St Mary the Virgin


Data Protection

Data Protection at St Mary’s

St Mary’s takes very seriously the protection of personal data and will not disclose it to any commercial organisation, either with or without explicit consent. As a member of the Church Of England, St Mary’s has statutory obligations to maintain registers of certain events, e.g. baptisms, marriages and burials, which are public documents and open to scrutiny by others. These registers, while still in use, are held securely by the church. Once a register is closed (completed) it is transferred to the Diocesan Archives for safe keeping.

Data held by St Mary’s falls into three main categories:

Legally required data.

This includes information required from prospective wedding couples to prove that the marriage will be lawful, including legal residency in the United Kingdom. This information is held on a secure Church of England database, with restricted access.

The reading of the Banns of Marriage in church is a legal requirement under Church Law.

The parish maintains an Electoral Roll, which includes the names and addresses of all registered members of the church, who have a right to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and stand for the Parochial Church Council. Under Church Law this list must be displayed for a period of fourteen days prior to the APCM at each place of worship in the parish. At other times the list may be viewed by anyone having a legitimate reason for doing so. This register will not be used for any other purpose, without explicit consent.

To meet Safeguarding requirements (protection of children and vulnerable adults) records of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on named individuals are maintained, together with records of appropriate levels of training in safeguarding. This includes checks on all members of the Parochial Church Council (PCC), as well as those actually working with children. These records may be subject to scrutiny by authorised child protection agencies and the police.

To meet accountancy standards and tax regulations concerning Gift Aid, records of donations and tax status declarations of the individuals concerned, are securely maintained. These records are subject to scrutiny by HMRC.

Organisational / Administration data

A number of specific lists of church members and supporters, with their contact details, are maintained for organisational and administrative purposes, e.g. duty rotas. These fall under the general exemptions for organisations such as religious bodies. These lists are not displayed and are not generally available.

Pastoral Information

As part of St Mary’s pastoral care, we wish to maintain contact with anyone who has been baptised, confirmed or married at St Mary’s, or suffered the loss of a loved one. This may take the form of a card on the anniversary of the event, or invitations to special commemorative services.

We also wish to pray, collectively, for those about to be baptised, confirmed or married, and those who are sick. Prior explicit permission for including named individuals in prayers during services, or named in the weekly bulletin, will be sought from the individual concerned, or a competent person where they are unable to give such consent. Such permission may be withdrawn at any time.

The vicar may find it helpful to keep brief notes of an individual’s pastoral visit so that any follow-up contact is more meaningful. These notes will be destroyed once the immediate issues have been addressed, or if requested to do so by the person concerned.

If anyone has any concerns about the use, or misuse, of data by St Mary’s, these concerns should be addressed to the Honary Secretary of the PCC, by email: Contact, in the first instance. See the Data Protection Policy for further details.

~ View the St Mary’s Data Protection Policy here ~

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