S.I. No. 83/1989 - Data Protection (Access Modification) (Social Work) Regulations, 1989

S.I. No. 83 of 1989.


I, GERARD COLLINS, Minister for Justice, considering it desirable in the interests of data subjects, hereby, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 4 (8) of the Data Protection Act, 1988 (No. 25 of 1988), and after consultation with the Minister for Health, the Minister for Education, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Social Welfare and the Minister for Labour, make the following Regulations:

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Data Protection (Access Modification) (Social Work) Regulations, 1989.

2. These Regulations shall come into operation on the 19th day of April, 1989.

3. In these Regulations—

"the Act" means the Data Protection Act, 1988 (No. 25 of 1988);

"social work data" means personal data kept for, or obtained in the course of, carrying out social work by a Minister of the Government, a local authority, a health board, or a voluntary organisation or other body which carries out social work and is in receipt of moneys provided by such a Minister, authority or board, but excludes any health data within the meaning of the Data Protection (Access Modification) (Health) Regulations, 1989 ( S.I. No. 82 of 1989 ), and "social work" shall be construed accordingly.

4. (1) Information constituting social work data shall not be supplied by or on behalf of a data controller to the data subject concerned in response to a request under section 4 (1) (a) of the Act if it would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or emotional condition of the data subject.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) of this Regulation excuses a data controller from supplying so much of the information sought by the request as can be supplied without causing the harm referred to in that paragraph.

(3) If the social work data include information supplied to a data controller by an individual (other than an employee or agent of the data controller) while carrying out social work, the data controller shall not supply that information to the data subject under section 4 (1) (a) of the Act without first consulting that individual.

5. Section 4 (4) of the Act shall not apply in relation to social work data relating to an individual other than the data controller or data subject concerned if that individual is engaged in carrying out social work and the data relate to him in that capacity.

6. These Regulations are without prejudice to the power of a court to withhold from a data subject social work data kept by it and constituting information provided in a report supplied to it in any proceedings.

GIVEN under my Official Seal, this 19th day of April, 1989.


Minister for Justice.


These regulations prohibit the supply of personal data obtained in the course of carrying on social work if that would cause serious harm to the health or emotional condition of the data subject concerned. The regulations apply to social work carried on by Ministers, local authorities, health boards or any other such bodies receiving financial assistance from public funds.