We take great care to protect the confidentiality of the information people give us. In this privacy notice, we explain the legal basis for data processing, what will happen to your data, and who you can contact with a query or a complaint.

Key points

  • We have invited you to take part in the Early Legal Advice Pilot (ELAP). This is a legal advice programme that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is testing.
  • The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) will be carrying out research to understand if the service helps people.
  • If you decide to take part in the pilot, we will ask you to fill out two surveys. The surveys will be three months apart.  We might also ask you to take part in a research interview and/or ask to sit in on one of your advice sessions.
  • We will only use the data we receive or that you share with us to decide whether you can take part in the pilot and then for research purposes. We might link your data to other records, but we will not pass it on to anyone else. It will not be used to make any decisions about any case you may have.
  • Any reports and documents we publish will not name or identify you.
  • The information below explains how we will use your data and what your rights are.

Background information

The Early Legal Advice Pilot (ELAP) is a legal advice and support programme. This is a programme that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is testing in Manchester and Middlesbrough. This initial testing phase of this programme will run from October 2022 to March 2023. 

The pilot is seeking to understand whether free legal advice and support helps people resolve their problems. To do this, half of those people who choose to take part in the pilot, and are eligible, will be selected to receive 3 hours free legal support. The other half will be told about existing local services that might be able to help and continue as normal. These groups are selected at random, to help the research team to see if the advice makes a difference. This is known as a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT).

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has hired a professional research team to collect data to find out how well the ELAP works. The research team are led by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). The team also includes WPI Economics (WPI), the Centre for Homeless Impact and The Legal Education Foundation. You can find out more about ELAP and these organisations by following the links below:

This privacy notice describes how we collect and use your personal information during and after you take part in the pilot. We do this in line with data protection law. It is important that you read this notice so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information. We are committed to protecting your personal information and keeping it secure.

What personal data will we collect?

We will collect personal data including:

  • name
  • address
  • contact details
  • gender
  • date of birth
  • relationship status
  • employment status
  • household income.

We will also ask you about your race or ethnicity. This is a ‘special category’ of data, meaning that there are extra protections in place.

What will we use your personal data for?

We will use personal data we receive from you for research purposes only. This means:

  • We will not use it for deciding what public services you receive, other than to see if you are eligible for the advice as part of this pilot. 
  • We will not use it for following up on any payments.
  • We will not make any information which could be used to identify you available to anyone outside MoJ or the research partners without your agreement. Any reports and documents we publish will not name or identify you.
  • We will not transfer your data internationally.

We will use your personal data in the following ways:

  • To understand your experiences of taking part in the pilot, so we can find out how well it is working.
  • To understand whether the legal advice helps resolve any legal problems you might have.
  • To communicate with you about the research study. This includes sending you shopping vouchers to thank you for completing the surveys.
  • To link it up to other existing data (see below for more information). This may be used to find out how your situation changes in the future.

Who will have access to your personal data?

Only members of the research team at NatCen will have access to your personal data collected as part of the research. Please see below for more information on how we make sure we store your data safely.

Where has your personal information come from?

Your local authority identified people that were behind on their Council Tax payments and sent out information on the pilot to them, on our behalf.  If you complete or already completed the survey, we will have your personal information and contact details. No information from the local authority or other sources has been shared with us.

Most of the personal information we need for this research will be provided by you through two surveys, if you choose to take part.

We may also receive some information from the Legal Aid Agency, if you choose to take part and if you access the pilot’s legal advice services. This includes:

  • Information on what happened in the legal advice session and how long it lasted. This may include what legal problem you sought advice for and whether you were referred to another service.
  • Personal information such as gender, ethnicity and whether you have a disability.

We might also link your information to other administrative data. Administrative data is data that organisations collect as part of their operations, including court and homelessness data. The reason we might link your information to such data would be to understand your experience in the longer term.

What is the lawful basis for processing your data?

The way we will use your data is within the law on data protection. We will use your data to perform a ‘public task’ - running the advice programme for the benefit of the public. We are allowed to collect data on race or ethnicity because there is a ‘substantial public interest’ for us, to avoid any of these groups being discriminated against.

Legal basis details

For the use of personal data to be lawful, we need to meet one (or more) conditions in the data protection legislation, as set out in Article 6(1) of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

  • Under the UK GDPR, the lawful basis for processing your information is that we need it to perform a ‘public task’. This means that processing this data is necessary for carrying out a task in the public interest. The legal basis for collecting and processing special category data is ‘Reasons of substantial public interest’.
  • The legal basis for NatCen receiving information on the content of the legal advice session from the Legal Aid Agency, is that it is required to enable the Lord Chancellor to perform their functions. We are therefore allowed to share this information, as under LASPO section 35, paragraph 1, part (a).

The MoJ is the data controller and NatCen and WPI are the data processors for the personal data collected and used for this research.

How will we store your personal data?

We will store your personal data securely and confidentially in line with GDPR. It will then be securely deleted from NatCen’s systems at the end of the project, in line with our data retention schedule. We will only keep your personal data for as long as we need it for the purpose(s) of this piece of research. After this point it will be securely destroyed.

Please note that, under Schedule 2, Part 6, Section 27 of the Data Protection Act 2018, and in compliance with the relevant data processing conditions, we can lawfully keep personal data processed purely for research purposes indefinitely.

Your Rights

You have the right to:

  • Ask us for copies of your personal information.
  • Ask us to rectify personal information you think is inaccurate.
  • Ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.

You also have the right to withdraw your permission for processing at any time:

  • Once we have been notified that you have withdrawn your permission, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to. This will be the case unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.
  • When any data you provide has been combined with other responses in analyses, we will not be able to remove your data from those analyses. However, the original data will be erased, and it will not be possible to identify you in these combined results.

If you want to do any of the above, this is free of charge – just contact us at the address below. We will respond to you within one month.

Disclosure Team
Post point 10.38
102 Petty France

Email: data.access@justice.gov.uk

How to complain

If you have any concerns about how we will use your personal data, you can contact the MoJ data protection officer;

Data Protection Officer
Ministry of Justice
5th Floor
Post point 5.18
102 Petty France

Email: DPO@justice.gov.uk

You can also complain to the ICO if you are unhappy with how we have used your data:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Helpline number: 0303 123 1113

ICO website: https://www.ico.org.uk

Questions about the evaluation

If you have a query about the evaluation and taking part, you can contact the NatCen research team;

Email: elap@natcen.ac.uk

Phone: 0800 652 0201