Right of access
The right of access to personal data is the fundamental right that allows you to ask for, and be provided with, the personal data that an organisation processes about you.
This is a right to information that is your "personal data", not to copies of documents etc..
The guidance note "Making a subject access request" includes examples of letters you can send. Other guidance notes on subject access requests are available below.
- You must send a written request to the organisation - this can be a letter or email.
- Provide as much information as possible regarding the type of information you wish to be supplied and to assist the organisation to identify you - for example, an account number or customer reference number,any particular dates and, if you are seeking CCTV, the date and time of the incident and an up-to-date image of yourself.
- if you are making a request to a public authority specified in Schedule 1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2015, you may request additional personal data - Find out more here
- It may be helpful to refer to the Data Protection Act and a subject access request in the letter.
- Keep a copy of the correspondence in case you need to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner.
- Further information may be sought from you to enable the organisation to reasonably satisfy itself of your identity, or to assist in locating the information you are asking for.
- A fee of up to £10 can be charged, and it is recommended that the fee is included with your request.
- If you request access to health records, a fee of up to £50 may be charged.
- There are limited exemptions from this right.
- The organisation must supply you with the information sought in permanent form promptly and in any event within 40 calendar days.
- All details must be communicated to you in an “intelligible form”, with any coding or technical terms explained.
- If the organisation does not process any of your information they must advise you of that fact.
No response/incomplete response received
- Take a common sense approach and contact the organisation explaining that you have made a SAR but have not received a response, and ask when you will receive the information requested.
- This letter should ideally seek a written confirmation from the organisation.
- Sample letters are available below if you wish to use them.
- If this fails to get a response, or if you would rather not take that step, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.
- Refer the matter directly to the High Court.
Subject access request documents
- Making a Subject Access Request
- Sample letter - no response to my subject access request
- Sample letter - review my subject access request
- Subject access requests - exemptions from the right of access
- Right of access - Health Records and Reports
- Subject Access Request - fees for access to health records
- Subject Access Requests for complaint files
- Subject Access Request - Police Records
- Subject Access Requests - job references
- Subject access requests for employment references
- Subject Access Requests and legal proceedings
- Subject Access Requests and Third Party Information
- Subject access requests and opinions
- Credit problems