Data Protection and Privacy
Citizens Advice Westminster complies with the Data Protection Act 2018 (the “Act”). For the purposes of the Act, Citizens Advice Westminster is the Data Controller.
Citizens Advice Westminster is committed to safeguarding your privacy, while providing a high quality of service. Citizens Advice Westminster will treat your personal information as confidential and your details will not be given or sold to anyone.
We will use the information collected online to help us understand more about how our site is used by visitors, and to develop and enhance our services to you.
When we handle and store our clients’ personal information we follow the law, including the Data Protection Act 1998.
When we ask you for personal information we will:
- explain why we need it
- only ask for what we need
- treat it as confidential
When we record and use your personal information we will:
- only access it when we have a valid reason to do so
- only share what is necessary and relevant
- protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
- not sell it to commercial organisations
When we share your personal information with another organisation we will:
- ensure that this is only done with your consent, or if we’re required to do so by law
- follow the ICO Data Sharing Code of Practice to ensure the other organisation treats your information with the same level of care that we do
All staff and volunteers who handle personal information are given training and we take it very seriously if someone fails to use or protect it properly.
If you’re unhappy with how we record and use your information you should follow our complaints procedure. Full details of the procedure are available on request.
Please let us know as soon as possible if anything relating to your contact details or issue changes, which may affect the information we hold.
Giving your consent:
How we use your personal information:
Data controller: Citizens Advice Westminster, The Stowe Centre, 258 Harrow Road, London W2 5ES. We collect and use information about you to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives.
We always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us, explain why we need your information and keep it confidential. When we keep something you tell us, we:
- only access it when we have a good reason
- only share what is necessary and relevant
- don’t sell it to commercial organisations
If you get advice in person, we might be asked to share your name, contact details and the date of your visit with NHS Test and Trace. This is to help them track cases of coronavirus. You can opt out using this form, or by asking your office at any time.
How will you use my data?
First and foremost your information will be used to provide you with advice. We also use information in a way that doesn’t directly identify you, to understand how different problems are affecting society and to take action to tackle these problems. As this is used for research it is kept separate from your case.
Do I have to give my consent for you to use information about me?
You can decide exactly what information you are happy to tell us. We’ll use the information because we have a ‘legitimate interest’ to do so for the purpose of providing you with advice and carrying out research. When we ask for more sensitive personal information about you, like any health conditions or your ethnicity, we’ll need your consent because this information is treated as ‘special category data.’ You can always withdraw your consent and request we remove what you told us.
Where will you store my data?
The record of your case will be stored securely in an electronic case management system used jointly by all of the Citizens Advice service. We are responsible for keeping it safe. As part of solving your problem, we might make written notes, download copies of your case or send e-mails containing your information. We will make sure any information is stored securely and only accessed when there’s a good reason by staff and volunteers by the Citizens Advice service.
How long will you keep my data?
We keep your case records for 6 years, before disposing of it securely. We may keep certain case records for 16 years if the advice given could have serious consequences if it was not stored for a longer period.
Why might you share my personal information? Who might you share it with?
We will generally not share information without your permission, unless required to do so by law or in some very limited situations, like to protect you or someone else from serious harm. If a particular service involves sharing your data without your permission, we will always let you know upfront that it isn’t confidential. In most cases we will ask your consent to share your data for the following reasons:
- To help progress your enquiry we may need to ask questions or negotiate with other agencies connected with your case.
- Sometimes we may suggest that we refer you to another agency for advice because they will be better able to help you with your problem.
- If you’ve given us permission to share your details with a Funder of our service, we may share your personal data with them so they can monitor the effectiveness of the service we provide you. Below is an outline showing what data we share with the Funder of our service:
- Kensington & Chelsea Social Council: Confirmation of assessment / appointment session; Advice given; and Client outcome / feedback
- Debt Free Advice / Money Advice and Pensions Service: If you have a money advice problem and have given your permission for us to share your details for feedback and quality assurance purposes, they may review your casefile to give feedback to the adviser.
- The Citizens Advice service would like to contact you to find out if you were satisfied with the service you received or for your comments about your experience of our service. The Citizens Advice service may use a trusted research organisation to help them to do that. For this we need to share your contact details.
What data protection rights do I have?
From 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) came into force which give you further rights: to request we change any incorrect or incomplete data; to request we delete or stop processing your data; to obtain a copy of your data on request (you can do this by making a subject access request, which in most cases will be free of charge). If you believe we have not complied with your data protection rights you can complain to the Information Commissioner.
Citizens Advice Westminster is fully committed to compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).
Complaints handling procedure Citizens Advice Westminster has a complaints handling procedure. Full details of the procedure are available on request. If you wish to make a complaint, please see our “Feedback” section on our website.
Email security and website forms
When you provide Citizens Advice Westminster with personal information, for example, when using the feedback form or referral form, we take steps to ensure that your information is processed securely.
Citizens Advice Westminster makes every effort to ensure the security and integrity of emails on our systems. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information after we’ve received it, Citizens Advice Westminster cannot ensure or guarantee the security of information when it is being transmitted.
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What do cookies do?
Cookies help to make the interaction between users and websites faster and easier. For example, they can remember your preferences for selected text resizing style, contrasts and even language selection. What cookies don’t do is store any personal or confidential information about you.
Are cookies safe?
Yes, cookies are harmless text files. They can’t look into your computer or read any personal information or other material on your hard drive. Cookies can’t carry viruses or install anything harmful on your computer.
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