Information charter

Publisher:Department for Transport
Publication type:Instructional
Published date: 1 July 2008
Modified date: 14 March 2012

Information charter

The Department with its agencies holds personal data on the majority of the UK adult population:

  • the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency holds records on 42 million drivers and 36 million vehicle keepers
  • the Driving Standards Agency holds details of 3.7 million tests conducted each year and 90,000 registrations for Approved and Potential Driving Instructors
  • the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency holds 103,000 records on goods and passenger vehicle operators
  • the Maritime and Coastguard Agency holds records on seafarers

It is very likely that at least one part of our Department will hold personal information about you.

We know how important it is to protect your privacy and to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. If we ask for your personal information we will:

  • let you know why we need it
  • only ask for what we need, and not collect excessive or irrelevant information
  • make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services, and whether you can say no
  • only keep it for as long as we need to
  • not make it available for commercial use (such as marketing) without your permission

In dealing with your personal information, we will also:

  • value the personal information entrusted to us and make sure we respect that trust
  • abide by the law when it comes to handling personal information
  • consider the privacy risks when we are planning to use or hold personal information in new ways, such as introducing new systems
  • provide training to staff who handle personal information and respond appropriately if personal information is not used or protected properly

In return, to help us keep your information reliable and up to date, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible of any changes, such as a change of address

How to find out what personal information we hold about you

You can find out more about the personal information we process by looking at the privacy policies for our agencies:

If you want to find out whether any of our agencies, or the central Department, hold any personal information about you, you can make a “subject access request” to them under the Data Protection Act 1998. If they do hold information about you they will:

  • give you a description of it
  • tell you why they are holding it
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to
  • and let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form

In making a subject access request to any part of the Department, please be as specific as you can about the information you want, and, if it isn’t obvious, explain why you expect us to hold your personal information. To make a subject access request contact the Department or the relevant agency:

The guidance for each of the agencies will explain whether it is their policy to charge a £10 fee, as allowed under the Data Protection Act 1998.

When we share information

We are committed to providing the best and most efficient service to our customers. We may share personal information within our organisation or with other bodies where it would be compatible with the purpose for which we collected it, and/or where we are required or permitted to do so by law.

There are some cases where we can pass on your information without telling you, for example to prevent and detect crime or to produce anonymised statistics. In all cases – whether data is shared internally or externally – the Department will act in accordance with the DPA and other relevant legislation.

The training and guidance we give to our staff

All of our staff are trained in the importance of protecting personal and other sensitive information. Those that work in areas that handle large volumes of personal data, such as DVLA, DSA and VOSA, receive more in depth training and take refresher training each year. Managers who have formal responsibilities for large datasets receive further training still.

A wide range of guidance is available to staff on compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and information security policies, for example:

How to make a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your personal information and wish to make a complaint, please write to the Data Protection Officer at the relevant agency or the central Department. We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days and let you have a full response within 20 working days. If it is not possible to respond fully within this timescale, we will write and let you know why and say when you should receive a full response.

Data protection contacts

Department for Transport:

Data Protection Officer
Department for Transport
Information Management Directorate
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex, TN37 7GA

Driving Standards Agency

Data Protection Officer
Driving Standards Agency
Knowledge and Information Management
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street
Nottingham, NG1 6LP

Information Commissioner

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, contact the Information Commissioner:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Phone: 08456 306 060 or 01625 524 510