Participate Panel Privacy Notice

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Who is the Data Controller for this processing?


Cheshire West and Chester Council is the Data Controller for this processing.


What services are covered by this privacy notice?


Research, Consultation and Engagement with the Participate Panel


The Participate Panel is Cheshire West and Chester Council’s citizens' panel. A group of over 3000 residents from across west Cheshire, that reflect the makeup of the local population, who volunteer to take part in regular research, consultation and engagement on important issues.


Panel members are invited to take part in online engagement to help the Council understand local people's views and ideas. Engagement topics vary and usually revolve around local issues and public services. There are also opportunities to attend discussion groups and events, as well as take part in engagement carried out in partnership with other public sector organisations. Panel members can choose which activities they want to take part in and opt out of those that don’t appeal.


Understanding residents’ views means that the Council is better able to target resources and develop services that meet the needs of local people. Feedback from the panel feeds directly into policy and decision-making processes, to help the Council make better informed decisions to improve the lives of people in the borough.


What personal information do we hold?


We only collect and use the minimum amount of personal information required. We collect this information from you when you register to join the Participate Panel and when you take part in any panel research, consultation and engagement activities.


The mandatory information we collect that is required to join the Participate Panel includes:


  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email address
  • Screen name
  • Postcode
  • Gender
  • Date of birth


If you do not provide us with this information, we will not be able to register you as a member of the Participate Panel. This means that we will not be able to contact you or keep you updated with the work of the Participate Panel.


The voluntary information we collect, to help us run the panel as effectively as possible and analyse feedback to see where views and experiences differ, some of which is classed as special category data, includes:


  • Mobile telephone number
  • Home telephone number
  • Full postal address
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability/health conditions
  • Employment status
  • If you are a carer/look after someone else
  • How many people live in your household and their age groups
  • Home ownership/rent status
  • Research topics of interest.


When respondents complete online panel activities, we collect the IP address that you accessed any of our online services from, but we do not use this to identify individuals. This data is used to measure and monitor the number of unique visits to panel webpages and the number of unique engagements in panel activities.


We use cookies on the Participate Now website to help us provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and allow us to improve our site. This cookie policy specifically explains how we deploy cookies and the options you have to control them


We have access to a customer insight dataset called Acorn. Acorn is a socio- demographic dataset which segments households, postcodes and neighbourhoods into 6 categories, 18 groups and 62 types. We sometimes use the data you have supplied to us to review the way we are delivering services. When we do this we remove all the personal data that could be used to identify you, group it against postcode area and then match it against the Acorn dataset, this allows us to check for differing views between groups of people from different categories, groups or types of household. Further information on Acorn can be found on the Acorn website.


How do we use your personal information?


When we collect and use mandatory information required to join the Participate Panel, we need this to:

  • Upload your information to the Council’s engagement platform Participate Now which we use to carry out online panel engagement activities.
  • Keep you updated with relevant information about panel research, consultation and engagement exercises.
  • Monitor the representativeness of the panel compared to the local population.


When we collect and use voluntary information to help us run the Participate Panel as effectively as possible, we need this to:

  • Carry out research, consultation and engagement with specific groups of panel members most relevant to a particular exercise.
  • Analyse feedback received in relation to research, consultation and engagement exercises to see where views and experiences differ.
  • Inform policy and decision-making processes related to local issues and public services
  • To comply with the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011.


When you take part in any Participate Panel research, consultation or engagement activities your information is pseudonymised to protect your privacy, then analysed and summarised in a report to help inform Council policies and decisions.


We also store information about which panel research, consultation and engagement activities that you take part in.


Who else might we share your personal information with?


Your personal information is never shared with anyone outside of the Council and will only be used in connection with the Participate Panel, apart from exceptional circumstances, such as concerns about your or others' personal safety. Only summary reports or grouped data, in which individuals cannot be personally identified, are used to inform Council policy and decision-making processes or in published reports.


What is the legal basis for our use of your personal information?


All the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the lawful bases we rely on for using your personal information are:


  • You gave us your consent (GDPR Article 6 (a)) - You are able to remove your consent at any time. You can do this by contacting research@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • We need it to perform a public task (GDPR Article 6 (e))


When we collect data about your race, health (including biometric or genetic data), sex life, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, politics or trade union membership, we also rely on the following lawful basis:


  • You gave us your explicit consent (GDPR Article 9 (2) (a))


The legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks includes, but is not limited to:


  • Equality Act 2005 and 2010
  • Public Sector Equality Duty 2011
  • Local Government Act 1999 S.3, as amended by s.137 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and detailed in the DCLG Best Value Statutory Guidance 2011 (these state that Local Authorities have a best value duty to consult)


The Council adheres to national gold standard consultation principles, such as the Gunning Principles 2001 and Government guidance most recently revised in The Cabinet Office’s Consultation Principles 2018.


The Council also complies with the Human Rights Act 1998, so that the rights of individuals are respected, whilst also providing appropriate services. For specific types of statutory consultation, there will also be a variety of other legal bases.


Where will we store your information?


Your information will be securely stored in our offices and on our network. When we use third party suppliers we have safeguards in place to ensure that the supplier adheres to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.


We currently have two online platforms that we use to collect information in relation to research, consultation and engagement activity, listed below. The main platform that will be used for the panel is Engagement HQ.



Once responses are downloaded, they are stored securely on Council servers. The number of staff accessing and handling individual data is limited to a small number of key professionals, all of whom undertake regular training about data protection and managing personal information


How long will we keep your personal information?


We will only keep your personal data for as long as you wish to remain a member of the Participate Panel.


Your information will remain on the panel database until you request your details to be removed, or until recent mailings are undelivered or returned to sender. Members (or your close relatives, or a solicitor acting on your behalf) can request that your details are removed from the database. Requests can be made by e-mailing research@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or by telephone or letter.


If you or someone acting on your behalf requests your details to be removed they will be deleted from the database and any paper documentation containing your personal information will be destroyed via confidential waste.


If we are unable to confirm whether a membership is to be cancelled (for example, upon receipt of undelivered post or emails returned to sender), membership details will be transferred to the "ex members" list for six months, after which time they will be permanently deleted.


Any published research, consultation or engagement reports or papers will summarise and anonymise feedback. The anonymised information in reports and papers may be of historic interest and may be held in public archives indefinitely or will be securely destroyed seven years after a summary report is published.


Any notes that are handwritten or typed during research, consultation and engagement sessions will be securely destroyed after six months. Digital recordings, which may or may not be transcribed, are destroyed six months after the summary report is written, unless there are statutory requirements to retain them longer.


Your rights


Under data protection law, you have rights including:


  • Your right of access - You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.
  • Your right to rectification - You have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.
  • Your right to erasure - You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to restriction of processing - You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to object to processing - You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to data portability - You have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances.

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.


To make a request follow the instructions on the 'Data Protection for you' page below.


How to complain if you are unhappy about how your data is used


You can complain directly to the Council. You can complain directly to the Council's Data Protection team by email or post.


You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office using the following details:


Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?


Your information is stored within the UK.

Who is the Data Controller for this processing?


Cheshire West and Chester Council is the Data Controller for this processing.


What services are covered by this privacy notice?


Research, Consultation and Engagement with the Participate Panel


The Participate Panel is Cheshire West and Chester Council’s citizens' panel. A group of over 3000 residents from across west Cheshire, that reflect the makeup of the local population, who volunteer to take part in regular research, consultation and engagement on important issues.


Panel members are invited to take part in online engagement to help the Council understand local people's views and ideas. Engagement topics vary and usually revolve around local issues and public services. There are also opportunities to attend discussion groups and events, as well as take part in engagement carried out in partnership with other public sector organisations. Panel members can choose which activities they want to take part in and opt out of those that don’t appeal.


Understanding residents’ views means that the Council is better able to target resources and develop services that meet the needs of local people. Feedback from the panel feeds directly into policy and decision-making processes, to help the Council make better informed decisions to improve the lives of people in the borough.


What personal information do we hold?


We only collect and use the minimum amount of personal information required. We collect this information from you when you register to join the Participate Panel and when you take part in any panel research, consultation and engagement activities.


The mandatory information we collect that is required to join the Participate Panel includes:


  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email address
  • Screen name
  • Postcode
  • Gender
  • Date of birth


If you do not provide us with this information, we will not be able to register you as a member of the Participate Panel. This means that we will not be able to contact you or keep you updated with the work of the Participate Panel.


The voluntary information we collect, to help us run the panel as effectively as possible and analyse feedback to see where views and experiences differ, some of which is classed as special category data, includes:


  • Mobile telephone number
  • Home telephone number
  • Full postal address
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability/health conditions
  • Employment status
  • If you are a carer/look after someone else
  • How many people live in your household and their age groups
  • Home ownership/rent status
  • Research topics of interest.


When respondents complete online panel activities, we collect the IP address that you accessed any of our online services from, but we do not use this to identify individuals. This data is used to measure and monitor the number of unique visits to panel webpages and the number of unique engagements in panel activities.


We use cookies on the Participate Now website to help us provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and allow us to improve our site. This cookie policy specifically explains how we deploy cookies and the options you have to control them


We have access to a customer insight dataset called Acorn. Acorn is a socio- demographic dataset which segments households, postcodes and neighbourhoods into 6 categories, 18 groups and 62 types. We sometimes use the data you have supplied to us to review the way we are delivering services. When we do this we remove all the personal data that could be used to identify you, group it against postcode area and then match it against the Acorn dataset, this allows us to check for differing views between groups of people from different categories, groups or types of household. Further information on Acorn can be found on the Acorn website.


How do we use your personal information?


When we collect and use mandatory information required to join the Participate Panel, we need this to:

  • Upload your information to the Council’s engagement platform Participate Now which we use to carry out online panel engagement activities.
  • Keep you updated with relevant information about panel research, consultation and engagement exercises.
  • Monitor the representativeness of the panel compared to the local population.


When we collect and use voluntary information to help us run the Participate Panel as effectively as possible, we need this to:

  • Carry out research, consultation and engagement with specific groups of panel members most relevant to a particular exercise.
  • Analyse feedback received in relation to research, consultation and engagement exercises to see where views and experiences differ.
  • Inform policy and decision-making processes related to local issues and public services
  • To comply with the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011.


When you take part in any Participate Panel research, consultation or engagement activities your information is pseudonymised to protect your privacy, then analysed and summarised in a report to help inform Council policies and decisions.


We also store information about which panel research, consultation and engagement activities that you take part in.


Who else might we share your personal information with?


Your personal information is never shared with anyone outside of the Council and will only be used in connection with the Participate Panel, apart from exceptional circumstances, such as concerns about your or others' personal safety. Only summary reports or grouped data, in which individuals cannot be personally identified, are used to inform Council policy and decision-making processes or in published reports.


What is the legal basis for our use of your personal information?


All the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the lawful bases we rely on for using your personal information are:


  • You gave us your consent (GDPR Article 6 (a)) - You are able to remove your consent at any time. You can do this by contacting research@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • We need it to perform a public task (GDPR Article 6 (e))


When we collect data about your race, health (including biometric or genetic data), sex life, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, politics or trade union membership, we also rely on the following lawful basis:


  • You gave us your explicit consent (GDPR Article 9 (2) (a))


The legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks includes, but is not limited to:


  • Equality Act 2005 and 2010
  • Public Sector Equality Duty 2011
  • Local Government Act 1999 S.3, as amended by s.137 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and detailed in the DCLG Best Value Statutory Guidance 2011 (these state that Local Authorities have a best value duty to consult)


The Council adheres to national gold standard consultation principles, such as the Gunning Principles 2001 and Government guidance most recently revised in The Cabinet Office’s Consultation Principles 2018.


The Council also complies with the Human Rights Act 1998, so that the rights of individuals are respected, whilst also providing appropriate services. For specific types of statutory consultation, there will also be a variety of other legal bases.


Where will we store your information?


Your information will be securely stored in our offices and on our network. When we use third party suppliers we have safeguards in place to ensure that the supplier adheres to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.


We currently have two online platforms that we use to collect information in relation to research, consultation and engagement activity, listed below. The main platform that will be used for the panel is Engagement HQ.



Once responses are downloaded, they are stored securely on Council servers. The number of staff accessing and handling individual data is limited to a small number of key professionals, all of whom undertake regular training about data protection and managing personal information


How long will we keep your personal information?


We will only keep your personal data for as long as you wish to remain a member of the Participate Panel.


Your information will remain on the panel database until you request your details to be removed, or until recent mailings are undelivered or returned to sender. Members (or your close relatives, or a solicitor acting on your behalf) can request that your details are removed from the database. Requests can be made by e-mailing research@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or by telephone or letter.


If you or someone acting on your behalf requests your details to be removed they will be deleted from the database and any paper documentation containing your personal information will be destroyed via confidential waste.


If we are unable to confirm whether a membership is to be cancelled (for example, upon receipt of undelivered post or emails returned to sender), membership details will be transferred to the "ex members" list for six months, after which time they will be permanently deleted.


Any published research, consultation or engagement reports or papers will summarise and anonymise feedback. The anonymised information in reports and papers may be of historic interest and may be held in public archives indefinitely or will be securely destroyed seven years after a summary report is published.


Any notes that are handwritten or typed during research, consultation and engagement sessions will be securely destroyed after six months. Digital recordings, which may or may not be transcribed, are destroyed six months after the summary report is written, unless there are statutory requirements to retain them longer.


Your rights


Under data protection law, you have rights including:


  • Your right of access - You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.
  • Your right to rectification - You have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.
  • Your right to erasure - You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to restriction of processing - You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to object to processing - You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to data portability - You have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances.

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.


To make a request follow the instructions on the 'Data Protection for you' page below.


How to complain if you are unhappy about how your data is used


You can complain directly to the Council. You can complain directly to the Council's Data Protection team by email or post.


You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office using the following details:


Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?


Your information is stored within the UK.