Data Protection


Recognising Personal Data

This page gives working examples to help you understand what personal data is.

Background information

  • Understand personal data at UCL
  • Personal data is categorised according to the level of sensitivity with which it is to be handled.  Understand the different categories of data so you can know how to handle it responsibly:

Examples of data

The table shows how and why data is classified according to the different categories.

Examples of UCL data

Category of data 





Contains identifiable information: name, date of birth and address. 


Interview notesPersonal / special category: 

Depends on the CV, but if it contains data that reveals a person's political persuasion for example then it should be treated as special category personal data.   

ContractsPersonalContracts contain name, address, salary and employee number.
DBS checksSpecial categoryCopies of the individuals' passport, driver’s licence and other supporting documents (e.g. bank statement, utility bill etc). Departments should NOT be copying or saving the certificate. 


Personal / special categoryPassports (and visas in some circumstances) are required to be signed and verified by the departmental or line manager and sent to HR securely. Contains identifiable data such as name, address, DOB and possibly biometric information .  

Occupation health referral

Special categoryMedical data is considered to be sensitive personal data so it is listed as special category data.  
SicknoteSpecial categoryContains identifiable information such as name and the nature of the condition the employee may have. 
Health recordsSpecial category 
Changes to appointment

Personal / special category

Data added to request forms contain identifiable data such as name, address, DoB (and salary).

Special category: one-off payment forms (e.g. Form 7 payments) require bank details for payments for work done. 

Payroll dataPersonalData, such as P45, new starter declarations, staff registration forms (contain bank details, address, name, qualifications) and national insurance numbers. 
Resignation lettersPersonal/ special categoryResignation letters don’t necessarily contain any identifiable information, they tend to contain when the employee is intending to leave.   

The leavers' forms contain identifiable data such as the name of the individual.