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Household Support Fund - Privacy Notice

Who the Council is and what the Council does

The Council is a data controller under the Data Protection Legislation as the Council collects and processes personal information about you in order to provide services and meet their statutory and regulatory obligations.

This notice, in conjunction with our overarching Council Data Protection Policy explains why the Council asks for your personal information, how that information will be used and how you can access your records.

The aim is that the Household Support Fund should primarily be used to support households in the most need with food, energy and water bills.

Any questions regarding our privacy practices should be sent to:

Data Protection Officer (DPO)
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices, Witney, OX28 1NB
Email: data.protection@westoxon.gov.uk
Tel: 01993 861194

Why the Council needs your information and how the Council uses it

We will ask you for this personal information when you approach us for assistance. We gather and store information electronically through our online form, by telephone, letter, emails, and any other correspondence from you.

We also receive information from other council services and third-party organisations and companies to verify the information that you have given us. We sometimes hold information provided by third parties where this is relevant to your circumstances, for example from health professionals.

This may include:

  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • HMRC
  • Revenue and Benefits team at the Local Authority
  • County Council
  • Council Tax Records
  • Housing applications or homeless applications that are relevant to your current circumstances

We use the personal information collected to:

  • assess you and your household’s financial needs
  • verify the information that has been provided to us to confirm eligibility for the scheme
  • inform our decision about whether you can be given Household Support funding and how much you will be given
  • with your express permission, this data will be shared with Citizens Advice or other money advice services to provide you further assistance

The Council does not sell your personal information to anyone else.

What is the legal process for collecting and processing this data

We have a legal obligation to obtain this information to so we can allocate this funding,

  • UK GDPR Article 6(1)(c) - processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligation to which the Council is subject.
  • In some instances, where there is a risk of harm, a vital interest to obtain and hold this information in accordance with Articles 6(1)(d) and 9(2)(g) of UK General Data Protection Regulations.

What type of information is collected from you

If you are applying for the Household Support fund scheme, we will hold information about you because you are asking for financial assistance due to poverty. The types of information we collect and use will typically include:

  • contact details, including name, address, date of birth, NI numbers, telephone numbers and email address
  • information about your family, including personal details of the household that will make up your application
  • your address history 
  • financial income and debt details
  • savings information
  • debt and possession proceedings
  • medical conditions 
  • criminal convictions (where assessing your support needs if this is linked to your financial difficulties)
  • employment details
  • support needs
  • current landlord/mortgage provider details
  • proxy personal date (if you request for your application to be dealt with or made by a 3rd party)
  • any other relevant information to carry out our assessment

We have a legal obligation to obtain this information to so we can allocate this funding, and, in some instances, where there is a risk of harm, a vital interest to obtain and hold this information in accordance with Articles 6(1)(d) and 9(2)(g) of UK General Data Protection Regulations.

You may also be asked for your religion, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.  You do not have to give us this information unless it directly affects your current financial situation or circumstances and we need it to complete the assessment. You will not be asked for this information if it is not relevant to your financial position.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

Our service shares personal information with other Council Services and trusted partner organisations who have a mutual interest in preventing homeless. We do this for the purposes listed above. These organisations may include but are not limited to other Local Authority services:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax
  • Social Services
  • Education 
  • Community Safety
  • Legal Services

Third party organisations and government agencies:

  • The Department of Work and Pensions
  • Health Authorities
  • The Police
  • Probation Services 
  • HMRC

Other:

  • Letting Agents
  • Mortgage companies
  • Landlords
  • Support providers such as domestic abuse services, substance misuse, outreach teams, money advice, young person support services and family enabling services

We will not disclose any personal information to any other third parties unless required to do so by law or where it is appropriate to support our duty to protect public funds and / or detect and prevent fraud or other criminal activity or safeguarding requirements.

We will not share your information with third parties for commercial or marketing purposes.

How long the Council keeps your information (retention period)

We will only retain your personal information for as long as we are required to do so by law and the purpose, we collected it for. The retention period is either dictated by law or by our discretion. Once your data is no longer needed it will be securely and confidentially destroyed.

Your information will be kept for 7 years from the date of your last contact with the service and will then be deleted.

How the Council protects your Information

Your data is stored securely on our systems and accessed only by authorised officers using their own username and password created in line with pre-defined user credentials. Personal data is also held in electronic files on the council’s network drives. These are only accessible through personal logon credentials and access privileges to specific drives. Access to our council sites require a personal electronic pass to access staff only areas. The Council has strict procedures for the way this is done. Any and all information about you is treated as confidential and with respect. There are also clear rules and guidance about storing, recording and sharing information which staff receive training on.

The Council will not transfer your personal data outside the EU without your consent.

The Council have implemented generally accepted standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personal data from loss, misuse, or unauthorised alteration or destruction.  

Please note however that where you are transmitting information to us over the internet this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure.  

If you use your credit or debit card to make payments, the Council passes your card details securely to our payment processing partner as part of the payment process. The Council does this in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Security Standard, and doesn’t store the details on its website. The information you give to the Council when using our online payment system will only be used for the recording of your payment.

The Council will notify you promptly in the event of any breach of your personal data which might expose you to serious risk.

Your rights

You have the following rights under the Data Protection Legislations:

  • To access your personal data
  • To be provided with information about how your personal data is processed
  • To have your personal data corrected
  • To have your personal data erased in certain circumstances
  • To object to or restrict how your personal data is processed
  • To have your personal data transferred to yourself or to another business in certain circumstances
  • To be told if the Council have made a mistake whilst processing your data and the Council will self-report breaches to the Commissioner.

How you can access, update or correct your information

The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request'.

If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection Officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.

In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. The Council is working to make our record keeping more efficient. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information the Council holds is inaccurate or out of date, please email us or write to us at:

Community Wellbeing
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices
Witney, OX28 1NB
Email: community.wellbeing@westoxon.gov.uk

Further information

If you would like to know more about how the Council uses your information, or if for any reason you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in this privacy notice, please contact the Data Protection Officer at data.protection@westoxon.gov.uk

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner: https://ico.org.uk

The Council reserve the right to update this privacy notice from time to time by publishing a new version on our the website.