Privacy Notice - Press Office - Department of Health (DoH)

Data Controller Name:

Department of Health

Room C5.50
Castle Buildings

Telephone: 028 9052 0505


Data Protection Officer Name:

Charlene McQuillan

Telephone: 02890522353


This privacy policy sets out how the Press Office within the Department of Health (DoH) uses and protects any information that you provide when conducting business with us.

The Press Office is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.

The Press Office may review and update this privacy notice when required and any updates will be provided on this page.

Description of our Processing and our Lawful Basis for Processing

The following is a broad description of the way the press office processes personal information.

Data is received from a reporter, a health professional or a private citizen, regarding a wide range of topics. We process the data in the public interest to provide detailed answers to queries presented.

For the press office to process personal information we must have a lawful basis for doing so and at least one of the following must apply:

  1. Consent: an individual must give clear consent for us to process their personal data and then only for a specific purpose.
  2. Contract: the processing is necessary for a contract the Department has with an individual, or because they have asked the individual to take specific steps before entering into a contract.
  3. Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for the Department to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations).
  4. Vital interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.
  5. Public task: the processing is necessary for the Department to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

The processing that the press office carries out falls mainly under item 5 above.

We will lawfully process your personal information to provide professional, up-to-date responses to relevant queries carried out as a public task by the Department as part of its established functions and powers. The lawfulness of processing is covered under Article 6 of GDPR and a full list of conditions can be found here. We may also process your information as part of an event. If so we will seek your consent.

What types of personal information we process

We may process the following information:

  • name and job title
  • contact information including business and personal email address, telephone number/s
  • demographic information such as postcode
  • Social media handles – Please see DoH Social Media Policy
  • Photographs, videos and audio recordings for broadcast purposes only


The Press Office is committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Links to other websites

The Department of Health website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website, or how your personal information may be collected or processed on other websites. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Where do you get my personal data from?

The press office receives personal information from a number of sources including journalists, trusts, HSCB, BSO, NIFRS, NIAS, members of the public and other organisations who use our services.

Media events/conferences etc.

The press office may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Where required, press office will seek consent. These records will be retained for no longer than necessary by press office. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained and in line with our approved retention and disposal schedules set out in Good Management Good Records.

Who is the information shared with? 

We sometimes need to share the personal information we process with the individuals themselves and also with other health service organisations, media outlets, universities, charities etc.

Where this is necessary we are required to comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Certain information will be shared to media outlets for public broadcast purposes.


The Department of Health Press Office does not transfer any personal data outside of the EU.

Retention of records  

Press office will ensure compliance with Article 5(d) and (e) of GDPR1 which requires that personal data is accurate and kept for no longer than necessary in an identifiable format and that effective management of records from when they are created, how they are stored and used, through to their disposal or archive is in place. The destruction of records is determined by the Department’s approved retention policy GDPR Good Management, Good Records (GMGR).

What rights do you have?

How to complain if you are not happy with how we process your personal information

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this privacy notice, or how your personal information is being processed by the Press Office then please contact the Department’s Data Protection Officer at the address above.

If you are still not happy, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Tel: 0303 123 1113



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