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Privacy notice: Home to school transport

1.   Introduction

This Privacy Notice explains types of personal information we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we will store and handle that information, as well as keep it safe and secure.

We will keep our privacy notice under regular review and will advise you of any updates on our website.

This Notice was last reviewed in January 2019.

2.   Who we are

South Tyneside Council collects, uses and is responsible for the personal data collected about you. South Tyneside Council is the Data Controller.  The Council's Commissioning Unit assesses applications for mainstream and SEN children's eligibility for free school transport using the Council's school transport criteria.

3.   What type of personal information do we collect?

In assessing your child's eligibility for free school transport we collect the following types of personal information from you:

  • Your personal information such as your name, address, contact details and relationship to the child you are applying for
  • The child's personal information such as their name, address, current school, future school if in a normal year of transfer (ie primary to secondary) and a passport style photograph if a public transport pass is being requested
  • Special category information such as medical data, medical or professionals' reports, special educational needs, Education Health and Care Plan status, religion or belief (where you apply for extended eligibility assessment)
  • Details about your household income, including any benefits you may be entitled to (where you apply for low income eligibility assessment)
  • Personal information of any siblings or other children living in the same household and how they travel to school
  • Personal information about other parents/carers and the person nominated as your emergency contact

We also obtain personal information from other sources:

  • Confirmation of Education Health and Care Plan status and details of any special educational needs from the Council's SEND service
  • Your child's attendance where parents have been provided with a personal transport budget

If a personal transport budget is requested, we will require your bank details.

4.   How do we collect personal information?

We may collect your personal information in a number of ways, for example:

  • In writing - for example letter, application form or email
  • Referrals from another department
  • In person or by telephone
  • Family members acting on your behalf
  • Solicitors, advocates or insurance companies acting on your behalf

5.   Why do we collect your personal information and how do we use it?

We collect and use your personal information to carry out its statutory duty to provide free school transport to eligible pupils in the public interest. We use the information you provide to administer free school transport under the Education Act 1996 and other associated legislation.  You are entitled to refuse to provide some or all of the data requested but doing so will clearly affect the Council's ability to provide the service you are seeking.

We use the information to:

  • determine eligibility and entitlement for free home to school transport and to inform you of the decision and any subsequent appeal
  • to determine transport needs/requirements, abilities and to schedule and arrange suitable transport
  • to contact and notify you of any opportunities and changes to transport arrangements, deal with queries and concerns
  • to invoice parents for contribution-based transport support

We will use your email address and mobile phone number to send you reminders annually to re-apply for free home to school transport. 

We have a duty to protect public funds we administer and may use the information held about you and your child for all lawful purposes, including but not limited to prevention and detection of fraud, disclosure of information to the police, data matching with council tax and electoral registration records and protection public funds in investigating misuse of public money.

The Council conducts research and statistical analysis to help improve our business processes and the services offered, as well as to evaluate out performance against other benchmarks. Wherever possible, statistical information is anonymised or pseudonymised.

For the school transport service all the decisions we make about you involve human intervention and are not automated.

6.   Who might we share your personal information with?

The information you provide will be shared with:

  • the relevant transport provider and any passenger assistant engaged to transport your child 
  • your child's school, college, or other education provider to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the school transport service
  • other teams within South Tyneside Council working to improve outcomes for children and young people
  • language translation services, where it is necessary to translate any information into or from a foreign language for you
  • solicitors, advocates or other support services nominated by you to assist you with your application
  • Local Government Ombudsman and other regulatory authorities and auditors
  • Emergency services in the case of a road traffic collision or other major incident or emergency affecting the provision of the school transport service

Please note that bank details and benefit entitlement will not be shared with transport providers, schools or other education providers.

We may share your personal information collected as part of your application for free school transport with other departments in the Council. 

We will share personal information with law enforcement bodies such as the police or HMRC and other public bodies where they have a law enforcement role.  We may share information for the purposes of fraud or crime prevention and for the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.  We do not require your consent to share your information for this purpose and we may not notify you that we have done so.

We will only share information where the law allows us to share it. . We will not share your personal information with any other third parties unless you have specifically asked us to do so.

Should you submit an appeal against a school transport decision, your personal data will be shared with members of the Appeal Panel.

7.   How long will we keep your personal information?

Your personal data will not be kept any longer than necessary.  Where transport is not provided, we will retain your personal data for 1 year from the date the appeal process has been concluded, or from the date of the decision where no appeal is made.

Where transport is provided, we will retain your personal data for 6 years from the date transport ceases.

8.   What is our legal basis for using your personal information?

We process personal information under:

  • Article 6 (1) (b) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for the purpose of the agreement between you and the Council for the provision of free school transport
  • Article 6 (1) (c) of the GDPR to meet our statutory and legal obligations to provide free school transport
  • Article 6.(1) (e) of the GDPR for reasons of public interest in relation to the provision of free school transport and other related services as defined in this notice.

We process special category information under:

  • Article 9 (2) (g) of the GDPR, for reasons of public interest in relation to the provision of free school transport and other related services as defined in this notice.

We also process your personal and special category date where you have given us explicit consent to do so.

9.   How do we keep your personal information secure?

Your information is held on the Council's secure network and within our route scheduling software for the purpose of scheduling and allocation of transport and setting efficient transport routes and pick up/drop off points.

Your information will be stored on the Council's secure payments and invoicing system for payment purposes (where contribution-based transport is provided).

Your information is protected using up to date technical and organisational security measures. 

10. Is your personal information used overseas?

We will not process your personal information outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

11. What are your rights?

Your individual rights are set out in law.  Subject to some legal exemptions, you have the following rights:

  • Right to be informed
  • Right of access
  • Right to rectification
  • Right to erasure
  • Right to restrict processing
  • Right to data portability
  • Right to object
  • Rights in relating to automated decision making and profiling

12.Contact us

If you would like to exercise your rights in relation to your personal information, or you feel that something has gone wrong with your personal information, you can contact us in either of the following ways:

By email:          

By telephone:           0191 424 6539

In writing:                   South Tyneside Council

                                    Information Governance

                                    Town Hall and Civic Offices

                                    South Shields

                                    NE33 2RL

If you feel that the Council has not handled your information correctly you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  The ICO is the Government's Independent Body responsible for overseeing data protection.  In most cases the ICO will only review cases that have exhausted the Council's internal procedures.

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