Finding Medal Information: Living Vs Deceased Personnel

Introduction

Did you know that if you wish to find information about an individual (such as medals awarded) – unless the individual died in Service – you are required to provide a copy of a death certificate as proof of death in recognition of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) duty of care to their next of kin.

Date of Death

For a period of up to 25 years following the date of death, personal information (including medal record cards) relating to an individual will only be released by the MOD to the next of kin, or to a third party with their consent.

This is because if it cannot be proven or reasonably assumed that an individual is dead, the MOD must treat their data as personal data.

Data Protection

The MOD will rely upon Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 (which refers to personal information/data) which is an absolute exemption and there is, therefore, no requirement to consider the public interest in making a decision to withhold the information. Section 40(2) relates to third party personal data which is usually stated as “has been applied to some of the information in order to protect personal information as governed by the Data Protection Act 1998.” or “as governed by the Data Protection Act 2018.”

Date of Birth

However, if the date of birth of the individual was more than 116 years ago, the requirement to provide a death certificate will be waived. This is because it can be reasonably assumed that an individual is dead.

Reference

FOI 2023/04960 dated 10 May 2023.

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