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08 Oct 2021

Data sharing with Public Health Scotland – early years and childcare staff

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has been asked by Public Health Scotland (PHS) to share information to help them with their public health monitoring work to determine the risk to early learning and childcare staff from COVID-19 and to establish the level of occupational health risk they may experience as a result. This doesn’t include staff working in out of school care and childminders.

We consider that during this time of public health emergency it is in the strong interest of the early years' profession and the public that information is shared with PHS to help protect staff, those in their care and the wider public from the risk of COVID-19. If you want to contact us, you will find details at the end.

Who is PHS?

PHS is part of the National Health Service in Scotland and is Scotland’s national body for improving and protecting health and wellbeing. You can learn more about PHS on its website as well as reading the COVID-19 section of its privacy notice at

What is the work PHS is doing?

The work being carried out by PHS aims to better understand the risk of COVID-19 among early years staff. PHS will measure the risk to them overall, as well as according to specific factors (eg age and sex). PHS will also compare the risk in early years staff to that in other adults of working age. This work will be used to inform the ongoing surveillance and advice that PHS provide on national policies on early learning and childcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The work being carried out by PHS will also inform early years staff and policy makers about the extent to which vaccination for COVID-19 protects them from disease severe enough to require hospitalisation. Similar PHS studies have been undertaken in Scotland in relation to teachers and in relation to vaccination in healthcare workers. The report has been published on the British Medical Journal website and can be found on their website

PHS will estimate vaccination rates and the real-world effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among early years staff.

SSSC will share with PHS three extracts of the information they have requested between October 2021 and October 2022. This is to make sure PHS has an up-to-date record of individuals working in early years, so the correct population is included in their analysis.

What data will be shared and how will PHS use it?

We’ve been asked to share data to enable PHS to identify from the information that it already holds, those individuals who are currently working in Scottish early learning and childcare services. PHS requires additional information than that which is currently available for public inspection on the public register (name, town of employment and register part) and has asked the SSSC to provide, in addition to this information, the following about those registrants that we understand to be currently working in early learning and childcare services: dates of birth, home addresses, postcodes and gender.

PHS already holds limited health information for the population of Scotland, and they will use the information from SSSC to identify early years staff.

How secure is my data?

The SSSC is committed to protecting the privacy and security of personal data that it holds. Our privacy statement on our website describes how we collect and use your personal data during and after your working relationship with us.

The information shared by the SSSC with PHS will be done securely and will be treated by PHS with the utmost security and confidentiality. To ensure this, the information the SSSC provides on your name, date of birth, gender, address and postcode will be removed at the earliest possible stage in the analysis and will only be accessible to a very small number of individuals within a separate part of PHS. The remaining data will be accessible only to staff at PHS involved in the analysis. This process ensures that the use of personally identifiable information is minimised to only what is necessary as the main aspects of the work do not require personally identifiable information.

PHS will retain your data in this way for one year after the study end date to allow time to undertake all analytical and reporting requirements, after which it will be securely destroyed. Any information published in the final report produced by PHS will be statistical and will not enable the identification of any individual. An equivalent report recently published by PHS in the context of healthcare workers is available on its website at this link

Why are we sharing this information with PHS?

In the SSSC’s Data Protection and Privacy Notice on our website there is a list of organisations/individuals with whom we may share your personal data. If we receive a request to share information from an organisation not on this list – such as with PHS – we assess the request in accordance with data protection law and let you know where we have decided that it is necessary to share. 

As with all requests for personal information we hold, we must carefully consider the basis upon which the information is being requested and may be shared under data protection law. When considering the legal basis for sharing the data with PHS, we have determined that Article 6(1)(f) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies: processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by a third party.

PHS has determined that Article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR applies to their processing of the data they will receive; processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. PHS’s statutory duties under the Public Health (Scotland) Order 2019 include the collection, dissemination, and analysis of epidemiological data.

As PHS will also be processing the health information they already hold as part of this work, they require a further legal basis to process this under the data protection legislation. PHS has determined that Articles 9(2)(h), (i) and (j) apply to this processing and that the conditions set out in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Data Protection Act 2018 are met, respectively, in terms of those Articles.

The SSSC has determined that there are compelling reasons for sharing the information identified with PHS; it is necessary for public health monitoring and statistical reporting as part of responding to the public health threat that the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting. As explained above, the SSSC’s involvement in this work will ultimately assist the management of the risk of COVID-19 in early learning and childcare settings.

What if I have concerns about my information being provided to PHS?

Under data protection legislation, an individual whose personal data is being processed for the purposes outlined above has the right to object to this processing. Should you wish to exercise this right, please refer to the guidance on this issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (the body that regulates data protection in the UK).

How do I make an objection?

The deadline for objecting to us sharing your data has passed.

If you wish to make an objection to the SSSC sharing your information, the easiest way is to log into MySSSC, go to the Data Sharing section and provide the relevant information.  You will receive confirmation that we have received your objection. Alternatively, you can tell us over the telephone or in writing by contacting us on the details set out below:

Scottish Social Services Council
Compass House
11 Riverside Drive

Tel: 0345 60 30 891

You must do this by Monday 9 May 2022 and tell us the specific reasons why you are raising an objection. The right to object is a qualified right and when reviewing any objections received, individuals’ interests, rights and freedoms will be weighed against the SSSC’s grounds for the processing.

For information about how PHS processes data, including individual’s rights and how to exercise them in relation to PHS, please see their privacy notice on their website.

Where can I find the completed reports?

Public Health Scotland will publish the reports on their website 

You can see an example of how they report data on early years staff on pages 35 to 41 of this report:

If any of your details have changed recently, please update them using MySSSC.

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council