Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice sets out information about how we process information about you in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation. It tells you what to expect us to do with your personal information when you make contact with us or use one of our services.

We’ll tell you:

  • why we are able to process your information
  • what purpose we are processing it for
  • whether you have to provide it to us
  • how long we store it for
  • whether there are other recipients of your personal information
  • whether we intend to transfer it to another country, and
  • whether we do automated decision-making or profiling.

The first part of the notice is information we need to tell everybody.

Family Lives is a national charity. We hold and processes information about our service users for various purposes. For example, to ensure our services are responsive to needs and to report to our commissioners and funders, to enable correspondence and communications, and for safeguarding purposes.

About Family Lives: Family Lives: 15-17 The Broadway, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 5HZ
Tel: 020 7553 3080. Family Lives is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office as a Data Controller under number Z489744X.

How we use your information

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when Family Lives collects personal information about you. We are committed to protecting your personal information and being transparent about what we do with it. Family Lives takes appropriate technical and organisational measures to keep your data safe.

Why we process your data: We process personal data about you to enable us to provide the appropriate service to you and your family. Data which has been collected prior to the introduction of GDPR (25 May 2018) will be processed in accordance with this updated Privacy Notice.

Data controller: The data controller for the National Offenders’ Families Helpline is Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service


Legal basis for processing data: The legal basis we rely on to process your personal data is article 6(1)(f) of the GDPR, which allows us to process personal data when its necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests of the data controller. The purpose for implementing all of the below on our websites is to maintain and monitor the performance of our websites and to constantly look to improve the site and the services we offer to our users.

Analytics: When you visit this website we use a third-party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out such things as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is only processed in a way that does not identify anyone. We do not make, and do not allow Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website.

If we do collect personal data through our website, we’ll be upfront about this. We’ll make it clear when we collect personal information and we’ll explain what we intend to do with it.

Cookies: You can read more about how we use cookies on our Cookies Page. We use a cookies tool on our website which requires explicit opt in action by users of our website. This will apply to the non-necessary cookies.

Your rights: As we are processing your personal data for our legitimate interests as stated above, you have the right to object to our processing of your personal data. There are legitimate reasons why we may refuse your objection, which depend on why we are processing it.

People who call the National Offenders’ Families Helpline

Why we process you data: For some calls, where you have requested that we contact a prison on your behalf where you are concerned about the wellbeing of a prisoner, we will process the personal information you provide.

Lawful basis for processing data: under certain circumstances we will process personal details provided by the caller about the prisoner under the lawful basis of ‘vital interests’ where there is concern for their safety.

We also record some anonymous statistical information on each call where the caller agrees, to report on and improve our service. This includes information such as gender, age, ethnicity, they type of prison sentence and location, and how the call has helped you. This information never reports about specific people. We use anonymised statistical data about callers to our helpline in our reports to the Data Controller and marketing material.

The helpline also offers a translation service for customers when English is not their first language, this is provided by a third party company LanguageLine. The company that provides this service does not retain any information from the calls or record them.

If you email the helpline, we process the personal information provided by you, such as your email address, in order to provide the service, under the basis of ‘legitimate interests’ of the Data Controller.

We’ll never pass on the information you provide during the call to any other organisation, except in the following situations:

  • You have asked us to contact the prison on your behalf and given consent
  • We receive a call about acts of terrorism or bomb warnings
  • We receive a court order requiring us to share information
  • We are working in partnership with another organisation and you have given consent for your information to be shared
  • You threaten the safety of our call takers
  • You are in a situation which has or could cause you harm, you have given us information that identifies you and you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  This applies to all young people under 13, and in some circumstances to older children and adults.  If we are worried about this situation, we will always talk to you about it first.
  • You provide information that identifies someone who has caused harm or says they are going to cause harm to a child or vulnerable adult

How long we keep your data

Where we have your personal information, we will store this for a maximum of 18 months after which it will be deleted.


When we receive a complaint from a person we make up a file containing the details of the complaint. This normally contains the identity of the complainant and any other individuals involved in the complaint.

We will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. We do compile statistics showing information like the number of complaints we receive, but not in a form which identifies anyone. This information is only shared internally and with our funders.

We usually have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about. This is inevitable where, for example, the accuracy of a person’s record is in dispute. If a complainant doesn’t want information identifying him or her to be disclosed, we will try to respect that. However, it may not be possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.

We will keep personal information contained in complaint files in line with our retention policy. This means that information relating to a complaint will be retained for two years from closure. It will be retained in a secure environment and access to it will be restricted according to the ‘need to know’ principle.

Your rights to your data

You have the right to access the data we hold about you, to correct it if it is wrong and to transfer your data (under certain circumstances).

You have a right to access data that Family Lives holds about you (personal data) and be given access to your information within 30 days of request in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations. You can request your personal information by email to or by writing to: Data Controller, Family Lives, 15-17 The Broadway, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 5HZ.

There is no charge for this. It will help us to find your information if you can tell us something about the nature of your contact with us e.g. which service, your geographic area. We want to ensure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate. You may be asked to provide identification of your identity.

Your right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority: If you have a complaint about the way we process your data, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Please see the ICO website for more information.

Changes to this privacy notice: We regularly review and, where necessary, update our privacy information. If we plan to use personal data for a new purpose, we update our privacy information and communicate the changes to individuals before starting any new processing.

Updated May 2018