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Debt and benefit privacy notice

Who is the Data Controller for this processing?

Cheshire West and Chester Council is the Data Controller for this processing.

The personal information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies and credit reference agencies help to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services, finance, or employment.

What services are covered by this privacy notice?

Welfare Services including Debt Advice, Benefit Advice, Employment Support, Housing Support, Digital Support, support in Emergencies and financial assistance.

List the names of the service if applicable

Transactional Services Assessment Centre Welfare and Help Teams.

Covering the services as detailed above.

What personal information do we hold?

We only collect and use the minimum amount of personal information required when delivering a service to you.

Wherever possible we use non-identifiable personal information.

The service may use some or all of the personal information below:

  • Information about you, this could include your name, address, date of birth.
  • National identifiers such as NHS number, National Insurance number etc.
  • Information about your family.
  • Details about your lifestyle and social circumstances.
  • Financial details
  • Employment and education details.
  • Details about your housing needs.
  • Physical or mental health details

We get most of this information from you, but we may also get some of this data from:

  • Central Government Agencies
  • Other Local Authorities
  • Police and probation services
  • Members of the public (referrer)
  • Commissioned partners
  • Family members
  • Housing Teams
  • Landlords
  • Council Members
  • Third Sector
  • Food Banks
  • GP Wellbeing Service

How do we use your personal information?

We use your information for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Deliver the service, or handle your query
  • To plan and improve the services we offer including offering support for any additional welfare or financial services available to you.
  • To detect and prevent crime or fraud
  • For research, however this would be in anonymised form unless we ask for your consent to use your personal information for this purpose
  • To evidence positive outcomes to central government funding agencies

Who else might we share your personal information with?

Sometimes we may need to share your information, but we will only do so where it is necessary or required by law. We will only share the minimum information for each circumstance.

We may sometimes need to share some of your information with:

  • Health service providers including NHS Agencies (GPs, Hospitals, Ambulance, Health Visitor, Mental Health Services)
  • Education providers
  • Government Agencies (e.g. Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions)
  • Support groups.
  • Local Government
  • Police
  • Advocacy services
  • Fire and rescue services
  • Prepaid card providers
  • Landlords
  • Housing associations.
  • Foodbanks.
  • Changing Lives Together and other such Third Party Suppliers.
  • Creditors to obtain up to date balances, make payment offers and act on behalf of customers
  • The Insolvency Service in relation to a Debt Relief Order or Bankruptcy on behalf of customers
  • Other free debt advice services where we feel they can offer assistance such as Citizens Advice and Pennysmart.

What is the legal basis for our use of your personal information?

Most of the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the lawful bases we rely on for using your personal information are:

  • We need it to perform a public task (GDPR Article 6 (e)

When we collect data about your race, health (including biometric or genetic data), sex life, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, politics or trade union membership, we also rely on the following lawful basis:

You gave us your explicit consent (GDPR Article 9 (2) (a))

  • We need to collect it for Substantial Public Interest in order to comply with UK legislation (GDPR Article 9 (2) (g)
  • We need to analyse your information (GDPR Article 9 (2) (j))

The legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks includes but is not limited to:

  • Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • Social Security Admin Act 1992
  • Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
  • Council Tax Reduction Regulations 2012
  • Local Government Finance Act 1992

Where will we store your information?

Your information will be securely stored on our network and remotely at a secure data centre hosted by Advice Pro in the UK. The primary data centre is in Dundee with a backup/failover data centre located in Aberdeen. The network infrastructure is compliant with Information Security Code of Practice ISO27001. All data is stored encrypted at rest.

How long will we keep your personal information?

We will only use your personal information whilst delivering the service to you and to deal with any questions or complaints that we may receive about this, unless the law requires us to keep it for a longer period. In practice, this means that your information will be kept for up to six years then deleted.

If we need to use your information for research or reports, your information will be anonymised and any information taken from notes (hand written or typed) during any consultation sessions will be securely destroyed. The information will continue to be used in a summarised and anonymised form in any research reports or papers that are published. The anonymised information in the papers may be of historic interest and may be held in public archives indefinitely

Your rights

Under data protection law, you have rights including:

  • Your right of access - You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.
  • Your 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.
  • Your right to erasure - You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to restriction of processing - You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances.
  • Your right to object to processing - You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data 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.

To make a request follow the instructions on the Data Protection for you page below.

How to complain if you are unhappy about how your data is used

You can complain directly to the Council You can complain directly to the Council's Data Protection team by email or post.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office using the following details:

Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?

Should the transfer of personal information outside of the UK become necessary, it will only take place if permitted by law, and then only where there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect the personal information.

Your information is stored within the UK