Privacy Policy

This information has been compiled to help enable you to understand what we do and don't do with your data and your continuing rights after you share your information with us. This information has been created using guidance from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Should you wish to find out more about the information we hold about you, or about our privacy policy, please contact us:

Merseyside BioBank
Court Hey Park, Roby Road, Knowsley L16 3NA

Created: 25/05/2018
Last Revised: N/A
Period of revision: Annual or sooner as appropriate
Authored: Ben Deed, Merseyside BioBank Manager


1. Who are we?

Merseyside BioBank, an arm of Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS) is the Local Environmental Record Centre for North Merseyside. We aim to increase knowledge and understanding of biodiversity on Merseyside and inform decision taking and compliance through improved access to biological and environmental information.  Merseyside BioBank achieves this through the creation and maintenance of a centralised repository of quality assured information for the North Merseyside area and by increasing awareness of and involvement in biodiversity conservation through Biological Recording. 

Merseyside BioBank is an associate member of the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and member of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC). In order to facilitate data sharing with other areas of the country, Merseyside BioBank is committed to using NBN data sharing standards when ever possible and works to align its operations with ALERC standards.

Merseyside BioBank collects, manages, and archives data collected (or collated) by a variety of public and private organizations and individuals and is the one-stop shop for individuals and organisations needing biological or environmental information for North Merseyside. Merseyside BioBank works closely with other organisations both locally and nationally to ensure that good quality data and interpretation services are available.


2. Why do we need your information?

Merseyside BioBank can only operate effectively with the support of the local volunteer network and partner organisations. Collecting and holding information about you enables us to effectively deliver our core functions as a Local Environmental Records Centre. Improving the knowledge base of biodiversity in the local area and so improve the decisions taken on that information. We will only ever collect, store and use your personal data when we have an identified purpose and reason to do so. The ICO refers to this as a Lawful basis.

Specific purposes for collecting your information include;

a. To carry out quality assurance of biodiversity data

The recorders name, your name and that of any determiner, confirmer or verifier, is a fundamental component of a biological record. Without it a record is, strictly speaking, invalid. Your personal information enables a certain confidence to be attributed to that data for the purposes of verification. It also allows us to ensure that your information can be properly attributed and assigned to you. We may also wish to contact you in certain circumstances to ask for additional information or do share your record for a purpose outside of what might be considered normal LERC 'business'.

We consider the basis for this use to be Legitimate Interest

b. To deliver Merseyside BioBank LERC services

Enabling sharing and use of biodiversity information is a core part of our function as North Merseyside LERC. In order to deliver this we need to collect personal information on you as a requestor or user of our services. This enables us to ensure that we are properly tracking use of data or otherwise sharing information properly as per an Agreement.

We consider the basis for this to be Contract or if a service is in delivery of authority duties (e.g. Environmental Information Regulations) then Public Task.

c. To manage you as a volunteer or Merseyside BioBank Active Naturalist (MBAN) member

Volunteers are integral to the continuing operation of Merseyside BioBank and the ongoing currency of the information we build into services. We collect your information as a Volunteer (this includes; field, office and MBAN membership) to enable us to stay in touch with you, provide you with information about upcoming events or training that may be of interest to you (you may are now required to 'opt-in' to the MBAN or general subscriptions if you want them) or otherwise keep you informed about local success stories or targeted wildlife recording.

We consider the basis for maintaining this information to be Legitimate Interest or Contract for formal office based volunteering. Otherwise, opt-in Consent may be required for mailshots and newsletters (general or MBAN).


3. What information are we collecting?

The actual type of information we collect about you depends on the purpose for which we are collecting it. We do not collect un-necessary information about you but if you are ever unsure always be assured that you can contact us for further advice or information and that you can exercise your rights.

a. Biological Records (including photos)

Our 'bread-and butter' information. Biological records are considered personal information and also remain your Intellectual Property. Personal names, contact details and some biographical information such as your level of interests or expertise in a particular field (if you provide it) will be retained to help enable us to verify your data into the future. You name will also be used to ensure your record can be properly attributed to you and that you should be credited for any photo you have shared alongside your record.

b. General Information

Includes things like usernames, your actual name, email address and contact details. This also includes information gathered via our website if you choose to register for enhanced access or as an MBAN member in which case you will be able to log taxon, location and other biological recording preferences to enable us to tailor web services to suit your interests. Note that the majority of registration fields are optional to help to tailor your experience but are not required

c. Sensitive Data

We do not generally collect sensitive data on you (e.g. Disclosure and Barring Service checks, Political affiliation, Medical checks). However, formal office volunteers may be required to provide emergency contact details, references and a CV or disclose medical conditions that are relevant to the office based role. Such information is requested and will be in-line with the policies of our hosting organisation, Sefton Council, and the reasoning behind requesting the information will be discussed in full during the registration process as per our recruitment process.

d. Website

Some information about you computer is automatically collected when you use our website;

Cookies: A cookie is a small piece of data or message that is sent from a web server to your browser and is stored on your hard drive.  A cookie can't read data off your hard disk or read cookie files created by other sites.  Cookies do not damage your system. In the case of Merseyside BioBank, cookies are used primarily to allow the system to “remember” your previous trips to the site and reuse the settings you chose in those previous visits. You can reset your browser so as to refuse any cookie or to alert you to when a cookie is being sent. If you choose not to accept our cookies, some of the features of our site may not work as well as we intend.

IP Address and web traffic: We log your Internet Protocol (IP) address in order to receive and send information from and to you over the Internet. This is done automatically by Google Analytics to enable us to analyse how our website is used, what is working and what isn't. We also use automated error logging which keeps a record of the IP address associated with an error on the website.

e. Children and young people

We do not collect, process or store the information of children or young people under 13 years of age without the express permission of a parent or guardian. 


4. Who are we sharing your information with?

We will not sell or rent your information to third parties.

We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

We may share your information with:

a. Legitimate users of LERC products and services as outlined by our core functions: This may include but is not limited to; the general public, private sector users, public authorities and their advisors, statutory agencies, conservation organisations and other not-for-profit natural history organisations and local groups. Note confidentiality and sensitive species exceptions exist, personal names are not shared where data may go into the public domain (e.g. commercial users, NBN Atlas) and we will refuse requests where the request is detrimental to the environment or it may otherwise undermine the trust of our recording network or principles behind data sharing and use.

b. Recognised representatives carrying out verification and quality assurance of biodiversity data: This include but are not limited to representatives of national schemes or societies with a taxonomic focus and expertise in the local area and national recording scheme representatives.

c. Analytics and search engine providers: that assist us in the improvement and optimisation of our websites such as Google Analytics.

d. If we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation: such as in the case of a Wildlife Crime.


5. How do we manage your data

As your Local Environmental Records Centre we have a responsibility to ensure that your biodiversity information and any personal data we hold on you is kept secure and managed appropriately to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and continues to be useful into the future for the purpose or purposes for which it was collected and/or shared.

a) Security: The majority of the data we manage, which you have provided directly, is held within our secure resource centre at Court Hey Park in Knowsley. The facility is not open to the general public and your data is only managed by UK staff or trained and vetted volunteers who have been through our recruitment process. Our IT systems and processes are underpinned by our hosting organisation, Sefton Council's, IT policies. This includes the movement of information between offices (e.g. by external drive). Any data shared outside this office is shared by contractual agreement to ensure that your rights are preserved. Shared data does not include personal information unless completely necessary.

b) Data storage: Information is stored as per our data workflows depending on the type of data that it is. Biological Records and associated personal information are stored in the industry standard Recorder 6 program, backed by a SQL database. This database is regularly backed up. Other electronic databases are controlled access with access dependent on need and an appropriate level of responsibility.

c) Data retention: We retain information as long as it is required and review this need continually. With respect to Biological Records we envision that those data should be maintained into perpetuity so as to improve out knowledge of the past and act as a means of monitoring change in local biodiversity for future generations. Note that this does not affect your Rights (below).


6. Your Rights

You have various rights in respect of the personal information we hold about you – these are set out in more detail below.  If you wish to exercise any of these rights or make a complaint, you can do so by contacting us using the information at the top of this page or this websites Contact form. You can also make a complaint to to the data protection supervisory authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Your principle rights under data protection law are:

a. The right to be informed: You have the right to be informed about how we access, use and share your data. This page has been designed to answer many of those questions but if there is something you still wish to know then please contact us.

b. The right to access: You have the right to access a copy of any of the personal information we hold about you. How and where we use it and who we share it with. If you wish to request this information then please contact us in writing with proof of identity. Please be aware it may take some time to service such a request and you should expect a response within one month. 

c. The right to rectification: If you feel the information we hold is inaccurate of incomplete then please let us know so we can correct it.

d. The right to erasure: You can ask us to remove or anonymise the personal information we hold about you or other information you might have shared with us. If you have concerns regarding misuse of biological records then please discuss this with us first as there may be an alternate solution that targets the use of your data for specific purposes so they continue to have some positive impact

e. The right to restrict processing: You can ask us to stop using your data. If you have concerns regarding misuse of biological records then please discuss this with us first as there may be an alternate solution that targets the use of your data for specific purposes so they continue to have some positive impact

f. The right to data portability: You can request a copy of your personal data for your own use and purposes. If you wish to request this information then please contact us in writing with proof of identity. Please be aware it may take some time to service such a request and you should expect a response within one month. 

g. The right to object to processing: You can object to our use of your data for any purpose. If you wish to do so please detail the objection so that we can take appropriate action. Note also your other Rights. 

h. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling: We do not currently carry out any automated decision making or profiling. However, should this ever be the case then you have the right to not be subject to such processing.

For more information on your individual rights, please see the Information Commissioner’s Office


7. Complaints

We take complaints very seriously. If you have concerns that can be discussed then we would encourage you to contact us so that we might resolve any issues or concerns you might have regarding any aspect of what we do (not just personal data). We welcome feedback and the opportunity to improve our information, systems and processes to better serve our users and partners. Contacting us to discuss the issue may also allow us to rectify a situation quickly to avoid the same thing happening again.

However, if you feel you discussing the problem hasn't rectified the situation then please contact Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service to begin a formal complaints process.

For further assistance with complaints regarding your data, please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, whose remit covers the UK.

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 0303 123 1113