Legal services

Our in-house legal department offers expert advice on a full range of council responsibilities and public sector duties. We are absolutely committed to client care and provide high quality, responsive advice to meet the needs of internal and external clients. 

We provide specialist customer-focused advice on a range of areas of law, including the following:

  • Major projects
  • Procurement and contracts
  • Property, planning and highways;
  • Housing and Licensing
  • Prosecutions, civil litigation & employment
  • Adult and children’s services
  • Education
  • Administrative and local government law  

Our Clients

Legal services offers an in-house service to all officers and councilors across the Council. This is provided in partnership with the legal teams of Surrey County Council, East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council, who together with this Council’s legal team have formed Orbis Public Law.

We are also available for instruction by other public bodies. We have external clients such as the East Sussex Fire Authority, district councils, local authorities and other local public services.

Contact information

The Executive Lead – Strategy, Governance and Law is Abraham Ghebre-Ghiorghis, who also acts as the council’s Monitoring Officer.

The service is run by the Head of Legal Services, Elizabeth Culbert, whose email address is elizabeth.culbert@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Privacy and Legal Services

Brighton & Hove City Council is a data controller. The Council processes all personal data in accordance with a corporate policy, which describes the detail of how the Council meets its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act 2018 (‘the data protection legislation’).

The information provided on these pages supplement the corporate privacy notice by providing additional information about how the Legal Services team retains and processes data.

What sort of information Legal Services hold, why we need it and how we use it

Some of the information which the public provides to the Council (or Legal Services’ external clients) is passed to Legal Services so that we can provide legal advice and representation. That is the purpose for which we hold your data. Without it, we would not be able to provide legal services to our clients.   

The types of personal data we hold may include names, addresses and dates of birth as well as biographical, professional, financial and social information about residents, members of the public, elected members, and experts instructed for the purposes of providing legal advice and representation. We may also hold sensitive personal information (Special Category data) such as information regarding your race; ethnic origin; political opinions; religious beliefs; trade union membership; health; sex life; or sexual orientation. However as indicated below, we will only do so where we have a lawful basis for doing so.

Generally the information we hold will have been provided to us by you, by Council staff or by our external clients. However we may also hold information provided by third parties where this is relevant and necessary for the provision of our legal service e.g. social workers, health professionals, doctors, occupational therapists and enforcement and regulatory agencies such as the police.

We only process personal data in accordance with the principles of data protection legislation and do so only to the degree that it is necessary to enable us to deliver legal services.

In order to comply with data protection legislation, we must have a legal basis in order to collect and use information about you. There are a range of different lawful bases for processing personal data. We rely on one or more of the following reasons to process your data:

  • to perform a contract which you have entered into with us
  • to comply with a legal obligation that we are subject to
  • to perform a task carried out in the public interest or where we exercising official authority

Where we need to process special categories of personal data, we will only do so where we have identified that a special condition applies under data protection legislation and that the processing is necessary. The basis which we rely on is that processing is necessary for one or more of the following reasons:

  • to carry out certain obligations and rights
  • to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim
  • processing is in the substantial public interest
  • to provide health or social care.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

Access to the personal information we hold about you is restricted to a need to know basis. We treat your personal information lawfully, fairly and transparently, and ensure that it is:

  • processed for limited purposes
  • kept up-to-date, accurate, relevant and that the information  we collect is not excessive (more than we need)
  • not kept longer than is necessary
  • kept secure

Where we need to share information about you, we do so under data-sharing arrangements which comply with data protection legislation. We may share legal work with three other local authority legal teams, who along with Brighton and Hove City Council form Orbis Public Law. This allows them to provide legal advice instead of us. We do so only under strict data sharing arrangements which are designed to safeguard your data.

Similarly, where we need to instruct external lawyers or experts, or where we use external software or systems to deliver our service, then the other party will be contractually required to adhere to the security requirements imposed by data protection legislation. They will only be able to use your information to the extent that they need to do so to complete work on our behalf. 

We may also be required to share your information with our regulators who are permitted access to this information by law, and/or with other organisations where we have a legal obligation to share the information with them. This may include our insurers or external auditors.

How long we keep your information, and how we protect it

We store all the personal data we process in accordance with detailed file retention and destruction arrangements. These ensure that we safeguard your information as long as we hold it and require us to dispose of all personal data securely once there is no longer a lawful basis for retaining it.

How long we retain personal data depends on the type of data, the reason it is processed and what the law says. Further information regarding this is available from Legal Services.     

The Council has put in place robust security measures to ensure that all personal data is retained securely. Further information regarding that is available from data.protection@brighton-hove.gov.uk 

Your information rights

Under data protection legislation, you have the right:

  • To be informed regarding why, where and how we use your information.
  • To request access to the information we hold about you.
  • To have your information corrected if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
  • To ask for your information to be deleted or removed where there is no need for us to continue processing it.
  • To ask us to restrict the use of your information.
  • To ask us to copy or transfer your information from one IT system to another in a safe and secure way, without impacting the quality of the information.
  • To object to how your information is used.

Please visit Data Subject Rights for details of how to access your information rights. If you have any additional queries then please contact LegalServices@brighton-hove.gov.uk

The Council’s Data Protection Officer

The Council has appointed a Data Protection Officer, which it shares with East Sussex and Surrey County Council. The Data Protection Officer has a key role in helping the Council ensure compliance with relevant legislation. The Council’s Data Protection Officer acts as an escalation point for data subjects, as well as being a point of contact for the ICO.

The Council’s Data Protection Office may be contacted vis this link:

Complaints

If you wish to complain about how your information is being used then please contact data.protection@brighton-hove.gov.uk in the first instance so that we can try to address your query.

If having complained you are still unhappy with the outcome of your enquiry then you may write to The Information Commissioner at  Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, or email them via links on their website.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website is also a useful source of further advice for further information about Information Rights and other aspects of data protection law. Their website is here: Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website.

 

 

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