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The Council’s Revenues and Benefits Service is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy when you use our services. This Privacy Notice explains what personal information we collect about you, how and why we use it, who we disclose it to, and how we protect it. All personal data is processed in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Information held about you and why we need it
Croydon Council processes and stores personal information about you in order to administer and enforce Council Tax. We also need your personal information so that we can assess your eligibility for housing benefit, or to calculate the amount of any housing benefit and/or Council Tax reduction that you may be entitled to.
Personal information we will need from you may include all or some of the following: your name, address, National Insurance number, telephone and email addresses, bank details, dates of employment, allowances and benefits, savings and investments, income and capital, property ownership, immigration status and who else lives with you along with their details (e.g. your partner, your children and other adults). We may also need details of your landlord and the amount of rent paid and any other information required to process an application for any type of benefit.
Without this information, we will not be able to process your application for benefits or administer Council Tax appropriately. Whilst the majority of information provided by you to the Council is mandatory for the purposes specified in this notice, some of it is provided by you on a voluntary basis. We will inform you whether you are required by law to provide certain information to us; however, if you do have a choice to provide information that is not mandatory, your explicit consent will be requested. Where applicable, we will also seek to refresh your consent from time to time to ensure that you are still happy for us to use your data.
The GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 give you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us and how it is used by us. For more information about how we use your information and your individual privacy rights, please see the Council’s Corporate Privacy Notice at www.croydon.gov.uk/privacy.
When we collect your personal information
We collect information from you when you fill in one of our application forms, or contact us about your Council Tax or Benefits whether in writing, over the phone or face-to-face with our staff at Access Croydon. We may sometimes obtain information about you from third parties (including previous owners, landlords and estate agents) where this is necessary in order to administer and enforce the collection of Council Tax.
How we use your personal information
We use your personal information so that we can provide you services as required under various legislation including administering and enforcing Council Tax under the Local Government Finance Act 1992, the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and the Social Security Administration Act 1992.
We also have a duty to protect the public funds we administer and so we may use your information to help collect sundry debts owed to the Council e.g. Council Tax debt and to assist in the recovery of housing benefit overpayments. In this regard we may match your Council Tax data with Electoral Registration records.
The information we collect and the information provided to us by other organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is required to help us decide whether you qualify for help and how much, if anything, you should receive in respect of a housing benefit application and/or a Council Tax reduction claim.
We may also use your data to help you with an application that you may have made for another Croydon Council service, for example:
- Blue Badge (Disabled Persons’ Parking);
- Disabled Facilities Grant;
- Discretionary housing payment;
- Long-term residential care;
- Domiciliary care provided in people’s own homes;
- To support and signpost people to other agencies who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless under our statutory duties;
- To identify and refer individuals and families who are most in need that may benefit from the Troubled Families Programme or from additional Gateway Services.
We will also use you data to make sure the service you receive is efficient and effective, monitor and evaluate performance, account for our decisions and investigate complaints, and to produce statistics and reports to plan our service. Statistics are used in such a way that individuals cannot be identified from them.
If you fall behind with your Council Tax payments, we may need to access your application to assist you. We will treat your information as confidential and we will not normally share it with any other external organisation or internally within the Council without your explicit consent unless the law allows or requires us to do so. We may also disclose information when necessary to prevent the risk of harm to an individual.
We will not disclose your personal information to third parties for marketing or commercial purposes.
Who we share your information with
We may share information about you to third parties where permitted or required by law to do so for all lawful purposes including but not limited to the prevention and detection of fraud and criminal activity, protecting public funds by investigating the misuse of public money, and auditing or administering public funds.
We must give out some information if we are asked by the DWP or HMRC. We may also share your information with other local authorities, government departments or other agencies when required to under the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, e.g. the Council’s debt collection and enforcement agents, the Police when carrying out criminal investigations and other agencies that handle public funds and process other benefits.
We also participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data-matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. This data may then be passed on to other public bodies to investigate any matches. For more information about the National Fraud Initiative, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-fraud-initiative.
Your information may also be shared with the Council’s Complaints Team, Legal Services Department, Business Intelligence Team, Information Management Team, the Corporate Finance Team and others so that they can carry out their statutory roles and support our service.
Council staff in each area will only access the personal information that is essential to carry out their work and statutory functions but may share data between the respective teams where this is necessary to provide you with services. We will ensure compliance with Data Protection Law where information is shared within the Council for the purposes of delivering other services
The legal basis for us to process your personal data
- Where you have given consent to the processing of your personal data for one or more specific purposes;
- Where processing is necessary for compliance with our legal obligations;
- If we need to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights by protecting public interests or in the exercise of official authority (e.g. to detect and prevent fraud/crime, and in prosecutions and Court proceedings);
- Where it is in the legitimate interest of Croydon Council to do so.
How long we keep your personal information
Your personal data will be treated with the strictest confidence. We have a data protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal information, and also use appropriate technical safeguards to keep your information secure.
We will only keep your information for as long as it is required by us or other regulatory bodies to comply with legal and regulatory requirements or for other operational reasons. In most cases this will be for a minimum of six years.
Providing us with accurate information
It is very important that you provide us with accurate information to enable us to process your application more quickly. If any of your details have changed, or change in the future, please inform us as soon as possible so that we can update your records.
If false or inaccurate information is provided and fraud is identified, details will be passed to fraud prevention agencies. Law enforcement agencies may access and use this information.
Your right to see your records
Under GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, you have the right to request access to information that we hold about you. To make a request for your personal information, contact the Council’s Information Management Team at SAR@croydon.gov.uk.
If you have any questions or concerns about the way we collect, store or use your personal information, please contact Revenues & Benefits in the first instance on 020 8726 6000.
For advice about data protection issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.org.uk.
We reserve the right to amend this Privacy Notice at any time and will keep it under review. If we do make any changes, we will post the current version to our website at this address.
Last updated: May 2018