Westco Respondent Privacy Notice

About Westco

Westco is a wholly owned company of Westminster City Council, registered in England with the company number 6462674. Set up in 2003, the business was established to trade the very best of Westminster City Council services and skills with others in the public and private sector. Westco provides full-service strategy, communications, research and transformation consultancy and implementation to the public, private and third sector organisations in the UK.

About this notice

This notice explains what personal data we collect from you during our research and how we use this data. Participation in our research is voluntary and we will always seek your consent to take part in any research project. If you have taken part in research but no longer wish to be part of the research you are entitled to ask that part or all of your interview or input into the research project and/or any personal data be destroyed or deleted, we will then carry out this request.

How we collect information from you

We conduct market and social research on behalf of our clients, mainly public sector organisations. The research we carry out helps our clients to better understand how people feel about a certain subject or service area. This information is then collated into an anonymous or statistical format and used to inform decision making.

You may have been contacted to take part in a research project because:

  • You have been randomly selected to participate in a research project via telephone – for example when we run a telephone survey using Random Digit Dial (explained below[1]), face to face such as when we recruit participants for a focus group or workshop or via your address when we conducted a face to face survey in a local area. When we collect data in these ways, we have no prior personal information about you or your household.
  • You may already have a relationship with the client we are working with and they have provided your details to us – this may happen during a consultation for instance if you have opted into communication about a certain consultation or service area – this could be online, via post or telephone depending on how you indicated you would like to be contacted.

We also collect information through your use of and interaction with our website.

Information we collect

The personal information that we collect from you will vary depending on the project in question. We collect data via telephone, online, face to face or by paper/post. We only collect data that is relevant for the project in question. It may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • name
  • demographic data such as your age, gender, working status, job title or socio-economic information.
  • contact data such as email address; home and/or work postal address, postcode; phone number;
  • image and/or voice captured through photography, filming, and/or audio recording;
  • information from queries and/or complaints registered with usWe may sometimes ask you to provide additional personal information, and sometime sensitive personal information, such as disability, sexuality , ethnicity and/or religion if this is necessary to provide the service we are delivering and relevant to our project.

You will always be asked for your consent to take part in research at the start of the research interview/survey/group and you will always be asked for your consent to answer any personal data questions. You can withdraw your consent at any time during the research or refuse to answer any question.

We sometimes record calls for quality purposes but we will always let you know at the outset of the call if this is the case.

How the information we collect is used

The information we collect is only used for the specific project or purpose it was collected for. For example, if we collect demographic data from you during a telephone interview, we will only use that data in relation to that survey or research piece. We use demographic analysis (of groups of more than 50) to look at trends and opinions among certain types of people – for example among those in a certain age groups, or those working full time. We do not use identifiable personal data – such as name or email address in any of our reporting. Our reports are always anonymised and we do not link findings from research projects to individuals.


We use trusted fieldwork suppliers to run some elements of our research projects – for instance telephone interviewers or face to face interviewers for a survey or recruitment agencies for a focus group. All our sub-contractors adhere to the requirements of data protection and other legislation and have processes in place to protect personal data. They do not keep any personal data for longer than is necessary for the research project in question and destroy personal data securely. They are accountable to us in relation to the way that they are able to use information you provide to them.

Sharing of personal data

  • The findings from surveys are collated and reported back to our clients in an aggregated way - so we are not reporting back on individual responses – but grouped responses.
  • When we share findings from qualitative research such as a focus group or depth interview – we anonymise the findings, to ensure no individual is identifiable in our reporting.
  • We will only share your personal data with our client, after consent has been gained from you to do this.
  • Please note, we do not share any of your data with any third parties for marketing purposes.

How we secure your data

Westco is committed to and adheres to Westminster City Council’s Data Protection Policy which includes Information Security, Handling and Awareness, as well as monitoring of third-parties and partners. These policies set out our approach to information security and training for staff that ensure we are adequately prepared to handle information securely, identify risks and report incidents promptly if they occur.

During a research project, only the Westco Research Team, our approved sub-contractor (if we have used one) and client in question have access to any personal data collected.

When we use a sub-contractor – for instance during a telephone survey, we have agreements in place with them to ensure the data collected will be kept secure, confidential and will not be used for any other purpose that the research project in question. Once our sub-contractors securely send the data to Westco, they are required to destroy the data from their systems.

Retention of personal data

We only keep personal data for a limited amount of time and as soon as our project has closed, we will securely destroy this data. This will happen within 3 months of the project closure date. Call recordings are kept for a maximum of 30 days after the call has taken place.

How we process personal data

The vast majority of our research data is stored and processed within the EEA. For online surveys, which make up a very small part of our research work, data is stored on our supplier's servers in the USA. Our supplier is SurveyGizmo, and it is registered with the EU-US Privacy Shield framework, which means that your personal information is appropriately protected.

Your Rights

In certain circumstances you have various rights when it comes to collection and use of your personal data.

  1. The right of access – you can request confirmation that your personal data is being processed, and request access to your personal data
  2. The right to rectification – you can request that any inaccurate personal information be rectified, or completed if it is incompleteThe right to erasure – you can request that your personal data be erased
  3. The right to restrict processing – you can request that your personal data be restricted or supressed from certain types of processing
  4. The right to data portability – you can request to obtain your personal data to transfer to another organisation
  5. The right to object – you can object to processing or withdraw your consent for us to use your personal data

Data Protection Contacts

If you have any questions about data protection or security please contact Jen Compton, jcompton@westcotrading.com or;

The Data Protection Officer
(Information Services)
5 Strand


If you have any concerns about how your personal data has been collected or processed by Westco please let us know. Otherwise, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) by visiting ico.org.uk/concerns or call their helpline on 0303 123 1113.

Review of our privacy policy

We review our privacy policy regularly and make updates to this page when needed. Our Privacy Policy was last updated on 25thMay 2018. Any substantial changes will be notified to you where appropriate.

[1]This process involves the last few digits of known landline telephone numbers covering an area (provided from the telephone exchanges) being randomly generated. This is vitally important in ensuring we can gather a random sample of respondents to our surveys, as across the UK around half the population have registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) through BT and other companies or have gone ex-directory.

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