As billing authority for the Lancaster District, Lancaster City Council collects, processes and stores personal information about you in order to administer and enforce Council Tax. We also use the data in our Council Tax database for other purposes, including the performance of our statutory enforcement duties 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 General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and the Data Protection Act 2018 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 also obtain information about you from third parties (including previous owners, landlords and estate agents) and government agencies, including the DWP and HMRC where this is necessary in order to administer and enforce the collection of Council Tax.
What personal information do we collect?
We usually only collect basic personal data about you, including your name, address, and contact details. However, if you apply for a discount or exemption, or there is a dispute about the Council Tax liability for your property, we may need to collect additional information such as details of your household circumstances, or medical information.
If you choose to pay by Direct Debit, or we have obtained a liability order from the Court, we will also collect some financial information from you.
How do we use your personal information?
We use your personal information in order to administer and enforce Council Tax under the Local Government Finance Act 1992. The processing of your information is necessary for compliance with the legal obligations contained in this Act.
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, including enforcement 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 Council Tax data with Electoral Registration records.
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 third party suppliers who will assist us in making contact with you, enforcement agents or instructed solicitors to recover any money owed.
The legislation also allows us to share your information (where appropriate) with other billing authorities, the courts, the Valuation Office and the Valuation Tribunal Service, employers and the DWP.
We also pass your information to third party printing services in order to produce paper bills and letters, and external software suppliers for internal management reporting purposes. These suppliers only use your data on our instructions. They won’t use it for any other reason, will look after it in the same way, and will destroy any personal data they hold as soon as it is no longer required.
The Revenues and Benefits section is run as a shared service between Lancaster City Council and Preston City Council (PCC). As part of this arrangement, your data will be processed jointly by both Councils, and held on servers owned by PCC. We have an agreement in place with PCC to ensure that they protect your data to the same standards that we would.
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 on the National Fraud Initiative please see here.
We share information with the DWP and HMRC for the purpose of Council Tax collection.
We also carry out data matching exercises with credit reference agencies to ensure that discounts and exemptions are awarded correctly and to help us collect Council Tax arrears.
The council may share Council Tax data with a data analytics company to assist with recovery of arrears.
We will share your data with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to help with the production of statistics related to the economy, population and society and to help with the Census. Details of the information we will share and how it will be used can be viewed on the ONS website at https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/datastrategy/sourcesofdata.
We will not share your information with any other organisations unless required to do so by law.
Your rights and how to find out more
You have a number of rights under data protection law, including the right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you, and the right to object to our use of your information in certain circumstances.
For further information about your rights, how the council uses your information, and how to get in touch if you have a query or complaint, please see the council’s main privacy notice.
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 make any changes to this policy that significantly affect you, we will aim to notify you directly if we hold contact details for you. You will always be able to find the most up-to-date version of this policy on our website at this address: www.lancaster.gov.uk/privacy-ctax.
This Version: v2.3 July 2023
Last updated: 11 July 2023