Privacy Notices - Revenues and benefits Privacy Notice

Introduction

The Revenue & Benefits service maintains Council Tax and Business Rate accounts, applying any discounts and reliefs, along with recovering any unpaid debts to the Council. We also administer any claims for Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payment and Council Tax Support for those residents who are struggling financially because they have a low income or are unemployed.

This page explains how your information will be held and processed by the Revenue & Benefits service. You can also find out about the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018 and your rights on our website.

What is a Privacy Notice?

A Privacy Notice is a statement issued by an organisation, which explains how personal data about individuals is collected, used and shared.

Who is collecting and using your personal data?

Swindon Borough Council will be the Data Controller for the personal information you provide to them.
 

Your personal data – what is it?

Personal information can be anything that identifies and relates to a living person. This could be your name and contact details. As the Data Controller, Swindon Borough Council will use your information to administer your account and provide you with our services.

 

What personal data do we collect?

We will collect enough personal information in order to provide you with our services, although we have a legal requirement to obtain this information and a legal requirement to share it with certain Government bodies for fraud avoidance, statistical analysis or financial management.

We will use the personal information you give us to process your Council Tax or Business Rate account, claim for Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments and/or Council Tax Support, along with recovering any unpaid debts to the Council.
 

How do we process your personal data?

We use computer databases to process and store most of your information. They are held securely in an appropriately secure environment. Only authorised officers have access to the databases.

Why do we need your personal information?

We will collect enough personal information in order to provide you with our services, for the following purposes:

  • Creating and maintaining a Council Tax or Business Rates account, including applying discounts, disregards, reliefs and exemptions
  • Recovering outstanding Council Tax or Business Rates debts
  • Processing a claim for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Recovering overpaid Housing Benefit
  • Recovering other monies owed to the Council.

We are not permitted to collect information we do not need or will not use. This page covers information you have provided direct to the Council and information which has been shared with us by other organisations.

If we don’t need your personal information, we will either keep your details anonymous, if we already have it for another service or we won’t ask you for it. If we use your personal information for research or analysis, we will always ensure it is appropriately anonymised.

We don’t sell your personal information to anyone else.
 

How the law allows us to use your information?

According to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, we must have a reason to collect and use your information.

This will be to:

  • deliver services and support you
  • enable us to manage the services we provide
  • train and manage our workers who deliver those services
  • investigate any worries or complaints you may have about our goods or services
  • check the quality of our goods and services
  • help with research and planning of new services

There are a number of legal reasons why we need to collect and use your personal information.

For this service:

Legal obligation: It is required by law under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (Business Rates) & 1992 (Council Tax) and subsequent amendments. Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2012, Welfare Reform Act 2007 & 2012, Localism Act 2011, Taking Control of Goods Act 2013, Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Vital interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.

Public task: the processing is necessary for us to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

Our service also needs to use sensitive personal data also called “special category data” which requires more protection to keep it safe. This is often information you would not want to be widely known and is very personal to you.

It includes:

  • Age
  • Gender, sexuality or sexual heath
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical or mental health
  • Criminal history

We will take extra care of this data. The legal reason for us to collect and use this personal information is:

  • It is necessary to perform our statutory duties or to take reasonable adjustments, particularly in relation to debt recovery
     
Who do we share your information with?

We use a range of organisations to either store personal information or to help deliver our services to you. Sometimes we have a legal duty to provide your personal information to other organisations, for example the Court Service or HMRC.

Computerised data matching allows us to identify claims and payments that may be fraudulent. A match means that there is an inconsistency between the two sets of records that needs investigating. The inconsistency may be because of fraud, error or another explanation, We cannot decide which until we investigate.

The Council has a duty to protect the public funds it administers, we may use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud.

Where we investigate inconsistencies and allegations of fraud from other sources, we may use other organisations to data match to ensure our records are accurate. This enables potentially fraudulent claims to be identified.

Where we have a statutory requirement to do so, we may share your personal information with these other Council departments:

  • Benefits and Support
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Children and Education
  • Electoral Services
  • Environment and Waste
  • Adult Social Care & Public Health
  • Housing Services
  • Parking Services
  • Planning and Highways
  • Internal Audit

We may also share your personal information with these organisations:

  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • The Cabinet Office (NFI – National Fraud Initiative)
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Valuation Office Agency
  • Her Majesty’s Tribunal Service
  • Office of National Statistics
  • Local Government Ombudsman
  • Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service – subsets of the Single Person Discount dataset
  • Enforcement and Tracing Agencies
  • Credit Reference Agencies
  • External Auditors
  • Other Local Authorities

Your information will not be disclosed to any other organisations, except where we are required and allowed to by law.
We may seek your consent if we are able to offer additional services which we believe are of benefit to you. This will be clearly communicated to you. We will only share your details with these organisations if we have your consent. We will not share your information otherwise.

 

How do we protect your information?

We will do what we can to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we will only make them available to those who have a right to see them.

Examples of our security include:

  • encryption, meaning that information is hidden so that it cannot be read without special knowledge (such as a password). The hidden information is said to then be 'encrypted'.
  • pseudonymisation, meaning that we will use a different name so we can hide parts of your personal information from view
  • controlling access to systems and networks allows us to stop people who are not allowed to view your personal information from getting access to it
  • training for our staff allows us to make them aware of how to handle information and how and when to report when something goes wrong
  • regular testing of our technology and ways of working including keeping up to date on the latest security updates (commonly called patches).
How long do we keep your personal information?

We will retain this information for six years after your account has closed or ended and no payments or balances remain outstanding, as stated in our retention schedule and in accordance with HMRC and Government Department rules.

What you can do with your information?

Under the Data Protection Act you can request the following:

  • You can ask for access to the information we hold on you
  • You can ask to change information you think is inaccurate
  • You can ask to delete information in some circumstances
  • You can ask us to limit what we use your personal data for

Should you wish to exercise any of the above, you should contact the Data Protection Officer.
 

Your right to complain

In the event that you wish to complain about the way that your personal data has been handled by Swindon Borough Council, you should write to the Data Protection Officer and clearly outline your case. Your complaint will then be investigated in accordance with our customer complaint procedure.

If you remain dissatisfied with the way your personal data has been handled, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ICO.org.uk. You may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office whose contact details are below:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Email: casework@ico.org.uk

This website also contains information on data protection and your rights and remedies.
 

What if you do not provide personal data?

If you do not provide the all the data requested you may be subject to a statutory fine or we may not be able to process an application for assistance such as Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments or Council Tax/ Business Rate Reliefs or Discounts.

How will we ensure compliance?

A yearly audit will take place on personal data to ensure that we remain legally compliant in accordance with current data protection legislation.

Main privacy notice

You are viewing the Privacy Notice for Revenue and Benefits. 

Read the main Privacy Notice