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Privacy & cookies

6 June 2012


UCU is committed to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of members, potential members, and our website visitors; this policy sets out how we will treat your personal information.

Reference to personal data may include any information which directly or indirectly identifies you. This may include: your name, address, contact details, date of birth, National Insurance number, and your bank account details (if paying your subscriptions by direct debit) . Sensitive personal data may include information which reveals your membership of UCU, your race or ethnic origin, religion, political opinions, health or sexual orientation.

The personal data you supply to us will be held in electronic and/or manual format.

The processing of personal data by UCU shall be in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

This policy reflects our duties under the GDPR to use information fairly, keep it secure, make sure it is accurate and keep it up to date. This policy does not apply to other organisations to which we may link and whose privacy policies may differ.

Please read the following policy to understand how your personal information will be treated. It may change from time to time, so please check back periodically. This policy was last updated on 25 May 2018.


The UCU is the data controller. Our contact details are

UCU Carlow Street, London  NW1 7LH

020 7756 2500



The UCU has appointed a Data Protection Officer, who can be contacted by email:

How UCU uses your personal data as a member

General information about UCU's use of your data and how we may contact you

All information that UCU holds concerning you as an individual (your personal data) will be held and processed in accordance with the provisions of the GDPR.

Your data is used by the UCU to manage your membership record and our relationship with you as a valued member.

Purposes of processing

We process the data you provide to enable us to carry out our legitimate interests as a trade union and to help us deliver services to you, which includes the following purposes:

  1. the administration and management of your membership records
  2. to provide you with information about UCU's activities and benefits and other important information relating to your membership
  3. to conduct elections and ballots
  4. to administer branch and other meetings (as well as meetings of any body within the union to which you may be elected, co-opted or appointed)
  5. in the context of providing you with support, advice or representation in any personal case (to include UCU seeking their own legal advice in order to assist you)
  6. to comply with any laws or regulations
  7. implementing the unions policies through negotiation or otherwise
  8. individual member's casework and injury claims
  9. education, training and professional development
  10. group insurance claims
  11. resolving disputes involving members
  12. for other trade union related purposes, including purposes as set in the UCU rules.

By joining UCU you should understand that UCU may use some or all of the personal data you have provided for the above purposes.

Where the processing of personal data is based on our legitimate interests, it is to act in the interests of you as a member or of members as a whole or our staff. Where based on our legitimate activities these are in furtherance of our objects, and policies adopted as a trade union.

Access to your personal data

We will keep your personal data confidential and will take appropriate measures to protect it against loss, theft or misuse and to safeguard your privacy.

Some of your personal data will be available to UCU's employees, full time officers, branch officials, workplace representatives and others instructed by UCU for the purposes of carrying out trade union duties.

The type of personal data shared will be relevant to the purpose for which the data is used, so for example, unless you have expressly asked us not to, workplace representatives will be given your workplace contact details.

The UCU will not disclose any of your personally identifiable information to any third party without your consent except under special circumstances where we believe that the law requires it.


The UCU asks members to volunteer information about ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief and disability. Such information may from time to time be used by the UCU for the purposes of monitoring and analysis only. When this is done any information will be anonymised. It is entirely up to each individual whether to provide this data. Doing so does help us make sure that our services benefit all members.

Surveys, and petitions

When you supply any personal information to or any site using the domain, for instance in responding to surveys or petitions or contacting the membership department we will explain how we will use it, and each web page will explain why we may be requesting information and for what purpose, and will also tell you if we want to pass the information on to anyone else. In general, any information you provide to UCU will only be used by us unless we are obliged or permitted by law to pass to any third party.

Updating membership records and communications

So that we can communicate with you effectively it is important that the contact details we hold for you are up to date. You can check your personal details are accurate and amend them by logging into MY UCU (

UCU may contact you at your home address, by telephone, SMS, fax or email.

Your membership data is processed to enable to us to meet our legitimate interest to keep you informed of news and our activities. We send our members regular communication by email to their designated email addresses.

You can alter your preferences for communications (including the means of communication) from UCU. Please note if you change your preference so as not to receive some communications from us that could mean that you will not receive important information about UCU's activities and policies reported on the UCU website and other publications.

Further information on choosing which emails you receive can be found here.

Sharing your personal data with UCU's data processors

Data processors are third parties who provide services to us as set out below. We have contracts in place with our data processors. This means that they cannot do anything with your personal information unless we have instructed them to do it. They will not share your personal information with any organisation apart from us. They will hold it securely and retain it for the period we instruct.

Those organisations who carry out trade union related data processing activities on UCU's behalf, include those carrying out:

  • election administration
  • maintaining and updating membership information
  • IT systems support
  • validating your membership when contacting to access UCU benefits [this applies to Endsleigh Insurance Services only].

Sharing your personal data with UCU's affinity partners

UCU wishes you to receive details of benefits offered by or in conjunction with our affinity partners. The affinity partners are organisations with close links to UCU that share our ambition to provide you with the best possible range of benefits, from counselling services to insurance and legal products.  We will only share you data with our partners if you have given us permission to do so.  We do not at present share your data with our partners to allow them to contact you direct, and would only do so with your express consent.

Paypal donations

We use payment services provider, Paypal, to process financial transactions relating to donations to our Fighting Fund. You should only provide your personal information to Paypal after reviewing the Paypal privacy policy (available at We will share information with Paypal only to the extent necessary for the purposes of processing payments you make via our website. With regard to these donations, we do not store credit card details nor do we share customer details with any third parties. These transactions are entirely separate to the processing and maintenance of members' regular subscription and direct debit records.

How we may use your information as a visitor to the website or as a potential member

We collect information from:

  • visitors to our websites
  • employers in the further and higher education sector
  • publicly available sources such as the electoral register and websites
  • individuals who contact us
  • companies and organisations, including social media, e.g. Facebook, who help us to recruit new members and market our services
  • local branch members who engage with their colleagues, both members and non-members.

When you join UCU, you provide personal information about yourself.

Personal data submitted on this website will only be used for the purposes (or closely related purposes) that it was collected.

We may use your personal information to:

  • administer the website
  • improve your browsing experience by personalising the website
  • enable your use of the services available on the website
  • send you email notifications which you have specifically requested
  • deal with enquiries and complaints made by or about you relating to the website
  • for the purpose of direct marketing if you have opted in to a particular service
  • strengthen the union and make it more relevant in the workplace.

In the event that you are a potential member applying for membership we will in addition process your data for the purpose of progressing your application for membership.

All personal data

Data Retention

If you decide to leave the UCU we will only retain your data so long as is reasonably necessary. Generally this will be no longer than 6 years.

We will retain data for longer where there is a legal or employment related reason for doing so e.g. where an employment issue continues after membership ends. In these circumstances data will only be retained for as long as is reasonably necessary and this period will not exceed 6 years Should we need to retain data for longer than 6 years we will provide a clear explanation of our reasons for doing so.

Automated decision-making and profiling

We do not process personal data for automatic decision-making or profiling.

Subject Access Requests and other rights

You have a right to access your personal information held in our records, whether electronically or in hard copy. You should contact our Data Protection Officer should you wish to have access to this information.

We also recommend that you advise us should we need to update or complete any of our records containing your personal information.

If you wish to rectify or to erase your personal information, please also contact our Data Protection officer.

As an individual you have a statutory right to object to the UCU processing your data. If you wish to do so you must contact the Data Protection Officer, Paul Cottrell, at the address or email given above.

Security of processing

UCU has implemented technical and organisational measures to ensure the processing of personal data remains secured; however, absolute security cannot be guaranteed.

We make every effort to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of information under our control. However, data transmission over the internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the internet.

Transferring personal data outside of the European Economic Area

For any of the above purposes, we may transfer some or all of your personal data to countries outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"). Countries outside the EEA may not have data protection laws as comprehensive as those that exist in the EEA. We have, however, taken steps to ensure that data is held securely where it is transferred to our service providers outside the EEA.

Selling personal data

We will not sell your information to a third party.

Amending this policy

We may amend this policy at any time by posting a revised version on the website.

The change will take effect on the date that we post it on this page. We will take your continued use of the site and our services after that date as your acceptance of the change, so if an amendment is not acceptable to you then you should stop using the web site and our services. In these circumstances we would encourage you first to take up any concerns with our Data Protection Officer.

UCU cookies

This website does not store any information that would, on its own, allow us to identify individual users of this service without their permission. The main cookies used by this website are used either solely on a per session basis or to maintain user preferences. Cookies are not shared with any third parties.

A cookie is also set by us once you've read and/or accepted the cookie usage notice in order to prevent you being asked again each time you visit.

Some cookies may be set when forms are submitted in order for our website to be able to provide the relevant information back to you on subsequent visits.

Users have the opportunity to set their web browser to accept, issue a notification of, or refuse cookies at any time. Continuing to use this website gives consent to cookies being used. Please note that if you refuse cookies you may not be able to use the full functionality of this website. Each browser is different, so check its 'Help' menu to learn how to change your cookie preferences. For further information on cookies please visit

Third party cookies

We use some providers of third-party services to enhance the functionality and usability of our website. Pages that use these third-party services may present cookies from these websites. We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. We may also work with third parties to collect user data through our websites for the purpose of serving ads targeted to your interests. You can opt out of interest-based advertising through 'Do Not Track' settings in your web browser or mobile devices or through such other methods as X/Twitter may specify from time to time at X/Twitter (or any successor url). Please check the policies of each service for further information. These third-party services include, but are not limited to, Google Analytics*  which monitors traffic levels, search queries and visits to this website, YouTube so that we can embed videos, social media sharing services AddToAny and X/Twitter and Facebook, survey providers Alchemer, and live event blogging providers Flockler.

*Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. ("Google"), uses "cookies" to help the website analyze how users use the site. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google. By using this website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Contact details

If you have any queries about this notice, please contact the Data Protection Officer of UCU at 

Supervisory Authority

The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, United Kingdom

Phone: 0303 123 1113

Last updated: 9 April 2024