Information for students

Can I see personal information the University holds on me?
I was unhappy with my exam results. Can I get access to my exam paper?
What type of information does the University hold on me?
I need to contact a friend on my course. Can you give me their telephone number?
I am very keen for my parents to be involved in my affairs but whenever they call my lecturer he says he can’t provide them with information what can I do?
I’m undertaking research that involves the collection of personal data, what are the data protection implications
Where can I obtain further information on my rights and the Data Protection Act

Can I see personal information the University holds on me?

Yes, if you contact the University’s Information Governance Team then they can ensure that your personal information is made available to you.

In order for you to receive information you would need to:

  • Make a request in writing
  • Provide evidence to verify identification
  • Provide the necessary fees due (In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, a £10 administrative charge may be required. The University may decide to waive this fee if the information sought is readily accessible)

I was unhappy with my exam results. Can I get access to my exam paper?

You would be entitled to have access to comments made by the examiner on your paper, however an exemption within the Act means that the University does not have to provide the exam script. If the University were to utilise the exemption, comments would be transferred from the exam paper to a blank document.

What type of information does the University hold on me?

The University processes a wide range of personal information that is necessary for it to function effectively. In order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, the University must outline what information it collects and for what purpose.

The University’s fair processing notice is available on the website

For further information on the type of information processed, refer to the University’s notification entry ( Z6472800) within the 'Register of Data Controllers’ on the Information Commissioner’s website.

I need to contact a friend on my course as they have borrowed my textbook. Can you give me their telephone number?

The University cannot disclose information to a third party without the individual’s prior consent.

I am very keen for my parents to be involved in my affairs but whenever they call my lecturer he says he can’t provide them with information what can I do?

In order to enable Lecturers or University staff to speak to parents or other third parties, a consent form would need to be completed by the student and confirmation would be required to verify the identity of the student.

I’m undertaking research that involves the collection of personal data, what are the data protection implications

Across the University there is an increased amount of research being undertaken. This research may involve the use of personal information, and those undertaking such work must take into consideration the implications of the Data Protection Act.

Personal information can be used as the basis of research work, but in order to do so, the personal information must either be;

  • anonymised so that it doesn’t fall within the confines of the Act, or,
  • used so that it complies with the 8 Data Protection Principles.

Researchers opting to comply with the 8 Data Protection Principles are able to rely on exemptions from two of the Principles provided that the following conditions are met;

  • no data is processed that could in any way support measures or decisions relating to particular individuals, including, but not restricted to, the data subject, and;
  • the data is not processed in any way that causes or could cause substantial damage or substantial distress to any data subject.

If these conditions are met then the personal data would be exempt from:

  • Data Protection Principle 2 in so much that: Personal data can be further processed for research purposes even if it was not obtained for that purpose.
  • Data Protection Principle 5 in so much that: Personal data used for research can be kept indefinitely.

It may be the case that it is not possible to meet with the two conditions. Under such circumstances the researcher will need to ensure that personal data processed complies with all 8 Principles of the Act.

In conducting research, researchers should attempt, where possible, to get individual consent. If that is not possible then researchers may rely on the condition that it is in their legitimate interests to process this data provided that they take in to account the rights and freedoms of data subjects.

In undertaking research, researchers must ensure that they submit details in their research proposal of the methodology to be adopted in handling personal data and securing such data from accidental damage or unauthorised access.

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, the University must notify the Information Commissioner if it processes any new personal information that is not covered under the existing notification. Research activities may from time to time involve the capture of new personal information and it is the responsibility of those undertaking research to ensure that the information they are processing is covered by the University’s notification.

Further guidance is available for those undertaking research by contacting the Information Compliance Manager – Dataprotection@southwales.ac.uk