Every member of staff whose details will be recorded for the Census needs to be given a Privacy Notice that informs them of the reason why data are to be collected
All schools are asked to circulate the Privacy Notice, and covering letter, to "staff in scope" - anyone whose individual details you are recording for the purpose of the Census.
The submission of the School Workforce Census return, including a set of individual staff records, is a statutory requirement on schools. This means that your school does not need to obtain consent from members of staff for the provision of information, and staff do not have the option to "opt out". In addition, the school cannot be accused of breaching a duty of confidence to staff members.
However, when you collect and hold information about someone, they are a "Data Subject" under the Data Protection Act 1998. And the school has to meet obligations under this Act:
- The data must be managed in accordance with the requirements of the Act
- All staff who have access to personal data should be aware of their responsibilities under the Act
- Data Subjects need to be aware of what is being held about them, and the uses to which it can be put.
The Privacy Notice informs staff of the purposes for which their personal data may be held and used by the school, LA, the DfE and other organisations and all members of staff covered by the scope of the Census need to receive the notice.
As well as circulating this Notice and covering letter to existing staff, schools need to ensure that any new staff starting at the school receives copies of these documents, and that the data collection requirements should be mentioned in the induction process. Also, it is good practice to re-issue the Privacy Notice annually, so that staff are always aware of the data collection and are made aware of their rights as data subjects.
DfE consulted with unions nationally, and there is support for this collection. DfE is aware of the concerns raised by some staff about data safety. The information collected will be held and processed in the same way that the pupil level information has been since the introduction of PLASC. The Department is committed to ensuring that sensitive data and personal details should never be disclosed or used in an inappropriate way. The Department adheres to strict standards of data access and confidentiality as set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice that meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act. All data will be kept physically secure and the Department will not publish anything that could be used to identify an individual.