Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme privacy notice

As billing authority for the Lancaster District, Lancaster City Council collects, processes and stores personal information about you in order to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme (HB/CTRS). We also use the data in our databases for other purposes, including the recovery of overpayments and the prevention and detection of fraud.

We are committed to protecting your privacy, and this notice is made in light of the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 in order to advise you how we use your personal information.

When do we collect personal information?

We collect information from you when you fill in one of our forms, or contact us about your property, either in writing, over the phone or face-to-face in one of our customer contact centres.

We may sometimes obtain information about you from third parties (including landlords, DWP and HMRC) where this is necessary in order to administer HB and CTS.  

What personal information do we collect?

We collect personal, financial and sensitive data about you, including your name, address, nationality, NINO, date of birth, bank details, financial information, income, rent costs, information about any disabilities and details about your household makeup and circumstances including your dependent children and anyone else who lives with you.

How do we use your personal information?

We use your personal information in order to administer HB and CTRS.  The processing of your information is necessary under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, Social Security Administration Act 1992, Council Tax Reduction Scheme (prescribed requirements) (England) regulations 2012 and Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Lancaster) regulations 2018. 

We may also share your information with other council services in order to ensure our records are accurate and up-to-date, to improve the standard of the services we deliver, and to perform any of our statutory duties.

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer, and may use your information for the prevention and detection of crime (including fraud and money laundering) and the matching of HB and CTRS data with Electoral Registration records, DWP and HMRC.

How do we protect your personal information?

Your personal data will be treated with the strictest confidence, and only accessible to those who need to access it for the above purposes. We have a data protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal information, and also utilise appropriate technical safeguards to keep your information secure.

We will only keep your information for as long as it is required by us or other regulatory bodies in order to comply with legal and regulatory requirements or for other operational reasons. In most cases this will be a minimum of six years, and we are required to keep some data indefinitely.

Do we share your information with anyone else?

If you owe us money, we will always try to contact you first to make an informal arrangement to pay off any debt. However, where this is unsuccessful, or if you have a history of late payments, we may pass your information onto debt collection agencies to recover any money owed.

The council sometimes works with third-parties to deliver certain services or carry out statutory functions on our behalf. Where this is the case, we may share your personal information with these third-parties. We will always ensure that your information is kept secure, only used for these purposes and not disclosed further unless required by law.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. This data may then be passed on to other public bodies to investigate any matches. For more information see National Fraud Initiative.

We will not share your information with any other organisations unless required to do so by law.

Your rights

You have the right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you, and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected. For information about how to exercise these rights, please contact info@lancaster.gov.uk.

We aim to resolve any enquiries or concerns about the processing of your personal data to your satisfaction, however if you are not happy with the way we have handled your personal data, you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Information about the ICO, your rights, and how to lodge a complaint

Notices and revisions

If you have any queries about this notice, you can contact us at info@lancaster.gov.uk.

We reserve the right to amend this privacy notice at any time. However, we take your privacy very seriously and will never change our policies or practices to make them less protective of your personal information. If we do make any changes to this policy, we will post the current version to our website at this address.

Last updated: 07 June 2018