Benefits privacy notice

Question:
Benefits privacy notice
Answer:

Data controller and purpose

This privacy notice applies to you and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (“the council”). The council takes the privacy of your information very seriously.

This privacy notice applies to the council’s use of the data provided by you or collected by the council in relation to your claim for Benefits and use of our service.

It is important that you understand that sometimes we will need to share your data with other organisations and agencies where necessary.

The information you provide to us as part of your claim for benefit will be used by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Benefit Service, to process:

  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax reduction/benefit
  • Council tax hardship discounts
  • Free school meals
  • School clothing grant
  • Discretionary housing payments
  • Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf Trust applications.

We process your data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and if you have any concerns the council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Condition for processing personal data

The council has a statutory duty to process your personal data in relation to your claim for benefit. The type of information we collect is:

  • personal, family and household details,
  • ID and supporting evidence, including NINO
  • accommodation details
  • financial details including income and savings
  • employment and education details
  • contact details and electronic means of communication details.

We have a responsibility to process this information under the provisions of:

  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • The Social Security Contributions & Benefits Act 1992
  • The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006.

 Article 6 of GDPR allows for processing this data.

Article 6 DPR Lawfulness of processing

  1. Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:
    (a) the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes
    (b) Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject
    (c) processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person
    (d) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

Any delay in you providing the information requested may result in a delay in providing appropriate services.

In some circumstances, to help in processing your claim the council will also collect your contact details such as telephone numbers and email address. This is used for the collection and verification of information.

How long do we keep your information?

We will only hold your information for as long as is required by law and to provide you with the necessary services. This is likely to be for 7 years after the case is closed.

For further details, you can view our retention policy.

We may also anonymise some personal data you provide to us to ensure that you cannot be identified and use this for statistical analysis of data to allow the council to effectively target and plan the provision of services.

Information sharing

Your personal information may be shared with internal departments or with external partners and agencies involved in delivering services on our behalf. As stated above this will include:

  • HMRC
  • Valuation Office Agency
  • Organisation identifying and preventing fraud
  • Council Tax department
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Schools and colleges and the Student Loan Company
  • electoral registration
  • your landlord (although we will seek your explicit permission to do this)
  • other local authorities.

For certain activities we may also use intermediaries to help in the delivery of our service to you.

The council has a duty to protect public funds and may use personal information and data-matching techniques to detect and prevent fraud, and ensure public money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost-effective way.

Information may be shared with internal services and external bodies like the Audit Commission, Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Police. This activity is carried out under Article 9(2)(b) of the GDPR, under social protection law.

We have a duty to improve the health of the population we serve. To help with this, we use data and information from a range of sources including hospitals to understand more about the nature and causes of disease and ill-health in the area.

This data would normally be anonymised and never used to make decisions on a specific individual or family.

Your rights

We process your data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and if you have any concerns the council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted on DPO@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

If you are unsatisfied with our response you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). You can report a concern by visiting the ICO website.