Job Centre Plus make records of every contact you have with them however they only keep records for a specific period of time so you should send a letter to your local Job Centre Plus Manager, each district has a Data Protection Officer however as per usual their details are unavailable to the public, their details should be clearly available at each Job Centre and also online for greater transparency.
You could write a letter similar to this:
Dear Data Protection Officer / Job Centre Plus Manager,
I am formally writing to request a Subject Access Request (SAR) under section 7ai of the Data Protection Act 1998, you have 40 days in order to complete this request.
(If you suspect any aspect of your claim is not being accurately recorded you should undertake this to hold them to account.
As I am on low income I cannot afford to pay any costs towards this request (They can charge you £10 or more depending on the volumes and timeframes it may take however you should refuse to pay).
I would like copies of all information that relate to
(a) All financial aspects of my claim.
(b) All recorded phone conversations by audio to any area of Job Centre Plus including the call centre, job centre plus office or any other office that I may have had contact with during the length of my claim (if you have years roughly that would be helpful up to today).
(c) Please can you give me any copies of emails to and from myself to any area of Job Centre Plus, this can be useful if you decide to pursue the formal complaints procedure for evidential purposes, any information on your computer systems (all systems).
In terms of day to day best practice as you are entitled to see any records they hold the following should occur:
After contact with the advisor they should show you on screen the notes that they have made regarding the meeting, if this is inaccurate then you should have the opportunity to be able to correct it there and then, this ensures they are accountable, if staff are sanctioning your benefits for example then you need to ensure that this was fair and reasonable so you should demand this after every meeting.
You should ask your advisor to give you a print screen of the notes they have put on their system for you to take away, you are entitled to it and it ensures they do not add or change this after you have left the office to their advantage and potentially your disadvantage.
Updated 10th June 2016
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