Cookies Policy and Customer Privacy Notice

Cookies

We use very few cookies on this site, and certainly do not use cookies to send data to third parties for advertising purposes.  The two types of cookies we use are:
  • A “session” cookie.  These hold no personal data and are used purely for managing your log in and log out.  They remain on your system during your use of the service, and are then deleted when you log out or close your browser.
  • A data analysis cookie.  This sends data to the Google’s Analytics service to help us understand where new users come from and what parts of the site are used.  No personal information is sent to Google, and Google does not use this data for their own use.  It is only accessible by us for our internal purposes.  It is an external service but not accessed by a third party.  The analysis provided is aggregated to provide statistics of our website users in general and does not include data harvested from elsewhere.

Customer Privacy Notice

What do we collect and why?

Appealfinder is a specialist internet search provider, providing a software-run service that enables customers to rapidly search through large amounts of data for the purposes of identifying Appeal Decision Notices of interest to them.  We then direct the customer to the original document held on the Planning Inspectorate’s website or, in the case of appeals recovered or called in by the Secretary of State, to the Gov.uk website.  In essence we help customers find what they are looking for and then direct them to the relevant third party webpage.

To provide this service we collect the following two categories of data:

A. Appeal Decision Notices

Appeal Decision Notices (DNs) are focused on the proposed development and record the planning issues considered relevant by the decision maker, documenting how the decision maker (the Planning Inspector or Secretary of State) arrived at their decision. Although their focus is on the merits of development, inevitably they also include some personal data such as the site address, the appellant’s name, the local planning authority and the appeal Inspector.  In appeals heard by hearing or public inquiry, the DN may list all those who participated in the hearing or public inquiry and the evidence presented by them.  All those involved in a planning appeal should already have been made aware by the Planning Inspectorate that the appeal will be in the public domain (please see the Planning Inspectorate's Customer Privacy Notice available on their website). 

The data we hold on planning appeals is publicly available 'open data' published by the Government.  To enable customers to search Appeal Decision Notices (DNs) we hold the DNs in a format that our software can rapidly index.  Customers can see relevant search results from this index, ie. extracts from the DN.  When a customer clicks to view the DN, our software directs them to the original DN held on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.  To this extent we hold data for the purposes of indexing.

B. Customers' data

In relation to our customers’ personal data, we hold:

    • Your name, address and e-mail saved on a database. This is private information retained for the purposes of invoicing and customer contact, used by us to provide our service to you. With the sole exception of your payment provider (Go Cardless or Worldpay) we do not pass any of your information onto third parties. 
    • Details of payments made through our payment partners Go Cardless, WorldPay and Santander for accountancy purposes only. You can see the details held by us as they are copied on your invoices. We do not store any credit card or bank details whatsoever as this information is entirely in the hands of our banking partners through their own banking-level security systems.

Legal Basis for processing information

We hold the minimum information necessary to identify our customers and record their subscriptions, thereby meeting the GDPR ‘legitimate interest’ basis for holding this personal data.

Decision Notices are held by the Planning Inspectorate and Local Planning Authorities on their online statutory registers and are therefore in the public domain irrespective of Appealfinder’s service.  All websites require indexing in order for any documents to be “findable” by users and to this extent ‘processing’ of the data is necessary.

Appealfinder’s software makes DNs quickly searchable by a range of filters including by Keyword. The processing (ie. indexing and linking to the original document) that we provide is considered to be a ‘legitimate interest’ for making planning appeals more readily searchable by the following 3 broad groups:

(a) appellants and their planning consultants who are preparing for an appeal and who need to identify Decisions that have been taken by the Planning Inspectorate in similar appeals in order to inform their case; and
(b) all those interested in a particular place, for example neighbours, Parish Councils and other members of the public, who wish to quickly find an appeal Decision for a particular location;
(c) wider society, as it is in the public interest in a democracy to be able to scrutinise decisions made by public bodies, which in the case of planning appeals are decisions made by the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State.

The individuals whose personal information is included in Decision Notices must reasonably expect others to be able to find the appeal DN because the entire planning application process and appeal process up to the point of the DN being issued is conducted in the public domain, usually on an easily searchable Council website.  The planning decision-making process is not private and the statutory procedures recognise that others will have a legitimate interest in the result of planning applications and subsequent appeals.  

In light of the above, Appealfinder’s processing of DNs is considered proportionate to the individual’s interests.  We only use the personal data contained in DNs in ways that those individuals could reasonably expect, namely to identify an appeal. Our service provides links to DNs that are already in the public domain.

How is this information used?

All of the information we collect is used to:

Your rights

You have the legal right to see what data we have about you, to check its accuracy and to ask to have it corrected if necessary.  It is easy to see what data we hold about you. Simply log-in to your Appeal Finder account using your administator password, select 'My Account' and look at your 'Admin Details', 'Users', 'Orders' and 'Invoices' pages to see exactly what information we hold. You may edit your 'Admin Details' and 'Users' data online at any time. This directly amends our database, putting you in the driving seat.

If you wish to have your data completely erased, simply select 'My Account' then 'Delete' and follow the on-screen instructions. This process will delete all your data held on our database with the exception of paid invoices which we are legally required to keep for accounting and tax purposes.

If you are not the administrator of your company's Appeal Finder account and do not know who is, email Helen Howie on info@appealfinder.co.uk to request details.

Security and Legal Obligations.

We are committed to ensuring the security of customers' information and only collect that which is necessary.  All data is securely held on encrypted data servers.  Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information on our legal obligations to you and your obligations to us in this regard.

Contact

If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice or on how we handle your personal information, please contact Helen Howie on info@appealfinder.co.uk.  
Any complaints should be addressed in the first instance to Steve Howie at info@appealfinder.co.uk.  If you are unhappy about how we have handled your complaint, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF.