Privacy and the coroner service

This notice explains what personal data (information) we hold about you, how we collect, how we use and may share information about you.

We are required to give you this information under data protection law.

Why the coroner service collects personal information

Buckinghamshire's coroner service collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you.

When we do so we are regulated under the General Data Protection Regulation which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as 'controller' of that personal information for the purposes of those laws.

Coroners hold the statutory responsibility to make enquiries of any death that is reported to them and investigate the death if it appears that the cause of death is unknown, or the death was violent or unnatural, or the person died in prison, police custody, or other types of state detention.

The lawful basis on which we collect and use your personal data is that 'processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation' specifically the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.

The personal information we collect and use

In the course of making enquiries and investigating deaths, we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • name
  • contact details (address, telephone number, email address)

Depending on how the death was notified to us, we may also obtain personal information, such as name and contact details from other sources, such as::

  • Thames Valley Police
  • GPs
  • NHS services
  • Buckinghamshire Registrars

How we use your personal information

We use your personal information to liaise with you as the family/next of kin of the deceased.

How long your personal data will be kept

We'll hold your personal information for a maximum of 15 years of the date the death is reported to the service.

Who we share your personal information with

If required by applicable law, we'll share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities.

We'll not routinely share your information. Any disclosure that is necessary will only be done with your explicit consent.

Your rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you have a number of rights which you can access free of charge which allows you to:

  • know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it
  • ask to see what information we hold about you
  • ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
  • object to direct marketing
  • make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office

Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to: 

  • ask us to delete information we hold about you
  • have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • object to how we are using your information
  • stop us using your information in certain ways

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties. Please note your request may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on individuals' rights under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost or used or accessed in an unauthorised way.

We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We'll notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Who to contact

Contact the Data Protection Officer to exercise any of your rights, or if you have a complaint about:

  • why your information has been collected
  • how it has been used
  • how long we have kept it for.

You can contact our Data Protection Officer at:

The Data Protection Officer
Buckinghamshire Council
Walton Street Offices
Walton Street
HP20 1UA

The General Data Protection Regulation also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner, who may be contacted online or by telephone 0303 123 1113.