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Privacy notice for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

What do we use the information for?

Housing benefit and council tax support collects, processes and holds your personal and financial information in order to provide our services effectively. 

  • To administer housing benefit and council tax support on behalf of Central Government 
  • To verify evidence regarding income and capital to calculate your eligibility to housing; benefit/council tax support and free school meals
  • To collect any overpaid housing benefit
  • To consider any reconsiderations and appeals where you do not agree with your award of housing benefit/council tax support
  • To  provide benefit and debt advice.

We also use information to improve our services so that they are more appropriate to people’s requirements.  We recognise that your personal information is important to you, and we take our responsibilities for ensuring that we collect and manage it proportionately, correctly and safely very seriously.

What information do we hold and use?

We collect and process the following information:

  • Personal information  (including full name, full residential address, date of birth) 
  • Location data (including postcode and telephone number)
  • Identifiable information (including NI number) 
  • Characteristics (such as ethnicity, sex, religion) 
  • Contact/ appointee details (including full name, full residential address) 
  • The date you wish to claim from and what you wish to claim for 
  • Bank details for invoicing/ payments 
  • Information relating to household income (including state benefit)
  • Information relating to household expenditure (including rent charges)
  • Details of any second properties and rent received, if applicable
  • Details of any expenses
  • Information relating to any rent arrears 
  • Notification of debt relief orders, bankruptcy and individual voluntary arrangements 
  • Details of your council tax liability.

On what grounds do we use the information?

Housing benefit and council tax support collect and lawfully process your personal information under the following:

  • Social Security Administration Act 1992 (consolidating act) as amended
  • Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 (consolidating act) as amended
  • Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
  • Section 13A of the Local Government Act 1992 
  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Prescribed Requirements) Regulations 2012.

We process personal data for the following reasons:

  • GDPR Article 6(1)(a) – the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes
  • GDPR Article 6(1)(c) – processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligation to which the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is subject
  • GDPR Article 6(1)(e) – processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest in the exercise of official authority vested in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

We process special category data for the following reason:

  • GDPR Article 9(2)(a) - the data subject has given explicit consent to the processing of those personal data for one or more specified purposes, except where Union or Member State law provide that the prohibition referred to in paragraph 1 may not be lifted by the data subject
  • GDPR Article 9(2)(g) - processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.

How do we collect this information?

We may collect information in the following ways:

  • Paper, electronic or online claim forms
  • Email
  • Letter
  • Telephone
  • Face to face, with one of our employees, or one of our partners
  • Via the national ‘Tell Us Once’ scheme
  • Via the Landlord portal
  • From third-party sources who have a duty to share information to enable us to meet our statutory obligations (including the Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, registered social landlords and other local authorities).

Who do we share your information with?

We may disclose your information to others, but only where this is necessary either to comply with our legal obligations as permitted Data Protection legislation. We may  share it with other public service bodies including the Department of Work and Pensions, external organisations who the council contracts with to administer public funds, HM Revenues and Customs and other local authorities. 

We may also disclose your information to an external provider, namely ‘Policy in Practice’ (PIP), in order for us to use a low income family tracker (LIFT) dashboard. Your information is shared with this provider, who subsequently upload the data to the dashboard allowing the housing benefit and council tax support teams to focus their attention into helping families in need of financial assistance. 

Policy in Practice (external website) 

As part of our telephony system which is used in our revenues and benefit services contact centre, we may also share information with the system provider, namely Inform Comms, regarding the number of calls received. Please note that your personal information will not be disclosed to this provider. 

Inform Comms (external website) 

To enable the benefits service to carry out their functions, they use a housing system called ActiveH which is supplied by MIS-Active Management Systems Limited.

MIS-Active Management Systems Limited (external website)

The reasons why we may share your data with other public bodies are as follows: 

  • To protect public funds
  • To make sure the information held by the service is accurate
  • To prevent, detect and prosecute fraud 
  • To monitor and improve our performance and delivery of services 
  • For the prevention and or detection of crime 
  • Where necessary to protect individuals from the risk of harm or injury
  • Where otherwise permitted under the General Data Protection legislation.

We will only disclose your sensitive or confidential information if we are legally required to do so, or where we have good reason to believe that failing to share the information would put you or someone else at risk of harm.

We will not pass your personal information to external organisations for marketing or sales purposes of for any commercial use without your prior expressed consent.

How long do we store it and is it secure?

We have retention schedules in place to ensure that information is only held for as long as it is needed. We will not keep your information for longer than is required to by law.  Your information will be disposed of in a controlled and secure manner in accordance with the council’s Records Management and Data Quality Policy. The council’s IT security and confidentiality policies ensure that your information is protected, and accessed only by staff directly involved in your case.

For information on how long your information will be held, visit the retention page. 

What rights do you have?

The rights that you have depend upon the grounds on which we collected your information. All of the rights you could have are outlined on the data protection rights page.

In most cases, people who have been involved with housing benefit and council tax support will be covered by the following rights: 

  • The right to access – you are entitled to see the information the service  holds about you 
  • The right to rectification – we will amend information accordingly, if any of the information that the service  holds about you is incorrect 
  • The right to restrict processing – you may wish to limit how we use your data
  • The right to object –  in addition to the right to limit the use of your data, you  also have a right to object to the use of your data for certain actions 
  • The right to erasure / right to be forgotten – in certain circumstances, you may be able to ask for some of the information we hold to be deleted. The service has determined that all requests to permanently delete a service user record will be dealt with on an individual basis.

To exercise any of your above rights, please visit the data protection rights page for more information.

Where can I find out more?

If you want to know more about how the council uses information, your rights or have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, we request that you raise your concern with us in the first instance; contact details are available on the general privacy information page. Alternatively, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest and they handle public concerns regarding organisations information rights practices. 

Information Commissioner’s Office (external link).

When was this privacy notice last updated?

We will continually review and update this privacy notice to reflect any changes in our services, feedback from customers, and to comply with any changes in the law. This privacy notice was last updated on 19 April 2021.

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