Explains your rights to see and have copies of your personal information, and how to complain if access to your records is refused or if what is written about you is wrong.
Under equality law organisations have a legal duty to make their services accessible. If your mental health problem makes it impossible (or unreasonably difficult) for you to make a request in writing, an organisation may have to make a reasonable adjustment to its normal data protection policy. This could mean that it treats a verbal request as a valid subject access request.
When preparing your subject access request:
As of 25th May 2018, organisations have one calendar month to respond to your subject access request starting from the day they receive your request (before this date the time limit was 40 days).
If the organisation thinks that your request is very complicated then it can extend this to three months, but they must write to you to explain why the extension is necessary.
As of 25th May 2018, organisations are not allowed to charge a fee for supplying your data unless your request is manifestly unfounded or excessive (before this date organisations could charge up to £50.00).
If an organisation decides it is appropriate to charge you for an excessive request, the amount must be based on how much it will actually cost them to fulfil your request.
Audrey experiences severe anxiety and depression. She also has a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
For some years now, Audrey has received support from social services with daily living tasks, including bathing, managing her money and getting out and about in the community.
Her package of care has recently been cut by social services. Audrey has an advocate who is going to assist her with making a complaint about this.
The advocate has suggested that it would be a good idea for Audrey to get copies of her social services records. Audrey has received support from social services for the past 15 years, so her records are likely to be extensive.
The decision was made 6 weeks ago. Audrey will need to see the records that relate to this decision and there will probably be records from before the date of the decision which are relevant. However, she is unlikely to need copies of her social services records in their entirety.
Audrey could make a request for copies of her records from the past 6 months. She may not need to provide proof of identity if she makes the request to her social worker as her social worker knows her well.
An advocate is a person who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need. Having an advocate can be helpful in situations where you are finding it difficult to make your views known, or to make people listen to them and take them into account.
See our pages on advocacy for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
These are changes that:
should make for you if you are at a major disadvantage because of your mental health problems and it is reasonable.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include:
This information was published in May 2018. We will revise it in 2020.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.