How To Claim For A Social Services Data Breach

Have you suffered harm due to a social services data breach? If so, you may be wondering if you are eligible to make a claim for compensation.

Social Services data breach

Social Services data breach

Social services is an umbrella term encompassing a range of public services, and as such, any social services agency could have access to an array of personal data.

In this article, we will explain what personal data is, along with who is eligible to make a personal data breach claim. Following this, we will touch on how legal professionals calculate compensation settlements and what kinds of personal data could be involved in a social services data breach.

Our advisors can answer any questions you may have surrounding personal data breach claims when you get in touch today. They can offer free legal advice and can tell you if your claim is valid. To learn more, get in touch:

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Social Services Data Breach?
  2. Types Of Data Involved
  3. Should I Contact The Information Commissioners’ Office?
  4. How To Get Your Claim Started
  5. Social Services Data Breach Settlement Amounts
  6. Get Help With Social Services Data Breach Cases

What Is A Social Services Data Breach?

Social services agencies have a legal obligation under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) to protect your personal data. If they fail to do so, and this results in a security incident that affects the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of your personal data, this is a personal data breach. This legislation is enforced by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Personal data is information that can identify you. For example, a social services agency may collect your full name, email address, or phone number. However, not every breach of personal data can become a personal data breach claim. According to the UK GDPR, there are three conditions your claim must meet in order to be valid. These are:

  • Your personal data was affected by the breach
  • The breach was a result of wrongful conduct
  • You experienced harm because of the breach

Social Care Data Breach Statistics

The ICO provides data security incident trends based on reports they receive under data protection legislation. According to these trends, the social care sector reported 256 data security incidents in 2021. In comparison, the same sector reported 249 incidents in 2020.

A social services data breach can occur for many reasons, from incidents of human error, such as misdirected faxes or a failure to redact documents, to cyberattacks. To find out if you could be eligible to claim, get in touch with our advisors.

Types Of Data Involved

Social services agencies could hold a variety of different types of personal data, including your:

  • Full name
  • Postal address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number

They may also collect your special category data. This is a kind of personal data that requires extra protection under data protection law, and can include:

  • Health information, such as your medical records
  • Your racial or ethnic origin
  • Information regarding your sexuality
  • Data concerning your religious or philosophical beliefs

To learn more about making a social services data breach claim, get in touch with our advisors today/

Should I Contact The Information Commissioner’s Office?

The ICO is an independent watchdog based in the UK. They are responsible for upholding data protection law, and they have the power to investigate organisations and impose fines on those who do not comply with legislation.

If a personal data breach occurs that could affect your rights or your freedoms, the organisation responsible must report this breach to the ICO within 72 hours. Likewise, they should make you, as the data subject, aware without undue delay.

You can first complain directly to the organisation responsible if you suffer harm due to a data breach. They may be able to provide further information. For example, they could confirm the breach, or they could tell you what information was affected.

However, if they do not provide a satisfactory response, you can contact the ICO and make a complaint. Be sure to do this within three months of your last meaningful contact with the organisation responsible.

Our advisors can answer any questions you might have about making a social services data breach claim when you get in touch today.

How To Get Your Claim Started

You may wonder what steps you could take to get your claim started. Gathering evidence can be helpful, as it can help you strengthen your claim for data breach compensation. Some examples of evidence you could provide in a personal data breach claim include:

  • Correspondence with the ICO or the social services agency responsible for the breach
  • Evidence of psychiatric harm, such as medical records or a note from a GP surgery
  • Receipts, invoices, or bank statements that prove any financial harm you have suffered as a result of the breach

You can collect this evidence yourself or with the help of a solicitor from our panel. To find out how a solicitor from our panel could help you make a social services data breach claim, contact our team.

Social Services Data Breach Settlement Amounts

A successful personal data breach claim could receive both material and non-material damage. Material damage is the area of compensation that addresses the financial impacts of the breach. For example, if your credit card or bank account details are compromised, and this leads to illegal withdrawals from your account or damage to your credit score, this would be addressed under material damage.

Non-material damage aims to address the effect the breach has on your mental health. For example, if you suffer from anxiety after a data breach, this would be covered by non-material damage. Below, you can find some example non-material damage settlements with figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

Manner of Psychiatric HarmHow Severe? What JC Guideline Award Bracket?Additional Notes
Psychiatric Damage of A General Nature(a) Severe - £54,830 to £115,730Poor prognosis with severe symptoms that affect the ability to cope with all areas of life.
Psychiatric Damage of A General Nature(b) Moderately Severe - £19,070 to £54,830Similar issues as in the case above, though the prognosis is slightly better.
Psychiatric Damage of A General Nature(c) Moderate- £5,860 to £19,070A marked improvement by the time that the case is heard in court.
Psychiatric Damage of A General Nature(d) Less Severe - £1,540 to £5,860Consideration is given to the length of time affected by symptoms and the effect on daily activities.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)(a) Severe - £59,860 to £100,670


Permanent and severe symptoms affect the ability to function at the pre-trauma level.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)(b) Moderately Severe - £23,150 to £59,860


There is some chance of recovery with professional help.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)(c) Moderate - £8,180 to £23,150An overall recovery with issues remaining that are not grossly disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)(d) Less Severe - £3,950 to £8,180


A virtually full recovery within two years, with only minor symptoms persisting.

The JCG is a document that provides legal professionals with guideline settlement amounts. However, these are only guidelines and not guarantees. For a free evaluation of your social services data breach claim, contact our advisors today.

Get Help With Social Services Data Breach Cases

Our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors offer their services through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). A solicitor who provides their services through a CFA typically won’t ask for any upfront or ongoing fees throughout your claim. If your claim succeeds, they will take a success fee. This is a small, legally-capped percentage of your compensation. But, if your claim does not succeed, they will not take this fee.

Our advisors can put you in touch with a solicitor from our panel if they find your claim to be valid. Get in touch today to learn more:

Where To Read More About Cyber Security Breaches

For more helpful articles:

Or, for more resources:

To start your social services data breach claim, get in touch with our advisors.

Writer FE

Checked by HP