Who are we?

Brighter Futures for Children’s Independent Fostering Agency (BFfC IFA) collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so we are regulated under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and we are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information for the purposes of those laws. The BFfC IFA recruits, assesses, approves, supports and pays foster carers. We also provide them with ongoing support, guidance and training to ensure they are fully skilled to be effective foster carers. BFfC IFA works with foster carers to ensure that children are placed with the most appropriate family.

The personal information we collect and use

Information collected by us

For those enquiring about foster care with BFfC IFA, we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • Personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth)

In the course of assessing, approving and supervising foster carers we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • Personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth, gender, language) • Special category characteristics (such as ethnicity, disability, religion and medical information)
  • Family network and relationship information
  • Employment information
  • Financial information
  • Information relating to assessments and approvals for suitability to foster children

We also obtain personal information from other sources as follows:

  • The local authority in whose area you live in
  • Other *Reading Borough Council and **Brighter Futures for Children departments
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Past and Present Employer
  • Volunteer services with children and/or vulnerable adults
  • Social media
  • References (personal and previous fostering agency)
  • Previous partners
  • Health
  • Schools
  • Previous local authorities

*BFfC IFA has limited access to the Reading Borough Council’s adults electronic case management system Mosaic.

**BFfC IFA has full access to the Brighter Futures for Children electronic case management system Mosaic.

How we use your personal information

For those enquiring about foster care with BFfC IFA, we use your personal information to send you marketing information about fostering with BFfC IFA, if you have given your consent.

Depending on the type of consent you have given, this could include emailing you, sending you information in the post or calling you. We will not send you marketing material if you do not wish to receive it. You can tell us about your preferences by contacting us below:

  • email us at foster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org
  • phone us at 01189 373740 or 01184 693020
  • write to us at Brighter Futures for Children’s Independent Fostering Agency, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU.

We use your personal information to match children with the most appropriate foster carer. For example:

  • Skills and experience
  • Ethnicity
  • Cultural background
  • Religion
  • Gender

We may also use your personal information to provide insight and analytics into our foster carer target audience.

How long your personal data will be kept

For those enquiring about foster care with BFfC IFA, we will keep your information for up to 24 months in accordance with GDPR regulations. If your enquiry progresses, your data will be kept in order to comply with our legal obligations under The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011.

We keep your information securely in line with the retention periods shown in Appendix one – Retention periods, after which time it is archived or securely destroyed, except where required by legal reasons. In these instances BFfC IFA will retain records for longer than the stated retention period.

Reasons we can collect and use your personal information

We collect and use your personal information to comply with our legal obligations under The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. If we need to collect special category (sensitive) personal information, we rely upon reasons of substantial public interest (equality of opportunity or treatment), for social security or social protection law, and for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.

BFfC IFA is required to collect, use and store data outlined in legislation. These include, but are not restricted to:

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
  • Child Protection Procedures 2018
  • Childcare Act 2006/2016
  • Special Educational Needs Code of Practice statutory guidance relating to Part 3 Children and Families Act 2014
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998 Section 115 and Section 14 of the Offender Management Act 2007
  • The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011
  • Limitation Act 1980 S.2
  • School Admissions Code 2012 and 2015
  • School Standards and Framework Act (SSFA) 1998
  • School Attendance: Departmental advice for maintained schools, academies, independent school and local authorities 2014
  • HMRC Compliance Handbook CH15400
  • Children’s Services are also to collect and provide information as required by the DfE
  • Ofsted inspection requirements and Troubled Families payment by results framework

Data collected is used to:

  • enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible
  • derive statistics to fulfil our statutory duties and returns and inform decisions such as the funding
  • assess performance, set targets and improve services

Who we share your personal information with

  • Brighter Futures for Children and Reading Borough Council teams including Finance and children’s services
  • Ofsted (in the event of a local authority inspection of children’s services)
  • Other local authorities for child protection and safeguarding
  • LADO referral in the area you reside
  • Fostering Agencies – Regulation 26(1A) gives the fostering service undertaking the current assessment the power to request access to records about the applicant held by the fostering service or adoption agency which granted the approval (provided that the applicant consents)
  • Our chosen email marketing platform e.g. Mailchimp. If you have given consent.

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law.

Your Rights

Under the GDPR you have a number of rights which you can exercise free of charge which allow you to:

  • Right to correction (Ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you)
  • Right of access (Ask to see what information we hold about you (Subject Access Requests)
  • Right to object to process (Withdraw consent if applicable)

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under the General Data Protection Regulation.

If you would like to exercise a right, please contact the Data Protection Officer at IGTeam@reading.gov.uk

Keeping your personal information secure

Your data, supplied to BFfC IFA electronically or paper based will be stored in secure electronic management database systems, portals, spreadsheets stored on internal secure folders and accessed on secure encrypted laptops. All data is stored on secure servers.

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Who to contact?

Please contact the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at IGTeam@reading.gov.uk to exercise any of your rights, or if you have a complaint about why your information has been collected, how it has been used or how long we have kept it for.

The GDPR also gives you right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted at https://ico.org.uk/concerns or telephone 03031 231113.

Please download the full Privacy Notice for more information on retention periods.