How do we decide which lawful basis is appropriate?

You should consider which lawful basis best fits the circumstances. You might consider that more than one basis applies, in which case you should identify and document all of them from the start.

You may need to consider a variety of factors, including:

  • What is your purpose – what are you trying to achieve?
  • Can you reasonably achieve it in a different way?
  • Do you have a choice over whether or not to process the data?
  • Are you a public authority?

Several of the lawful bases relate to a particular specified purpose – a legal obligation, a contract with the individual, protecting someone’s vital interests, or performing your public tasks. If you are processing for these purposes then the appropriate lawful basis may well be obvious, so it is helpful to consider these first.

GP practices providing healthcare under contract to the NHS are considered to be a public authority.   If you can demonstrate that the processing is to perform your tasks as set down in UK law, then you are able to use the public task basis. If not, you may still be able to consider consent or legitimate interests in some cases, depending on the nature of the processing and your relationship with the individual.