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Council Housing Privacy Notice

Lancaster City Council’s council housing department is a registered provider of social housing regulated by Homes England. We are responsible for housing and tenancy management and leasehold management, including management of repairs and maintenance.

As a tenant or leaseholder, we collect, process and store personal information about you in order to carry out our functions.

We are committed to protecting your privacy. This notice is made in light of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016, and gives advice on how we use your personal information.

When do we collect personal information?

We collect information from you when you apply for council housing, or become a tenant of Lancaster City Council. In addition, we collect information when you fill in one of our forms, or contact us about your tenancy or lease, either in writing, over the phone, face-to-face in one of our customer contact centres, or in response to a survey.

We may sometimes obtain information about you from third parties, including from:

  • The DWP, and other government departments
  • The council benefits office (regarding welfare benefit claims)
  • Prior landlords (when you apply for housing)
  • Private Registered Providers of Social Housing
  • Police, welfare or support agencies who are working with you (including Medical Establishments where necessary)
  • Councillors, MPs or other representatives acting on your behalf/instruction

We only do this when it is necessary to deliver a council housing related service to you.

What personal information do we collect?

The following information is required from you for legal reasons, and to enable us to manage your tenancy or leasehold:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • Contact details (phone, email, and correspondence address)
  • Details of anyone authorised to act on your behalf (if applicable)
  • Basic details (name and date of birth) of household residents
  • Banking details (if you pay your rent by direct debit)
  • Card details if you pay rent by card (these details are not stored)
  • Proof of housing eligibility (including photo ID, and income details)

The information we may collect from you includes:

  • Details of any disability, or vulnerability – in order to tailor our service to meet your needs.
  • Details of  other protected characteristics – in order to tailor our services to better meet the needs of your community.
  • Your financial information – in order to provide basic financial and budgeting advice, and to provide advice assistance should you fall into rent arrears.
  • Health information – in order to support a funding application for housing adaptations, or to address a housing need related to a medical condition.
  • Your utility bills – in order to assist you in reducing your bills and understanding the effectiveness of energy saving measures on your home.

You do not have to tell us this information, but we may not be able to provide you with the help you need without it. If you are in rent arrears it is in your best interests to tell us about any personal circumstances that may have contributed to this, as otherwise we may have no choice but to take action against you (such as debt recovery or eviction).

In relation to energy bills, as this information is requested in order that the Council can attempt to assist you to reduce your bills, provision of the same is entirely voluntary. Where we are using your data because you have consented to this, you have the right to withdraw consent at any time.

How do we use your personal information?

The service we provide is regulated by Homes England, and in accordance with the appropriate regulatory standards. The processing of your data is necessary for compliance with these regulations and the legal obligations contained in the Housing Act 1988.

We use your personal information in order to manage your tenancy or leasehold.

The processing activities can be summarised as:

  • Managing the Council's Housing Register and Applications
  • Managing your rent and/or service charge account
  • Managing the repair and maintenance of our properties
  • Ensuring tenancy conditions are complied with
  • Complying with relevant legislation and regulation
  • During audit and business improvement projects
  • Additional voluntary services (including, for example, organising community events and providing debt advice). For such voluntary services we will always notify you about the service being offered and obtain your consent to proceed.

We may use the personal information we collect to profile communities and our services. This is carried out by adding to it, with other publicly available information to create a richer set of information about communities and potentially valuable services.

It is in our legitimate interests to use your personally identifiable information for this purpose to understand how we are performing so we can meet our goals and objectives.

We may use your contact details to carry out market research and customer satisfaction surveys to help us to monitor our performance and to improve services to our customers.

There may also be a legal obligation for us to process the information or to demonstrate to regulatory bodies that we are fulfilling our obligations.

We conduct statistical analysis to help improve our service delivery, and to allow us to evaluate our performance against other benchmarks. When possible, statistical information is anonymised or pseudonymised.

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).

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 maximum of six years after the end of your tenancy or leasehold.

Our contractors are required to comply with the law to ensure data is managed appropriately and for specified purposes.

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 other third-parties to deliver certain services or carry out functions on our behalf. This could include, for example, Private Registered Providers of Social Housing, building contractors, ICT suppliers, or mail service providers. Where this is the case, we may share your personal information with these third-parties for any of the purposes detailed above. We will always ensure that your information is kept secure, only used for these purposes, and not disclosed further unless required by law.

We may need to share personal information with government departments and agencies, with our regulator and auditors, with utility companies or with other organisations and agencies where we are legally allowed to do so.

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 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. Where you have previously given us consent to use your information for a specific purpose, you can also withdraw this consent at any time.

For further information about your rights, how the we use your information, and how to get in touch if you have a query or complaint, please see our 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 this page.

Last updated: 16 September 2022

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