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How to collect personal data as part of Big Local activities

February 2015

We work to ensure that the personal data we process is collected fairly and the processes we use comply with the Data Protection Act (1998). As part of this we expect people undertaking Big Local work to collect personal data (or personal information) fairly and to comply with the Act.

Personal data

Personal data is any information that identifies a person. This could be a name, photograph, address, phone number, or email address. It can also be combinations of the above, which would allow somebody to be identified from it:

Jo who lives on Example Street or

What you need to know

  • Explain who is collecting the data and who this is going to be shared with. For example, you – a volunteer in a Big Local area are collecting data for your Big Local group and this will also be shared with your locally trusted organisation (and vice versa).
  • Tell people exactly what data you are collecting such as first and last name, email address, Big Local area.
  • Explain why you would like to collect their data. You could say, ‘we’d like to keep you up to date with Big Local activities in the area’, ‘we’d like to invite you to our meetings and events’, ‘we’d like to send you opportunities for getting involved’ or ‘we’d like to email you a survey’.
  • Do not collect more data than you need. In practice this means, if you are building up an email mailing list, you do not need to collect home addresses or phone numbers.
  • Consent is optional, it is their choice whether they would like to share their information or not and they can make a decision at any time to no longer be contacted.
  • You must never share people’s personal data unless you make this clear to them and they agree to this.

Sharing personal data with Local Trust

Big Local is a national programme run by Local Trust. As part of our delivery of Big Local we would like to use the contact information shared with us, to send information on learning and networking events and skills courses, learning from other Big Local areas and other communication as appropriate.

If you are collecting personal data to share with Local Trust, please tell people why, ask for their consent and record this. We cannot contact people where we do not have people's consent to do so.

If you are collecting names and email addresses in a Big Local area, you may want to ask for:

  1. consent for your Big Local group to use their information to contact them
  2. consent for Local Trust to use their information to contact them.

We have a template for collecting personal data in Big Local areas which you can use or adapt. 

Keeping personal data safe and using it fairly

Below are some of the ways that you can protect personal data that is shared with you:

  • Keep paper copies of personal data together in a safe place, away from other people’s view.
  • For digital copies of personal data, be careful when using public or shared computers
    • log out of your email account when you’re not using it
    • don’t save people’s information on shared or public computers
    • if you download personal data, make sure you remove downloads afterwards.
  • When you email groups of people (who haven’t agreed to share their email addresses with each other) ‘blind carbon copy’ (Bcc) the email addresses so that they aren’t visible to everyone that the message is sent to.
  • You can only share people’s personal data with those you’ve said you’d share it with when you collected it. So, if you said at the time of collection, that you work with a locally trusted organisation and they use email addresses to send information about Big Local, then you can share these people’s email addresses with your locally trusted organisation for that purpose.
  • You can only use people’s personal data for the purpose that you said you would. For example, if you said the purpose is to send information about Big Local, then you can’t contact these people about something else.
  • If you collect and process personal data on behalf of your Big Local area, it’s good practice to make a simple fair collection statement readily available. You could share this on your website, blog, Facebook or public noticeboard. Below is a fair collection statement template but you will need to add some of your own information to fit with your Big Local area and how you work.

Fair collection statement template

‘XXXXXX’ Big Local area collects and uses people’s personal information for the purpose of making Big Local happen locally. The personal information we collect includes people’s [name / email address / telephone number / area / place of work / insert your own]. We use your information to update you and include you in Big Local progress, activities and opportunities. We may share your information with organisations that we trust that are supporting us to make Big Local happen locally as well as Local Trust, the national charity delivering Big Local in 150 areas across England. If you no longer want to us to contact you or store your personal information, please contact []

Further information

Local Trust's Privacy and fair collection statement is available at the foot of our website.

You can read the Data Protection Act on the website

The key definitions of the Data Protection Act are explained in the Information Commissioner’s Office website

Personal data template

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The Local Trust office is now at CAN Mezzanine, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

Our phone number has not changed, it remains 020 3588 0565.

There are changes to the direct dial telephone numbers of some staff members.

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