Privacy notice for ‘Ask the export support team a question’ service

The Purpose of this document

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) herein referred to as the Department or DBT is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your information. This notice describes how we collect and use your personal information in accordance with UK Data Protection legislation, in particular the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

It is important that you read this notice, so that you are aware of how and why we are using your information.

Cookie Policy

Read our cookie policy to find out about the cookies we use, what they're for and when they expire.

Legal basis for processing your data

Public Task- We will process (collect, store and use) your personal data only to fulfil DBT’s public task or function as a government department.

Change on marketing rule for Public Authority – In 2021, the ICO issued a guidance allowing public sector organisations to send ‘promotional messages’ which would not be classed as direct marketing, if they are necessary for public task or function.

In view of the ICO clarification, the department will be relying on public task lawful basis when sending promotional messages to carry out DBT’s public task or function.

The change is without prejudice to your right to object and to exercise other applicable rights available under the regulation.

The full details of data subjects’ rights and how to contact us is provided below.

What personal data we collect

The personal information DBT will collect is:

  • your name
  • your email address
  • your phone number
  • your address

The following details as they relate to your enquiry:

  • business name
  • business postcode
  • your position within the business organisation
  • company registration number
  • UK business turnover for the last financial year
  • number of UK employees
  • industry or business area
  • type of goods or services to be exported
  • trade activity (import or export)
  • market or region exporting to
  • market or region importing from
  • use of assistive technology
  • the question or enquiry you are asking
  • value of the export
  • enquirer need
  • enquirer intent
  • enquiry source
  • enquiry outcome
  • rating of enquirer’s knowledge of where to go for help and support with exporting
  • exporting experience
  • where did you hear about ESS
  • your feedback about ESS

The purpose of collecting data

The data you provide will be processed by DBT for the following purposes:

  • to manage relationships in support to businesses trading or investing internationally
  • to identify and secure opportunities both international and the UK
  • to direct businesses to appropriate advice, events, and services
  • to better evaluate the impact of trade and investment services and process business applications to access trade and investment related advice and services
  • to support understanding of the trade and investment environment and the domestic and international business landscape
  • to target financial support at businesses to secure trade and investment opportunities
  • to understand barriers to trade and investment and design effective and intelligent trade and investment policy, services and make business decisions
  • to send you promotional messages in order to carry out our public task or function as a government department
  • to seek your feedback and improve our services

How we protect and share your data

DBT is the data controller for your data. DBT will only share data covered by this privacy notice with third parties to support the purposes as shown above.

All organisations we share your data with must have a data protection policy and systems in place to protect personal data and be under contract or other agreement (for Crown bodies) to use this data only for the purposes within this privacy notice. The data has technical controls in place to restrict access and will be stored within the UK and the EEA.

These organisations may include:

  • UK Export Finance
  • Other Government Departments (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Cabinet Office)
  • Devolved Administrations (Welsh Government, Scottish Government, Invest Northern Ireland)
  • Local Enterprise Partners (38 organisations) including Local Government and trade bodies.
  • Overseas Delivery Partners, operating under grant letter to DBT
  • Other third parties under contract to support the above purposes (These include and are not limited to: Adetiq, UK Shared Business Services, Kantar Public, Dun and Bradstreet Ltd, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Green Park, Profusion, MadeTech).

DBT or organisations contracted by DBT may contact you using the information you provide, in order to request feedback on the services and for your input on how to improve them.

Aggregated analysis may be shared with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA), the National Audit Office (NAO)

We will not:

  • sell or rent your data to third parties
  • share your data with third parties unless legally obliged to do so by law or regulation – for example, by court order, or to prevent fraud or other crime.

How long we keep your data

We will only retain your personal information for as long as:

  • it is needed for the purposes set out in this document
  • the law requires us to,

In line with DBT’s retention and disposal policy and schedules, your personal data will be retained for 7 years from the date when it was provided, or subsequently updated, and then disposed of.

Anonymised information related to your query, our advice, aggregated analyses, and any other related information will be retained for up to 15 years from the date when the advice was provided or the analyses approved.


We take all reasonable steps to keep your personal data in our control and used on an on-going basis, accurate, complete, current and relevant, based on the latest information provided to us. We rely on you to keep us informed about any changes to your personal data in keeping with UK GDPR principles.

Your rights and access to your information

You have the right to request:

  • information about how your personal data is processed.
  • a copy of that personal data
  • that anything inaccurate in your personal data is corrected immediately

You can also:

  • raise an objection about how your personal data is processed
  • request that your personal data is erased if there is no longer a justification for it
  • ask that the processing of your personal data is restricted in certain circumstances
  • request an opt-out from being contacted for research purposes

Contacting us

If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, or exercise your right as aforementioned, you can also write to us at:
Department For Business and Trade
Old Admiralty Building
Admiralty Place

You can also make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, who is an independent regulator.
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Textphone: 01625 545860
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Changes to this privacy notice

We reserve the right to update this privacy notice at any time and we will provide you with a new privacy notice if we make any substantial updates.

The Department for Business and Trade are registered as a Data Controller under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.


Information provided whilst using this service, including personal information, may be disclosed in accordance with access to information regimes, primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

If you want the information you provide to be treated confidentially, please be aware that, in accordance with the FOIA, public authorities are required to comply with a statutory code of practice which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this, it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you wish that information to be treated confidentially. If we receive a request for disclosure of that information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances.


Read the Export Support Service disclaimer.