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Committees: Sharing your views with a committee via online consultation

Some of the language used in privacy notices can be specialised.  The Information Commissioner's website provides a useful introduction to key terms and concepts.

Why do we need your personal information?

Scottish Parliament committees look at the work of the Scottish Government and other bodies to see if they are working well and doing everything they are supposed to.  

Part of that role involves listening to others.  This helps inform the decisions and recommendations that committees make. 

Committees hold focus groups and consultation events to find out what people think about different issues. Sometimes these events are held online on Microsoft Teams or other online platforms. 

These sessions may be recorded and may be published on the Scottish Parliament’s website. Short snippets from the sessions may also be used on the Scottish Parliament’s social media platforms. Photographs could also be taken and used on social media, on the website or in committee reports. Any recording will be kept as part of the record of parliamentary activities.  

Sometimes the online session will not be recorded. Instead a written note of the views and experiences shared may be published. It will be made clear to you by the organisers of the event whether the session will be recorded or a written note will be taken. 

What does data protection law say?

We handle any personal data you send us according to data protection laws. 

Personal data means any type of information which can identify a living person and tells us something about them.  This will include any information you tell us about yourself and your views or any information you tell us about other people. 

If you are going to mention the views of another person or any other personal information about another person as part of the online consultation event, you must make sure you have their permission before doing so.

Further information about data protection laws and your rights is available on the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) also have rules which tell them how they should handle personal data while doing Committee work.  This is called the Code of Conduct.

Read the Code of Conduct, Section 7

What types of information do we handle?

If you agree to take part in an online consultation event, we will need your contact details to share information with you about the arrangements for the event and to give you feedback about how information from the event was used.

This will usually take the form of a name, e-mail address and contact telephone number.  Occasionally this may include a mailing address.  This is what’s known as standard or normal category personal data. 

We will use your name to identify you in the online consultation event, but we will not publish your other contact details (e.g. e-mail address).  We will store your contact details securely on the Scottish Parliament’s computer systems and only use them for the purpose of contacting you about the topic about which you’ve been consulted.

Depending on what views or experiences you have decided to share, the information may be considered as special category.

Special category personal data includes information revealing an individual’s: 

  • race; 
  • ethnic origin; 
  • political or religious views;
  • sex life or sexual orientation; 
  • trade union membership; 
  • physical or mental health; 
  • genetic or biometric data. 

What bit of the law says we can handle your data?

Data protection law says that we must have a legal basis (reason) for handling your personal data.

The UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act list what these can be. 

Gathering views of individuals helps committees to carry out their  official function.  Therefore, our legal basis for sharing your views with a committee is that it is necessary for a task carried out in the public interest (for normal category data) or in the substantial public interest (for special category data and criminal offence data) as the work of the Committee is an essential part of the work of the Scottish Parliament. 

This means that if you decide to provide us with any personal data we have a legal basis to use and publish that information and do not require your consent to do so. 

However, if you are under 12, we will also need to ask your parent or guardian to confirm to us that they are happy for you to participate.

Publishing your views and how we will use your data

Some online consultation sessions will be recorded in full and will be uploaded on the Scottish Parliament’s website.  This is a public website where everyone will be able to see what you have said. If the recording is on the website it will be available online indefinitely. Shorter video snippets from the session may also be created and published on the Scottish Parliament’s social media platforms.

To provide an accurate representation of what was said in the online consultation session, the recording will not be edited other than in the following circumstances:

  1. to create short film snippets for use on the Scottish Parliament’s public social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
  2. to remove any information which could be harmful and untrue about a particular person

The information you share as part of this online consultation session may also be included in written materials published by the committee.  This might include, for example, a summary of views, a committee paper or a report. 

Again, this means that your image, and what you have said at the online consultation event, may be published online on the Scottish Parliament’s website and social media channels.

These reports will form part of what’s known as the public record.  This means that they will be transferred to the National Records of Scotland and will continue to be publicly searchable on an ongoing and permanent basis.

How long will we keep your personal information and who will we share it with?

Your name and contact details may be added to our contact list to keep you up to date on the committee work you contributed to.   These will be held securely on the Scottish Parliament systems and you can ask us to delete these contact details at any point. However, you can’t ask us to delete the content of your contribution to the online consultation event once it’s been used by the committee. 

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

The Parliament is covered by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  This law means that the Scottish Parliament has to release certain bits of information it has if a member of the public requests it. There are some exceptions to this, for example, we do not have to give out any information that is somebody’s personal data. However, even if the Committee is only writing an anonymous summary of the online session, we cannot give you a complete guarantee that your involvement in the event will not be released. 

Possible media interest

If you appear in an online consultation event a journalist may want to speak to you about what you’ve said for a news story (for example in a newspaper, on a website or on the TV).  There is no pressure to do this and it will be totally up to you.  If this happens you will be provided with the journalist’s contact details and it will be up to you to decide whether you want to contact them.

If you agree, then a Parliament communications manager can help and support you. Unless you wish to be included on our contact list, we’ll delete all your details once the interview is finished and the Committee has finished its bit of work.  If a journalist requests your contact details, they will only be given to them with your permission. 

If you do an interview which then appears in the media, this will be kept on the website or newspaper site indefinitely.

Child protection

Sometimes consultation events can highlight child protection concerns. If we believe that you, or someone else, may be at risk of harm, then we will pass these concerns on to the relevant authorities to keep the child safe.

Your rights

The UK GDPR (UK General Data Protection Regulation) sets out your rights.  These rights can change depending on the legal reason we use to hold your personal information.

For example, the rights allowing for deletion or erasure (of your personal data) do not apply where we are relying on the public interest as the legal basis for sharing your information with the Committee. 

The following rights apply:

Access to your information

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information about you that we hold. 

Further information on how to make a "data subject access request" 

Correcting your information

We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date.  You can ask us to correct any personal information about you that you believe does not meet these standards.

Objecting to how we may use your information

Where we use your personal data to perform tasks carried out in the public interest then, if you ask us to, we will stop using that personal information, unless there is a good legal reason not to.

Restricting how we may use your information

In some cases, you may ask us to restrict how we use your personal information.  

Please contact us using the details below if you wish to use any of these rights.

Changes to our privacy statement

We keep this privacy statement under regular review.  This privacy statement was last updated on 1 June 2021. 


We seek to resolve directly all complaints about how we handle personal information but you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

Or by phone at: 0303 123 1113

Contact information and further advice

If you have any further questions about the way in which we process personal data, or about how to exercise your rights, please contact the Head of Information Governance at:
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0131 348 6913

(Calls are welcome through the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL.)


Please contact us if you require information in another language or format

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