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Privacy notice - HM Coroner for the City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot County Borough council area

This privacy notice covers the judicial processing undertaken by the Coroner's office.

For non-judicial processing such as staffing, personnel, leadership, welfare or any other HR function in so far as it relates to employed staff, the coroner shall follow the privacy notice and policies of the host authority the City and County of Swansea and as detailed here

Identity and contact details of the Data Controller

The Coroner Service for the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot geographical areas was amalgamated by the Coroners and Justice Act (Alteration of Coroners Areas) Order 2013. This privacy notice therefore covers the judicial service provided by the Coroner's Office to both Swansea and Neath Port Talbot citizens.

The Data Controller:

HM Coroner, Mr Colin Phillips is the lead data controller for the Coroner Service for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Our postal address is:

HM Coroner
Swansea Council
The Guidhall

As a public body holding data about living people, we must comply with all relevant legislation relating to data handling. The Judicial Data Protection Panel acts as a supervisor for the data protection activities of Coroners.

Categories of personal data we hold

Obtaining, recording, holding and dealing with personal information is known as 'processing'.  

We process personal data such as personal details, family details, lifestyle and social circumstances, financial details and employment and education details. It is common to record information on next of kin, witnesses and professionals who may have been involved with the deceased person.

We also process sensitive classes of data about offences and alleged offences, physical or mental health details, racial or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, sexual orientation and criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences.

The coroner's service processes data as part of their judicial activities. This includes when a member of staff, police officer or other appointed investigator, is carrying out activities in pursuit of the coroner's statutory powers and responsibilities.

How the Coroner's Service uses personal data

The Coroner is legally required to investigate all deaths which are violent or unnatural, where the cause of death is unknown, and where a death occurs whilst in custody or state detention.

Personal data is collected and processed to enable us to administer the Coroner's Office, investigate deaths and carry out our statutory responsibilities under the various legislative frameworks.

In addition, we collect personal data for reasons of:

  • Service delivery
  • Statistical analysis and reporting
  • Safeguarding (future prevention of death)

People we share data with

Unless a restriction is applied inquests are publically accessible and therefore data will be shared with anyone attending the proceedings, including the press.

During the course of undertaking their legal duties HM Coroner may at their discretion or as legally required share information with the following main organisations / individuals:

  • City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils
  • Chief Coroner
  • South Wales Police
  • Pathologists and other medical professionals working for HM Coroner
  • Funeral Directors in the area
  • Local Coroners - specifically when cases are transferred to or received from
  • NHS Hospital Trusts and other clinical / outreach bodies in the South Wales area
  • South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Ministry Of Justice
  • Fire and Rescue Service for the South Wales area
  • British Transport Police
  • South Wales Ambulance Services
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Care Inspectorate for Wales
  • Families affected
  • Register Office Staff in the South Wales area
  • Cemeteries and Crematoria in the South Wales area

The source of personal data

The vast majority of personal data we receive is from South Wales Police and NHS Hospital trusts in the South Wales area. We do however also receive data from the organisations and individuals listed above during the course of our judicial activities and investigations.

How long we keep your data

Data is held for no longer than is necessary and the Coroner will follow legal guidelines on how long information should be kept before it is securely destroyed.

The timeframe for holding data is different depending on the type of data involved. Presently the retention periods are as follows:

  • Matters that are referred to HM Coroner that are deaths due to natural causes are held for 15 years, after which the data will be deleted or archived
  • Cases which result in an inquest are held indefinitely

Transfers outside the European Economic Area

We do not share personal information beyond the European Economic Area (EEA) on a regular basis. There may be rare circumstances involving the death of a foreign national or the death of a British national abroad. In those circumstances there may need to be a limited amount of data sharing as necessary to carry out the judicial functions of the Coroner's Office.

The electronic case management systems used by the Coroners service hold data securely within the EAA.

Your data rights

There are a number of rights a living individual has in relation to data about them and how it is used by a public body. These rights include:

1. Right to be informed
We must be completely transparent with you by providing information 'in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language'. Our privacy notice is one of the ways we try and let you know how data is handled.

2. Right of access
You have the right to access your personal information.

3. Right to rectification
You have the right without undue delay to request the rectification or updating of inaccurate personal data.

4. Right to restrict processing
You can ask for there to be a restriction of processing such as where the accuracy of the personal data is contested. This means that we may only store the personal data and not further process it except in limited circumstances

5. Right to object
You can object to certain types of processing such as direct marketing. The right to object also applies to other types of processing such as processing for scientific, historical research or statistical purposes (although processing may still be carried out for reasons of public interest).

6. Rights on automated decision making and profiling
The law provides safeguards for you against the risk that a potentially damaging decision is taken without human intervention. The Coroner's Service does not operate any system of automated decision making.

7. Right to data portability
Where personal data is processed on the basis of consent and by automated means, you have the right to have your personal data transmitted directly from one data controller to another where this is technically possible.

8. Right to erasure or 'right to be forgotten'
You can request the erasure of their personal data including when:
(i) the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected
(ii) you no longer provide your consent, or
(iii) you object to the processing.

Limits to Data Rights

The Data Protection Act 2018 provides exemptions which have the effect of the restriction or the complete disapplication of data rights when the data is being processed as part of judicial activity.

The Coroner's Office will however consider requests on a case by case basis.

The right to complain about data handling

The Coroner's Office sets very high standards for the collection and appropriate use of personal data. We therefore take any complaints about data handling very seriously. We encourage you to bring to our attention where the use of data is unfair, misleading or inappropriate and we also welcome suggestions for improvement.

Informal resolution

In the first instance we would ask that you try and resolve data handling issues directly with the Coroner's Office. We are committed to handling data appropriately and are confident that we can resolve most issues informally.

Formal resolution

If you have concerns about how your personal data was processed by the Coroner's Office when exercising judicial functions you can contact the Judicial Data Protection Panel. The panel can be contacted via the Judicial Office Data Privacy Officer at:

11th Floor Thomas Moore Building, Royal Courts of Justice, London, WC2A 2LL.

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Last modified on 02 August 2021