Citizens Advice South Somerset is a member of the National Citizens Advice network and we are a Joint Data Controller with National Citizens Advice for all client information held on the system provided by National Citizens Advice.
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 handle and store your personal information in line with the law – including the General Data Protection Regulation. You can check our main Citizens Advice policy for how we handle most of your personal information.
Citizens Advice South Somerset is registered with the Information Commission. Our Registration Number is: Z6631380
We treat the information you give us as confidential.
How Citizens Advice South Somerset Collect Your Data
In addition to our data processing activities as part of the National Citizens Advice network we at Citizens Advice South Somerset also handle your information locally. We hold paper and electronic data within our offices and our private IT and phone systems.
We always let you decide what you are comfortable to tell us, explain why we need your information and keep it confidential. When we keep something you tell us we:
- Only access that information when we have good reason to do so
- Only share what is necessary and relevant
- Never sell your information to commercial organisations
How Citizens Advice South Somerset Uses Your Information
First and foremost your information will be used to provide you with advice and with your permission to negotiate on your behalf or help you to apply for grants/support.
We also use some information in a way that does not directly identify you to provide statistical reports on our service or to raise awareness of how different problems are affecting society.
Where you have given us your permission and contact details, we, or in some instances, a trusted research partner, may contact you to ask you for feedback on the service you received from Citizens Advice. We ensure that all our staff, trusted partners and contractors are GDPR compliant and work to rules that are designed to protect you privacy.
We will never sell your data to a third party without your consent.
Do I Have To Give Consent For You To Use Information About Me?
When we record and use your personal information we do so in a way that is lawful in accordance with the GDPR and Data Protection Legislation.
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 purposes of providing you with advice and carrying out research.
When we ask for more private information about you, for example any health conditions you have, we will need to get your consent. This is because information about your health, ethnicity and some other personal circumstances are treated in a special way by the law. You can always withdraw this consent and request we remove what you told us.
We seek your consent (permission) to collect and process information about you. We do this by asking for your permission when we are speaking to you on the phone or by asking you to give your signed consent or email consent when we are working with you face to face or via the email advice service.
How Does Citizens Advice South Somerset Store Your Information?
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.
We may also make written notes, take copies of your correspondence, download copies of your case or send emails containing your information. We will make sure any information is stored securely and only accessed when there is a good reason to do so.
We store information securely within our offices at Petters House, Petters Way Yeovil. We may temporarily store data in webforms via our website for clients using the Email advice service.
How Long Is Your Record Stored
We keep records for 6 years. We may keep records for 16 years if the advice given is of a specific nature.
Working On Your Behalf – Why We Might Share Your Information & Who With
We will not generally 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 information without permission we will always let you know upfront.
When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with a third party.
How Citizens Advice South Somerset May Share Your Information
We will ask for your permission (third party consent) before we share your information with other agencies and we will only share your information where it is necessary to do so.
We share information in order to progress your advice in a number of ways. The agencies that we share your information with will vary depending on your circumstances and the services we are providing to you. The agencies that we may include are as follows:
- Debt advice and casework; your creditors, your housing provider, your energy suppliers, DWP, South Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, Abri Housing Group, Wessex Water, Court Services
- Welfare benefits advice and casework; Local Assistance Scheme Grants (Somerset County Council), Macmillan Grants, DWP local trust funds
- Referrals; we may be assisting you by making a referral to Avon and Bristol Law Centre, South Somerset Food Bank or a specialist support agency.
We use encrypted emails and password protections wherever possible. Very occasionally we may seek your permission to send an unencrypted email if there is an emergency and if it would be detrimental not to act.
Automated Decision Making
Automated decision making takes place when an electric system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention. We will not use any such technology without your consent and without putting into place appropriate measures to safeguard your rights.
If You Have Questions About How Your Information Is Used
You can contact us and:
- Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
- Request correction of personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
- Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us to continue to process it. You have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
- Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.
- Request restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reasons for processing it.
- Request transfer of your personal information to another party.
If you have any questions you can contact us on 01935 847 688
If you are not happy with the way we have used your information you can contact us on: 01935 847 688.
You can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office to raise a concern about how we have used your information. Our ICO registration is Z6631380