Who we are and what we do

We are Children’s Social Care in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. We have a duty to ensure children and young people in Waltham Forest are looked after well and protected from harm.  

We work with other teams, services, and agencies in Waltham Forest to provide support to children, young people, and their families to ensure that children and young people achieve the best possible outcomes by receiving the right support. You can contact our MASH Service via email: mashrequests@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 020 8496 2310.

Information we hold about you

When you use our services, we will collect some information about you, such as:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • sensitive information about you and your family such as the country you are from, religion, ethnic origin
  • disability
  • relationships information
  • contact details
  • family composition
  • health information 
  • family history
  • education information
  • NHS number
  • other agencies involved
  • GP
  • legal information
  • police information
  • immigration status
  • mental health information
  • referral/assessment information
  • reasons we are helping you and details of what we have done to support you
  • adoption information, care and leaving care information
  • any other relevant information that would help in assessing and supporting you.

Purpose of processing personal data and how we use it

  • We collect and use your information because we have a legal obligation to safeguard children and efficient and appropriate information sharing is key to that task, and also to improve our services, send reports to the government as we are required to do by law, and make sure that we carry out our duties in line with laws and legislation regarding children, young people and their families.
  • We also need your information to help us to provide the best service to you.
  • Under the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts, the Children and Families Act 2014, the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 we have a duty to safeguard the welfare of children. S17 of the 1989 Children Act places a duty to assess children in need. S47 of the 1989 Children Act places a duty to investigate if a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
  • In order to safeguard children and young people and their families, we need their demographic information to create a record on our Information Communication Systems (ICS) Protocol system.  Information gathered is used to safeguard children from harm.

Lawful basis for processing personal data

The Data Protection Act 2018 gives specific reasons why we are allowed to process your data. The basis for us processing your data is:

Article 6(e) Public task: the processing is necessary to perform a task in the public interest or official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

For more details on the Lawful Basis see the ICO guidance.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

  • police
  • health
  • education/schools
  • housing
  • probation
  • youth offending service
  • education welfare (Children Missing Education)
  • schools
  • pupil admissions
  • Court
  • we also share information with agencies involved both from universal and targeted services in Waltham Forest
  • Ofsted, in line with the inspection of Children’s Services.
  • government departments (e.g. the Home Office)
  • information sharing also takes place with other local authorities who need to carry out checks, child and family assessments and child protection enquiries.

Under the Children Acts, social workers have a duty to safeguard children and adults and are required to ensure that they share appropriate information if they believe a child or adult is at risk of harm.

In situations where it is necessary under child protection legislation, statutory agencies such as us, police, education and health services are required to exchange all necessary information with each other, with or without your consent.

The people we may need to ask for information about your family include:

  • GP
  • health visitor
  • other health workers your family have been in contact with
  • school
  • voluntary organisations from whom your family has received services
  • other professionals who have been involved in assessing your needs or providing services
  • a parent who may not be in the same household as you
  • someone else who has parental responsibility for your child/ren
  • any other person or agency deemed relevant to the enquiry.

If you are receiving support from adult social care, the NHS may share your NHS number with us. This is so that the same number is used to identify you and so that the NHS and adult social care can work more closely to improve your care and support. If you do not wish your NHS number to be shared for social care purposes, please speak with your social worker.

Please see the relevant section of the Corporate Privacy Notice

How long we keep your information

Personal data will not be retained for longer than necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is collected. We will keep your information for as long as it is required by law and in accordance with the Council’s policies and in line with our records retention policy.