Department unveils online platform through which solicitors and members of the public can make subject access requests
The Ministry of Justice has launched a digital service through which citizens can request personal information held on them by the department and a number of its agencies.
Under UK data protection laws, individuals have the right to demand from organisations details of the personal information held on them, how it is used and shared, and from where it was acquired. This is known as a subject access request (SAR).
Normally, these must be made via email or letter, with the onus on whoever is making the request to ascertain whom they should contact and what information they need to provide.
To make this process easier, the MoJ has created a dedicated digital service through which the requests can be made – by either a member of the public or a solicitor. The online form allows users to request various types of information held by the ministry, 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 that can be accessed bit the digital tool includes records on time served in prison, probation case notes, files relating to lasting power of attorney, and data on applications for legal aid.
The online service has been launched following a pilot process that was run late last year, in which legal aid practitioners participated.
“Improvements were made to the efficiency of the process – requests made through the digital form were accepted as valid 81% of the time,” said the Legal Aid Agency. “Two-thirds of solicitors surveyed said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the new request process [and], responding to feedback, online content explaining the service was updated to make it clearer for everyone.”