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General Privacy Notice

Durham University’s responsibilities under data protection legislation include the duty to ensure that we provide individuals with information about how we process personal data. We do this in a   number of ways, one of which is the publication of privacy notices. This privacy notice provides a general description of the broad range of processing activity in addition there are tailored privacy notices covering some specific processing activity.

Data Controller

The Data Controller is Durham University. If you would like more information about how the University uses your personal data, please see the University’s Information Governance pages or contact email:

Data Protection Officer

The  Data  Protection  Officer  is  responsible  for  advising  the  University  on  compliance  with Data Protection legislation and monitoring its performance against it. If you have any concerns regarding the way in which the University is processing your personal data, please contact the

Data Protection Officer:

Andrew Ladd



The University keeps personal data for as long as it is needed for the purpose for which it was originally collected. Most of these time periods are set out in the University Records Retention Schedule.

What we use your data for

You have the right to be provided with information about how and why we process your personal data. We will only process data where we have a lawful reason to do so our main reasons are s follows:


As part of agreements between us, we will process personal data for

  • Admission to the university, registration and support for your studies
  • Academic assessment and progression
  • Maintaining an academic record including qualifications
  • Providing access to services including IT, Library and other facilities
  • Providing ID for security purposes
  • Administration of payments such as fees
  • Providing reports to your sponsor (if any) including Student Loans Company
  • Administration of complaints, disciplinary processes and other similar processes
  • Provision of accommodation, catering and other services related to accommodating you

Public Task

 We carry out a number of tasks in the public interest including

  • Research
  • Archiving
  • Diversity Monitoring
  • Managing public health risks
  • Managing risks related to public safety or concern to the local community (including reporting crime where we are not required to do so but it is in the public interest to do so)

Legal Obligation

We are a regulated body which means we are required to collect certain information including for

  • Compliance with tax and immigration requirements
  • Providing census and fee information
  • Supporting local authorities on fraud investigation, electoral registration and council tax collection
  • Reporting to the Office for Students and other regulators
  • Reporting crime (where we are required to do so)

Legitimate Interests

We will process data where it is in our legitimate interests to do so including

  • To improve the services we provide to you including organising events that may interest you.
  • To provide information to you about goods or services we offer
  • To support marketing and brand related activity (which may include collecting some data about brand from social media and that might incidentally include personal data).
  • Photographing and recording events around the University including seminars for both training and marketing purposes.

Where you have the choice to determine how your personal data will be used, we will ask you for consent. Whenever you give your consent for the processing of your personal data, you receive the right to withdraw that consent at anytime

In addition, we may provide you with a privacy notice in relation to specific uses of your data where this is appropriate. A privacy notice is a verbal or written statement that explains how we use personal data.

Sensitive personal data

Some of the information we collect is sensitive personal data (also known as special categories of data). In particular, we may process personal data that relates to your health (such as your medical information for example to help support you), and any criminal convictions and offences (for reasons of safeguarding). If we use sensitive personal data, we will usually do so on the legal basis that it is in the wider public interest (for example in relation to research), to establish, take or defend any legal action or, in some cases, that we have your permission (consent).

How we collect your data

Most of the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you. Often this will be actively provided by you for example by you filing in a form. In other situations your data may be gathered with less active participation by you, for example we may record a Teams video call for business or research purposes, or capture device ID for technical reasons when connecting with the University network. You will be provided with notification of this.

We may also receive personal information indirectly:

  • For the purpose of student admissions and ongoing administration sources, include UCAS, funding bodies such as the Student Loans Company, US Loans, parents/guardians and schools/colleges.
  • For the purpose of support sources, include: medical, health care professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists or those providing you with evidence of your disability or mental health.
  • For the purpose of conducting research data set sources might include: data in the public domain including from the internet, data from domestic and international governmental bodies including Department for Health, Department for Education, local authorities, other Universities. We may also use research data we collected ourselves for one project for another research project.

When we obtain personal data about you from third party sources, we will look to ensure that the third party can lawfully provide us with your personal data.

We may also share information with the same set of organisations for the purposes mentioned above.

Data handling

Where we are processing data using common cloud-based services or platforms (examples might include: Google, Skype, Teams or Zoom) it is possible a transfer of data outside of the EEA or UK may take place. In such cases appropriate protections will be in place (such as contractual arrangements designed to protect data).

We will also anonymise data, where it does not interfere with the reason for us handling the data, as soon as possible. For example: research participant data in large scale surveys will usually be anonymised as soon as possible after collection.

 Research participant data will normally be anonymised if published however there will be some exceptions. Exceptions will be explained to participants where they apply for a particular project.

Accessing your personal data

You have the right to be told whether we are processing your personal data and, if so, to be given a copy of it. This is known as the right of subject access.

You can find out more about this right on the University’s Subject Access Requests webpage. Right to rectification If you believe that personal data we hold about you is inaccurate, please contact us and we will investigate. You can also request that we complete any incomplete data. Once we have determined what we are going to do, we will contact you to let you know.

Right to erasure

You can ask us to erase your personal data in any of the following circumstances:

  • We no longer need the personal data for the purpose it was originally collected
  • You withdraw your consent and there is no other legal basis for the processing
  • You object to the processing and there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing
  • The personal data have been unlawfully processed
  • The personal data have to be erased for compliance with a legal obligation
  • The personal data have been collected in relation to the offer of information society services (information society services are online services such as banking or social media sites). Once we have determined whether we will erase the personal data, we will contact you to let you know.

Right to restriction of processing

You can ask us to restrict the processing of your personal data in the following circumstances:

  • You believe that the data is inaccurate and you want us to restrict processing until we determine whether it is indeed inaccurate
  • The processing is unlawful and you want us to restrict processing rather than erase it
  • We no longer need the data for the purpose we originally collected it but you need it in order to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim and
  • You have objected to the processing and you want us to restrict processing until we determine whether our legitimate interests in processing the data override your objection.
  • Once we have determined how we propose to restrict processing of the data, we will contact you to discuss and, where possible, agree this with you.

Making a complaint

If you are unsatisfied with the way in which we process your personal data, we ask that you let us know so that we can try and put things right. If we are not able to resolve issues to your satisfaction, you can refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Telephone: +44 (0)303 123 1113

Website: Information Commissioner’s Office

(Updated January 2023)