Our approach to data protection

Humanist Society Scotland respects the privacy of its members and supporters. This privacy notice sets out:

  • the information we collect about you
  • how and why we use it
  • the cookies we use on our website
  • who we share it with
  • your rights and how you can exercise them
  • the steps we take to keep your personal information secure
  • how to make a complaint about how your information has been used

Our contact details 

Humanist Society Scotland is based at Suite 25, 4 Lochside Way, Edinburgh, EH12 9DT  in Scotland, United Kingdom.

For more information about how Humanist Society Scotland manages its data protection responsibilities, please contact Mads Mitchell, Head of Digital on +44 300 302 0680 or mads@humanism.scot.

Our website address is: https://www.humanism.scot

Telephone: +44 300 302 0680

The information we collect

We currently collect and process the following information:

  • your name, email address, home address, telephone number and other contact information;
  • demographic information, such as your age or gender;
  • information representing an attitude or opinion, such as petition responses;
  • details of your wedding, funeral or naming ceremony. For weddings, this will include information about your partner;
  • photographs, videos or audio recordings;
  • records of membership payments, donations, and any associated Gift Aid information;
  • your IP address and information about your interaction with our website and emails;
  • other information from correspondence and other types of communication with the society.

We also collect personal information in the form of applications submitted in relation to job vacancies or volunteering opportunities.

We collect financial information for the purpose of passing these securely to our payment processors. We do not at any point have access to your complete financial information.

How we collect information about you

The information that we process is supplied directly by you via:

  • the forms and surveys you submit via our website (or any other digital means)
  • email correspondence
  • correspondence via our social media platforms (including but not limited to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter)
  • telephone or in-person conversations
  • any paper correspondence you submit to us
  • third parties such as GoCardless, Just Giving, CAF Give As You Earn
  • interactions with our website
  • interactions with the emails that we send you

We also receive certain information about you and your ceremony from our celebrants. You can read more about our data sharing arrangements later in this notice.

Why we use your information

We require a lawful basis to process your personal information. These include:

  • consent (for example, opting in to receive direct marketing);
  • delivery of a contract with you, or taking steps to enter into a contract;
  • that it is required in order to comply with a legal duty;
  • for our own legitimate interests, where we have assessed that it is fair and balanced to do so and the processing is within your reasonable expectations.

We consider that your active support and membership of our organisation may reveal your philosophical belief, which is considered to be special category data under the UK GDPR and therefore subject to heightened security and confidentiality measures. We will never disclose this information without your explicit consent (unless this information has already manifestly been made public by you).

We also process special category data as part of our delivery of wedding ceremonies, as we will record information that may reveal your sexual orientation

We use your information for the purpose for which it was collected, and carefully balance whether any additional purpose is compatible, reasonable and non detrimental to your rights and freedoms.

Our purposes for using your information

Membership administration

We will use the information you provide to us to create and maintain your membership record in our membership database and to communicate with you about your membership (including notifying you of governance events such as our Annual General Meeting). The email address that you provide to us will not be used to send you marketing communications unless you have consented to this.

We request optional additional information such as your age and gender as it helps us to understand the demographic of our membership. Our lawful basis for doing so is consent, and you have the right to revoke this consent at any time by contacting us or updating your personal information on the website. See more about your rights under the UK GDPR later in this notice.

Keeping you updated on campaigns, events and other news (marketing)

We will only send you emails of this nature where you have consented for us to do so by subscribing to a mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any marketing email you receive from us, by updating your communications preferences on our website, or by contacting us directly. Please note that you cannot opt out from receiving transactional emails relating to your membership, but please contact us if you have any concerns.

Administration of ceremony bookings and enquiries

Any enquiry that you make via our Find Your Celebrant page is stored by us and shared only with the celebrant(s) you choose to contact. Each celebrant is a joint controller of your personal information, which means that they also have a responsibility to ensure the secure handling of your personal information under the UK GDPR. You can read more about how we manage this relationship later in this notice.

Where you contact us to find a celebrant on your behalf, we will share details about the time, date and location of your ceremony. Your contact information will only be made available to those who require it.

The details of your ceremony, including the script developed by your celebrant, are stored in a central location accessible by both us and your celebrant to enable us to provide emergency cover for your ceremony should it be required.

Responding to general enquiries

Where you contact us with a query or to ask for advice or support, we respect your privacy and won’t use your personal information for direct marketing purposes. 

Processing applications relating to job adverts, celebrant recruitment and volunteering

Your application is handled confidentially, with access restricted to those who require it on a role by role basis. Unsuccessful applications, including any interview notes, are retained in a secure location for a period of six months.

Where the role requires that your information is shared with a third party such as Disclosure Scotland, we will inform you before the sharing takes place. We will not ordinarily contact referees until a job offer has been made.

You may be asked to volunteer information for the purposes of equality & diversity monitoring, which will be anonymised and used only for statistical purposes.

Processing and maintaining records of membership fees, donations and other payments we receive from you

We use third party payment processors to collect payments via our website and do not store your financial information. You can read more about the data processors we work with later in this notice.

We will keep records of any payments you make to us in line with our statutory financial reporting obligations. These records may be shared with our auditors in the process of fulfilling these obligations.

Submitting Gift Aid claims to HMRC

Any Gift Aid Declaration made via our website will be submitted to HMRC for the purpose of claiming Gift Aid on your donation or membership payment. 

Fulfilling purchases made via our website

Where you purchase items via our website, we will use the details you provide for the purpose of fulfilling the purchase, such as processing payments and posting any goods to you.


Where you sign a petition, your name and any additional information you provide (for example, your reason for signing) may be shared with third parties as part of our campaigning activity. We will state the purpose of our petition at the point of collecting your personal information.

Carrying out research

We may use the information that we have collected to reflect on and improve our membership services, communications and campaigns. Where such activities involve a third party, your information is anonymised or shared in the form of aggregate data to prevent your identification.

Improving the user experience of our website

We use cookies to collect information about the way that visitors use our website in order to identify ways we can improve it, as well as to help us resolve any technical issues.


Please refer to our separate Cookies Policy.

Who we share your information with

We will never sell your personal information.

We do share your information in order to carry out our day to day activities. We take steps to ensure that your personal information is adequately protected by the services we use.

  • IT suppliers that host our website and support our systems
  • cloud service providers
  • payment processors (for taking payments via our website)
  • suppliers providing printing and fulfilment services
  • Social media platforms (see below)
  • our celebrants (see below)

Facebook & Instagram

Where you interact with our Facebook pages (Humanist Society Scotland and Humanist Society Scotland Ceremonies) or our Instagram page, Facebook processes your personal information in accordance with its own privacy policy (available here).

We act as joint controllers with Facebook under the agreement available here.

We use Facebook Insights data to inform us about how visitors interact with our Facebook pages. You can read more about this here.

Our Celebrants

In certain situations, we will act as joint controller of your personal information with your celebrant. This includes:

  • the information you provide when making a Secure Your Date booking;
  • the information you provide to your celebrant in relation to naming or funeral ceremonies;
  • enquiries made via Find Your Celebrant;
  • the information you provide to us in order to find a celebrant on your behalf.

In all cases, this information is transmitted for the purpose of delivering your ceremony, and we lawfully do so under the basis of performance of a contract. In the event that this agreement is terminated, your personal information may be retained by or disclosed to another celebrant.

Your celebrant’s contact information can be found via the Find Your Celebrant page of our website or in any correspondence you’ve received from them. 

If you wish to exercise your rights in relation to this information, you can contact either party to make your request.

Other third parties

We may also disclose your information to third parties if we are compelled to by law, or to comply with any legal obligation.

How long we retain your information

We will store personal information in accordance with our legal obligations, and depending on the purpose for which we collected it.

We may retain a record of your preference where you have opted out of receiving marketing communications from us.

We document and regularly review retention periods to ensure they are appropriate.

Keeping your information secure

We maintain IT and data security policies and provide training to staff and volunteers. This includes:

  • Use of password management software
  • Remote device management and control
  • Encrypted file sharing
  • Two-step authentication
  • Secure storage of physical files

Your data protection rights

You have certain rights under data protection law, as follows:

Right of access – You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.

Right to be informed – You have the right to be informed of how we collect, store and otherwise use your personal information. This privacy notice and other notices on paper and digital forms are provided to uphold that right.

Right to rectification – You have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.

Right to erasure – You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.

Right to restrict processing – You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances.

Right to object – You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances.

Your right to data portability – You have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances.

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

Please contact us at admin@humanism.scot if you wish to make a request.

How to complain

You can also complain to the ICO if you are unhappy with how we have used your data.

The ICO’s address:        

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Helpline number: 0303 123 1113

Or contact them online: https://ico.org.uk/concerns