Our basic legal requirement is to make sure you know what we intend to do with your information and who it will be shared with.
There may be times when we share your information with those who work on our behalf to provide you with the service you need.
Sometimes we may need to ask other agencies or organisations for relevant information about you, to fulfil our legal responsibilities or to provide services. For example, this could be to enable them to carry out their legal duties, or where it is necessary to prevent harm to yourself or other individuals.
We have a duty to:
- keep sufficient information to provide services and fulfil our legal responsibilities
- keep your records secure and accurate
- keep your information only for as long as is required
You can help us by:
- letting us know when you change address or name
- telling us if any of the information we hold about you is wrong
- allowing us to share as much information about you as we need to
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, personal data is defined as data that identifies a living person and/or includes any expression of opinion about that person.
It covers basic details such as name, address, telephone number, and date of birth, or notes and comments made about a person, and information held about that person in files.
Sensitive personal data
Certain information is classified as sensitive personal data, for example:
- racial or ethnic origin
- religious beliefs
- physical or mental health or condition
- sexual orientation
- criminal offences, including alleged offences
Consent must usually be given for us to hold this information. When we are ask you for sensitive personal data, we will always try and tell you why and how the information will be used.
Why we collect and store personal data
For some of our services we need your data so we can get in touch with you, or provide the service. We always try to make sure the information we collect is correct and isn't an invasion of your privacy.
When we don't directly provide the service, we may need to pass your personal data to the people who do provide the service. They must keep your details safe and secure, and use them only to fulfil your request. We will usually only pass your sensitive personal data onto a third party once we have your permission, unless we are legally required to do so.
How long we keep your information
In some instances the law sets the length of time information has to be kept. In most cases, however, we use our discretion to make sure we don't keep records for longer than we need to.
We will always try to keep your personal data secure, whether it is held on paper or electronically. Our privacy statement is our commitment to you when you access our services online.
Using your personal data
We will use the information you provide:
- for the provision of council services
- for regulatory, licensing and enforcement functions
- for all financial transactions, including payments, grants and benefits
- to ask your opinion on our products and services, where you have given us permission
- to make sure we meet our legal obligations, including those related to diversity and equal opportunity
Sharing personal data
We may share some of your personal information between our services so we can provide appropriate, timely and effective services, and services that may be beneficial to you.
This is so we can keep our information on you as up-to-date as possible and improve our service to you. For example, if you tell the housing team that you have moved, they will pass this information on to other parts of the council, such as the council tax team.
We make sure staff can only access the information they need to do their job. In addition, we have a duty to protect the public funds we administer and so may use the information we hold to prevent and detect fraud.
We do have specific data sharing agreements in place with local agencies and sometimes the law requires that we may have to pass your details on to a third party.
We won't sell or give your information to any third party for marketing purposes unless we have your permission.
How we accept your data
Sometimes someone may call us on your behalf. We will accept calls in good faith and record information we are told about on your record. If we need to send a staff member out to investigate or fix anything, we will.
Sometimes we find the calls were a hoax, or misleading. We do not wish to put bureaucracy in the way of services, however, by refusing to act in good faith – especially in an emergency.
Although we may take calls about you or your account, we will not talk about you or your account with anyone but you unless you have given us permission to do so.
You should contact us immediately if you suspect someone unauthorised has called us and put incorrect information on your record.