This page tells you what to expect when the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) collects personal information. When we use the phrase personal information we mean information that identifies or describes an individual.
It applies to information we collect about complainants, lawyers and other individuals in relation to cases we are handling and people who use our services by, for example, subscribing to our newsletter or requesting a publication from us and job applicants from our current and former employees. This page also gives you information about the information we collect from visitors to our websites and the cookies they use
Visitors to our websites
When someone visits www.legalombudsman.org.uk we collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. We collect this information in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. We will not associate any data gathered from this site with any personally identifying information from any source. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about it. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. One of the cookies we use is for allowing visitors to the site to use the style switcher at the top of our website to enlarge the text or view it in high contrast, when this cookie is activated it only stores the website visitor’s preferred settings. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but the style switcher on the site will not work.
Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.allaboutcookies.org. (Website opens in new window)
To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. (Website opens in new window)
People who make a complaint to us
When we receive a complaint we make up a file containing the details of the complaint. This normally contains the identity of the complainant and any other individuals involved in the complaint.
The Legal Ombudsman also records telephone calls for the purposes of staff development and also for recording information in respect of complaints we receive.
We will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. When we compile and publish statistics showing information like the number of complaints we receive, this is not in a form which identifies anyone.
We usually have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about. If a complainant doesn’t want information identifying him or her to be disclosed, we will try to respect that. However, it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.
We will keep personal information contained in complaint files in line with our retention policy. It will be retained in a secure environment and access to it will be restricted according to the ‘need to know’ principle.
Similarly, where enquiries are submitted to us we will only use the information supplied to us to deal with the enquiry and any subsequent issues and to check on the level of service we provide.
When we take enforcement action against someone, we may publish the identity of the defendant in our Annual Report or elsewhere. Usually we do not identify any complainants unless the details have already been made public.
People who use Legal Ombudsman services
The Legal Ombudsman may offer various services to the public. For example, we may send out publications and distribute an electronic newsletter. We may use a third party to deal with some publication requests. If this is the case, they are only allowed to use the information to send out the publications.
We have to hold the details of the people who have requested the service in order to provide it. However, we only use these details to provide the service the person has requested and for other closely related purposes. For example, we might use information about people who have requested a publication to carry out a survey to find out if they are happy with the level of service they received. When they subscribe to our services, they can cancel their subscription at any time and are given an easy way of doing this.
Disclosure of personal information to Approved Regulators
When we investigate a complaint and we believe that there may have been misconduct, we will share personal information with relevant bodies, for example the appropriate Approved Regulator.
If you have consented to the use of your data for research purposes we may disclose personal data to third parties working on our behalf. You are entitled to opt out of at any stage if you decide you do not want us to share your personal data with third parties even if you have previously agreed to it being used in this way.
Where you have declined permission to use your personal information for research purposes we will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. We compile and publish statistics showing information like the number of complaints we receive, but not in a form which identifies anyone.
You can get further and more detailed information on disclosure of personal information from the Compliance team. Their details are below. The sort of information available includes:
- • agreements we have with other organisations for sharing information;
- • circumstances where we can pass on personal data without consent for example, to prevent and detect crime and to produce anonymised statistics;
- • our instructions to staff on how to collect, use and delete personal data; and
- • how we check that the information we hold is accurate and up to date.
Job applicants, current and former LeO employees
When individuals apply to work at LeO, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ for example; from the Criminal Records Bureau, we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.
Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held according to our retention policy after the recruitment exercise has been completed, it will then be destroyed or deleted. We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.
Once a person has taken up employment with the LeO, we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with LeO has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.
Complaints or queries
LeO tries to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this very seriously. We encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. We would also welcome any suggestions for improving our procedures.
This privacy notice was drafted with brevity and clarity in mind. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of LeO’s collection and use of personal information. However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any requests for this should be sent to the address below.
Access to personal information
LeO tries to be as open as it can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a ‘subject access request’ under the Data Protection Act 1998. If we do hold information about you we will:
- give you a description of it;
- tell you why we are holding it;
- tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
- let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.
To make a request to the Legal Ombudsman for any personal information we may hold, you need to put the request in writing to our Compliance Team at the address provided below. If you agree, we will try to deal with your request informally, for example by providing you with the specific information you need over the telephone. If we do hold information about you, you can ask us to correct any mistakes by, once again, contacting the Compliance Team.
Links to other websites
This privacy notice does not cover the links within this site linking to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.
Changes to this privacy notice
We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated on 25 May 2012.
How to contact us
The Compliance Team
PO Box 6803
Copyright and Reuse of Materials
Use of logos
The use of any of the Legal Ombudsman’s logos on any document or in association with any information signifies that the document or information has been prepared or approved by the Legal Ombudsman. The logos are used only on materials generated by the Legal Ombudsman’s office or where the Legal Ombudsman’s office has worked in association with an organisation preparing advice on data protection or freedom of information.
Use of any of the Legal Ombudsman’s logos without the Legal Ombudsman’s consent infringes the copyright held in respect of the logos. No permission will be granted for the use of the logos nor will reproduction of the logos in any form be allowed unless the Legal Ombudsman determines that:
- the material on which the logos is to be used and
- the use of the logos on such material have been expressly approved by his office
Re-use of public sector information and copyright
Unless otherwise stated, the Legal Ombudsman owns the copyright in all material on this site. Subject to the following conditions, the Legal Ombudsman has no objection to organisations downloading its copyright-protected materials from the site (the ‘Materials’) and reproducing them in their own publications, or on their internal computer networks. Organisations using the Legal Ombudsman’s materials must adhere to the following criteria.
- Organisations must ensure that they are using the latest version of the materials available.
- Any publication or internal network which incorporates the Legal Ombudsman’s materials must include an acknowledgement of the source of such materials.
- The material must be clearly separated from any comment made on it by the organisation or others.
- Readers of the material must not be given the impression that the Legal Ombudsman is responsible for, or has in any way approved, the publication or network in which its materials are reproduced.
- The materials may not be altered or amended unless prior consent has been obtained from the Legal Ombudsman and such material is clearly marked as altered or amended by the organisation or others.
- No fee may be charged by any organisation reproducing the Legal Ombudsman’s materials.
- When reproducing the Legal Ombudsman’s materials, organisations must have regard to any qualifying statements or descriptions attached to the materials, (for example, descriptions such as ‘consultation document’, ‘discussion paper’, or ‘preliminary view’ are important as are statements concerning the audience at which the material is directed). If the material is reproduced in full, or substantial extracts are reproduced, any qualifying statements attached to the material must be included.
- Any reproduction of the Legal Ombudsman’s official forms, other than for the purpose of submitting information to the Legal Ombudsman, must be clearly marked ‘SPECIMEN’ unless otherwise expressly agreed by the Legal Ombudsman.
There is no charge for the reproduction of materials made in accordance with these conditions. The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 provided a framework for deciding issues relating to the re-use of information held by public bodies. Subject to the conditions set out above, the Legal Ombudsman has no objection to organisations reproducing in their own publications Materials available from this site. Where an organisation wishes to re-use the Legal Ombudsman’s materials but the proposed re-use would contravene any of the conditions set out above, the organisation should contact the Legal Ombudsman’s Compliance Team to determine whether the proposed re-use would be permitted and what, of any, additional conditions may apply. The application should be in writing, specifying name and address of the applicant, identifying the documents to be re-used and the purpose for re-use. If an individual or organisation is unhappy with the manner in which an application for the reproduction or the re-use of the Legal Ombudsman’s Materials has been handled by the Legal Ombudsman a complaint can be emailed to the Compliance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
The Compliance Team
PO Box 6803
Regulation 17 of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 requires us to respond to a complaint within a reasonable time and we aim to do this within 20 working days. We will notify you in writing of the determination of the complaint, giving reasons for the decision taken. If you remain dissatisfied once you have exhausted the internal complaints process, you may refer your complaint to the Office of Public Sector Information.
This site is intended to provide friendly and helpful advice and is not a definitive statement of law.
While the Legal Ombudsman shall endeavour to make this site available at all times, the Legal Ombudsman will not be liable if, for any reason, the site is unavailable for any period of time. Access to this site may be suspended at any time without prior notice being given.
The Legal Ombudsman is not liable for any damages arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of or inability to use this site or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using the site. The materials on this site comprise the Legal Ombudsman’s views; they do not constitute legal or other professional advice. You should consult your professional adviser for legal or other advice.
This site offers links to other sites thereby enabling you to leave this site and go directly to the linked site. The Legal Ombudsman is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any link in a linked site. The Legal Ombudsman is not responsible for any transmission received from any linked site. The links are provided to assist visitors to the Legal Ombudsman’s site and the inclusion of a link does not imply that the Legal Ombudsman endorses or has approved the linked site
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