DWP’s mandatory Work and Health Conversation – Consent and your sensitive personal data

The DWP is introducing a mandatory goal orientated  Work and Health Conversation (WHC) process. Whilst participation in the conversation  is said to be mandatory the activities of the resulting Action Plan seem voluntary. However, this compulsory ‘conversation’ raises many questions about whether the DWP can require a benefit claimant subject to a WHC to disclose sensitive personal data and who will have access to the data recorded. The WHC also engages the Human Rights Act (1998) ECHR (1950) Article 8 Convention ‘Right to respect for private and family life’.


[1] Processing sensitive personal data
[2] Data Protection Act 1998 – Section 2 Sensitive personal data
[3] Human Rights Act 1998
> ECHR Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
[4] WHC FOI responses and requests to DWP

[1] Processing sensitive personal data

In brief – what does the Data Protection Act say about the “conditions for processing”?
> What conditions need to be met in respect of sensitive personal data?

What is sensitive personal data?

[2] Data Protection Act 1998 – Section 2 Sensitive personal data.

In this Act “sensitive personal data” means personal data consisting of information as to—
(a) the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject,
(b) his political opinions,
(c) his religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature,
(d) whether he is a member of a trade union (within the meaning of the M1Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992),
(e) his physical or mental health or condition,
(f) his sexual life,
(g) the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or
(h)any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.

[3] Human Rights Act 1998
> ECHR Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life


[4] WHC FOI responses and requests to DWP
DWP’s “Health and Work Conversation”

Health and Work Conversation – Optional or Mandatory

Mandatory Work and Health Conversation: Consent, right to private life & conscientious objection

Sensitive Personal Data during WFI (inc Health and Work Conversation)

DWP’s “Health and Work Conversation”