up of reports, statements and medical records only. We carefully prepare the disclosure pack so that personal information about living people is never shared.
- Inquests are heard in open court and members of the public are entitled to attend. The conclusion of the inquest is a matter of public record, and any person can request a copy of a death certificate from the Registrars Office. Audio recordings of the inquest are available to Properly Interested Persons only.
- Information about living people is covered by the GDPR in the usual way. If we take personal information from you such as your contact details or bank details, we will let you know how it will be used and how long we will keep it. We will only take the information we really need.
- Some information, such as the personal details of witnesses, forms part of the Coroner's file of evidence. It is not disposed of after the inquest because the file must be retained in its complete form. It is deposited in our secure off-site archives. If the Coroner were to allow disclosure from the file in the future - for example if the family made a civil claim - information about living people would never be shared.
If you have questions or concerns about how we use your data, please contact the office at any time.