The Department of Justice has launched a digital service through which citizens can request personal information held about them by the department and a number of its agencies.
Under UK data protection laws, individuals have the right to demand details from organizations of personal information held about them, how it is used and shared, and where it was acquired from. This is called a subject access request (SAR).
Normally these should be made by e-mail or letter, with the responsibility of the person making the request to determine who they should contact and what information they should provide.
To facilitate this process, the Department of Justice has created a dedicated digital service through which requests can be made – either by a member of the public or by a lawyer. The online form allows users to request various types of information held by the department, as well as three of its agencies: HM Prison Service and Probation Service; the Office of the Public Guardian; and the Legal Aid Agency.
Information accessible from the digital tool includes prison time records, probation case notes, lasting power of attorney files and legal aid application data.
The online service was launched following a pilot process launched late last year, which involved legal aid practitioners.
“Improvements have been made to the efficiency of the process – requests made through the digital form were accepted as valid 81% of the time,” the Legal Aid Agency said. “Two-thirds of lawyers surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the new application process [and]in response to feedback, the online content explaining the service has been updated to make it clearer for everyone.