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Adopters and Persons Applying to be Adopters

What this document is for

This privacy notice provides information on how Norfolk County Council (the County Council) uses your personal information as an adoption agency to provide services to you. ‘Use’ means how the County Council processes, stores and shares information about you.

As an adoption agency, the County Council approves adopters and provides them with ongoing support and guidance to ensure they are good adoptive parents. The service ensures that children are matched with the most appropriate adoptive parents to ensure positive outcomes for children and young people that have been in care.

Who we are 

The County Council is the "data controller" for the personal information we hold. This means we are responsible for deciding how we “process” (collect, hold, use and disclose) your personal information.

Our address is Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DH.

The County Council’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) is Helen Edwards.

What we use your personal information for?

We use your personal information to:

  • Process adoptive parents’ applications
  • Assess suitability to become an adoptive parent
  • Approve adopters for the County Council
  • Match approved adoptive parents with children for adoption, to ensure the most successful outcomes for children who have been in care, and
  • Provide ongoing support and advice to adoptive parents

We also use this information to:

  • Prevent, detect or investigate fraud
  • Assess the quality of our services
  • Inform future service planning and the commissioning of services and
  • Evaluate and improve our policies and procedures

We may also use information in other ways compatible with the above.

The kind of information we collect and use about you

In the course of approving, matching and supporting adoptive parents we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • Personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth, gender and language)
  • Family network and relationship information
  • Historical information about the family
  • Educational history
  • Employment history
  • Financial circumstances
  • Information relating to assessments and approvals for suitability to adopt children
  • Previous or current involvement with the County Council’s Children’s Services, including Social Care and Early Help
  • References from third parties (personal and employment)

We also collect data about your:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Religion or faith and
  • Health data including any disabilities and medical conditions

This information is classed as “special category data” under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We may only collect this data when it is relevant and for the purposes described above.

We also collect information concerning criminal convictions and offences.

The GDPR includes safeguards to protect the use of your special category data and criminal conviction data. Further details can be found on our website in the document named ‘Special category data and criminal offences data policy’ which sets out our procedures for compliance with the principles of the GDPR and the retention and erasure of this information.

How does the law protect you and what is the legal basis for processing your information?

We have legal grounds to process this information without your specific consent as it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.

The tasks are carried out under the:

  • Adoption and Children Act 2002 as supported by the Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 and statutory guidance
  • Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005

We have legal grounds to process (including share) special category data and criminal convictions data where it is in the exercise of a statutory function and it is in the necessary for reasons in the substantial public interest. The statutory functions are the same as the tasks in the public interest set out above.

Who provides this information?

We receive information from:

  • The local authority in whose area you live
  • Other County Council departments
  • Other adoption agencies previously involved
  • Past and/or present employer
  • Social media
  • Previous partner
  • Adult children
  • Health bodies including GPs
  • Schools

Who might we share your personal data with? 

We share your personal information with:

  • Departments within the County Council including Finance
  • The Adoption Panel
  • The judiciary and legal representatives
  • Ofsted (in the event of a local authority inspection of children’s services)
  • Other local authorities
  • Other adoption agencies.

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by law.

Your personal information will also be given to a third party contracted by the County Council to provide a service to the County Council. These service providers are known as data processors and have a legal obligation under GDPR and to the County Council to look after your personal information and only use it for providing that service. In particular, the County Council has:

  • Entered into an arrangement with Link Maker. Link Maker provides a secure online platform for the sharing of profiles of prospective adopters for the purposes of matching prospective adopters and children national agency for matching For further details see the Link Maker’s privacy policy: ]
  • Entered into a regional grouping of eight local authorities, two voluntary adoption agencies and Adoption UK known as Adopt East. Adopt East undertakes the following on behalf of the County Council as a data processor:
  • Matching of children and adopters (via Link Maker)
  • The regional tracking of recruitment and assessment of persons applying to become adopters with the County Council
  • The regional tracking of children’s permanency planning
  • Identifying opportunities to follow up in relation to suitable potential adopters for children who may need an adoptive family.
  • The analysis of detailed child and adopter level data to inform the approach to recruitment, sufficiency and matching, and for tracking and quality assurance purposes

How long do we keep your information?

We keep your information securely in line with the retention periods shown below, after which time it is archived or securely destroyed, unless we are required by legal reasons to retain records for longer than the stated retention period.

  • Category - Adoptive parents including both the Council’s placements as adoption agency and non-agency placements (step-parent adoptions)
    Retention Period - On granting of an adoption order and completion of outstanding work,100 years from date of adoption order
  • Category - Adoptive parents who were ‘counselled out’ or turned down or approved but they decided not to proceed further
    Retention Period - Date approval is terminated 10 years or date of death of adoptive parent +2 years. In exceptional cases, records may be retained beyond this period on the authorisation of a district manage
  • Category - Adoption panel records
    Retention Period - Date of adoption order 100 years
  • Category - Records relating to the adoption and Special Guardianship Finance Support Board
    Retention Period - Date of the meeting of the board plus a minimum of 6 years then review
  • Category - Post-adoption support
    Retention Period - Date of adoption order +100 years

How is this information stored?

The information is stored electronically on secure shared drives, the County Council’s case management system known as Liquid Logic and Link Maker.

Is this information transferred to other countries?

We will not be routinely transferring your information to other countries outside of the European Economic Area but, if it is necessary to do so in order to provide a service to you or to safeguards others, we will ensure that appropriate safeguards are put in place before the information is transferred.

Does the County Council make automated decisions about you?

We do not use automated decisions about you and your family.

Your responsibility to inform us of changes

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current.

Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your working relationship with us. You can do to help us with this by:

  • Telling a social worker when any of your details change; and
  • Telling a social worker if any of the information held on you is wrong

Your rights under the GDPR

You have the following rights (but they do not apply in all circumstances). You have the right to:

  • Be informed about the processing of your personal information. This is why you have been given this document.
  • Have your personal information corrected if it is inaccurate and to have incomplete personal information completed
  • Object to the processing of your personal data
  • Restrict processing of your personal information
  • Have your personal data erased (“the right to be forgotten”). This right is subject to several restrictions which will be discussed further with you if you choose to exercise it
  • Move, copy or transfer your personal information (“data portability”) in limited circumstances
  • Request access to your personal information and information about how the County Council processes it, and
  • Withdraw any consent you have given for the processing of personal data at any time.

If you want to exercise any of these rights, please contact the Information Compliance Team by:

  • Emailing the Information Compliance Team on
  • Writing to the Information Compliance Team, Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2UA

Questions or complaints

If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, you can write to DPO, Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DH or email

You also have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues. The ICO can be contacted:

  • By writing to the ICO, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
  • By telephoning 0303 123 1113
  • Via the ICO website

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep this privacy notice under regular review and will provide you with a new privacy notice when any substantial updates are made.  We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.

Date of notice

This notice was last updated in April 2020.