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Privacy and fair processing notice for public health services.

Islington Council privacy and fair processing notice for public health services.


All local authorities have a duty to improve the health of the population they serve. Islington Council is responsible for protecting and improving the health of the population of Islington. To do this we provide a range of services, such as:

  • those to help people make a lifestyle change (for example, smoking cessation services, weight management services and contraceptive services)
  • provide guidance and advice to the public and professionals
  • monitor and publish intelligence about local health and wellbeing needs to help the council, NHS and other partners plan services to meet the needs of the people of Islington.

The data we collect

To deliver public health, local authorities need to use available health data sources to get relevant health and social care information. This data can contain person identifiable data (PID) which may identify patients such as name, address, age, sex, ethnicity, disease, use of hospital services, and/or NHS Number. Some data may not be obviously identifiable. However, there may be the potential to deduce individuals’ identities through combinations of information, either by the people handling the data or by those who see published results.

Islington Council has access to the following public health data:

Primary Care Mortality Database (PCMD)

The PCMD holds mortality data as provided at the time of registration, which include: date of birth, date of death, sex, NHS Number, address, place of death and cause(s) of death as sourced from the deaths register of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable. Data is supplied to the Public Health team under strict licence by NHS Digital and is limited to people who lived or were registered with GP Practices in the Islington area.

Births datasets

Births files include date of birth, sex, birthweight, usual address of mother, NHS Number, postcode, place of birth and stillbirth indicators. Data is supplied to the Public Health team under strict licence by NHS Digital and is limited to babies born to mothers who live in the Islington area.

Hospital Episode Data (HES)

A data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and accident and emergency (A and E) attendances at NHS hospitals in England. This data is collected during a patient's time at hospital and is submitted to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is also designed to enable secondary use, that is for non-clinical purposes that are not to do with direct patient care - such as research and planning local health services. The Public Health team receives HES data that is anonymous and is not identifiable under license from NHS Digital for non-clinical purposes.

National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)

The NCMP is a mandatory nationwide government scheme that is responsible for collecting annual information on the height and weight status of children in reception year (ages 4-5) and year 6 (ages 10-11). Using Body Mass Index (BMI), the results are used to monitor and assess childhood obesity trends nationally and in local areas to support public health initiatives and campaigns. It is the responsibility of Public Health Teams in Local Authorities to collect and process the data at a local level, before it is reported up to a national level, where the data is then collated by Public Health England’s Obesity Risk Factors Intelligence Team.

When the listed data is processed for Public Health purposes, the London Borough of Islington is the Data Controller. 

The London Borough of Islington and the London Borough of Camden are joint controllers for data relating to work undertaken by shared service staff, in particular work relating to the councils’ tobacco control strategy and commissioned sexual health services across Camden and Islington. This means that both organisations are responsible for any personal data that either organisation collects or uses, and we are committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. In instances, where both councils are operating as joint controllers, the London Borough of Islington will act as the lead controller responsible for providing privacy and transparency information.

The Public Health team is committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields such as the NHS number is replaced by an artificial identifier, or pseudonym which the Public Health team are unable to decrypt thus effectively anonymising the dataset.

Your data may also be joined up with other health and social care data that the using this method to increase understanding of the care experience received across the whole health and social care system.

How your data is used

All information accessed, processed, and stored by public health staff will be used to measure the health, mortality, or care needs of the population for planning, evaluating and monitoring health, protecting and improving public health.  It is used to carry out and support:

  • health needs assessments
  • health equity analysis
  • commissioning and delivery of services to promote health and prevent ill health
  • public health surveillance
  • identifying inequalities in the way people access services
  • joint strategic needs assessment
  • health protection and other partnership activities.

Any information held by the council about individuals will be held securely and in compliance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. Information will not be held for longer than required and will be disposed of securely.

The legal basis for the flow of data for the above purposes is set out in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, Section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act (2007) as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act (2012), and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

How we hold and manage your data

All data that we hold is stored in secure systems within the council and in line with both the council and NHS Information governance framework. These systems are accessed controlled, so only a small number of relevant council employees have access to them.

Apart from data processed as part of the NCMP, Public Health do not share any person identifiable information that is processed.

Only aggregated analyses or reports as a result of processing data may be shared with key stakeholders such as local CCGs, GP Practices, other NHS Organisations and not for profit organisations that the Borough may do collaborative work with.


You have a right to request that the Public Health team stop processing your personal data. Where possible we will attempt to comply with your request, but we may need to retain or continue to process your information to meet a statutory or legal obligation. 

Opting out

You have the right to opt out of the Public Health team receiving or holding your personal data, although there are occasions where service providers will have a legal duty to share information, such as for safeguarding purposes or crime prevention. The process for opting out will depend on what the specific data is and the purpose it relates to. For further information, please contact the council’s Information Governance Team by email at

Accessing your data

If you would like to see the information that is held about you, you can make a request for this to the councils’ Information Governance Team, email:

They can also be contacted if you have a query or complaint about the use of your information.

Further information can be found in our corporate privacy notice.

If you are dissatisfied with the processing of your information, please raise your concern with the council’s data protection officer in the first instance. You also have a right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.