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Privacy Notice - Council Tax and benefits

1. Introduction

This Privacy Notice explains types of personal information we may collect about you when you use South Tyneside Council's Revenues and Benefits on-line services, available at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/counciltaxandbenefits. It also explains how we will store and handle that information, as well as keep it safe and secure.

We will keep our privacy notice under regular review and will advise you of any updates on our website.

This Notice was last reviewed in December 2018.

2. Who we are

For the purposes of Data Protection legislation, South Tyneside Council is the Data Controller.

As Data Controller we must:

  • use your personal information fairly and lawfully
  • only use your personal information for the purposes it has been provided for, unless required to by law
  • only collect as much personal information as needed for the services you require
  • keep your personal information accurate and up to date
  • only keep your information for as long as necessary
  • use your personal information in accordance with your rights
  • keep your personal information safe and secure
  • not transfer your personal information outside the European Economic Area unless adequate levels of protection are in place

3. What type of personal information do we collect?

We may collect the following types of personal information:

  • Personal details such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses
  • Reference numbers and account details (for example, Council Tax account number, housing benefit/council tax support reference number)
  • National insurance numbers
  • Employment details
  • Details of benefits you claim
  • Financial and banking details
  • Personal details of other people who live in your household
  • Information about online Council tax and Benefits services you request from the Council

4. How do we collect personal information?

We collect your personal information when you register for an online account and/or request services at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/counciltaxandbenefits.

5. Why do we collect your personal information?

We collect your personal information so we can contact you about the requests you have made, to assess your request and to provide you with services that you have requested, for example a claim for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

We also use your information for the administration of Council Tax. This includes the billing, collection and recovery of Council Tax in accordance with:

  • The Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

6. Who might we share your personal information with?

In accordance with Data Protection Law, South Tyneside Council may share information with other Council Services or public organisations if required by Law to do so, including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue & Customs.

They may check information you have provided, or information about you that someone else has provided, with other information they hold.

We may also get information about you from other organisations, or give information to them to:

  • make sure the information is accurate;
  • prevent or detect crime; and
  • protect public funds

These other organisations include government departments, other local authorities and private organisations such as banks.

If you would like more information about how we use your data please refer to our privacy notice at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/privacynotice

7. How long will we keep your personal information?

We will only keep your personal information for as long as necessary. The Council is required to hold certain types of information for a statutory period.

At the end of the retention period, or the life of a particular record, it will be reviewed and deleted, unless there is any special reason for keeping it.

We currently keep data for Council taxpayers and Council Tax Support/Housing Benefit claimants back to the start of Council Tax in 1993. This is because there has yet to be a revaluation of the current valuation bands so it possible for an adjustment to be required back to 1993.

8. What is our legal basis for using your personal information?

To use your personal information there must be a lawful basis to do this, such as, through a contract, performing a public task or where there is a legal obligation. Most of the Council's services will be processed as a public task set out in Article 6 (1) (e) of the General Data Protection Regulation:

  • processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller

The GDPR sets a high standard for consent to use people's information. Consent requires a positive opt-in. Pre-ticked boxes or any other consent method by default is no longer allowed.

Whilst the majority of information you provide to us is a mandatory requirement for us to provide services to you, some of it is provided to us on a voluntary basis. In order to comply with data protection legislation, we will inform you whether you are required to provide certain information to us or if you have a choice about whether you need to provide the information and how your data is used. However, if you choose not to share your personal data with us in these circumstances, this may affect our ability to improve our services and our service offer to you as a customer.

If consent is the only legal basis used to process your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time. Consent can be withdrawn online, by email, telephone or face-to-face.

9. Correspondence

Email correspondence

If you have provided an email address, we may contact you by email you to:

  • verify your email address and create your online account
  • confirm that you have successfully created an account
  • confirm when you have successfully requested a service
  • ask you for further information about your requests
  • update you on the progress of your requests
  • help you to reset your password

Phone correspondence

If you have provided a phone number, we may contact you by phone to:

  • ask for further information about your requests
  • update you on the progress of your requests

Mail correspondence

If you have provided an address, we may contact you by mail to deliver the service that you have requested, for example, to send you something that you have requested in the post.

10. How do we keep your personal information secure?

We recognise the professional responsibility we have to safeguard the information of individuals. The security of your personal information is important to us and we follow a range of security policies and procedures to ensure that access to, and use of your information is controlled and appropriate.

Some example of our security measures include:

  • Controlling access to Council systems and networks preventing any unauthorised access to your personal information
  • Using encryption methods such as passwords so that only people with specific access rights can view it
  • Our staff are regularly trained in data protection to make them aware of their responsibilities when using personal information and how and when to report if something goes wrong
  • We regularly test our technology and working practices to keep up to date on the latest security update

11. Is your personal information used overseas?

The Council will not process your personal information relating to the on-line Council Tax and Benefits services outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

12. What are your rights?

Your individual rights are set out in law. Subject to some legal exemptions, you have the following rights:

  • Right to be informed
  • Right of access
  • Right to rectification
  • Right to erasure
  • Right to restrict processing
  • Right to data portability
  • Right to object
  • Right in related to automated decision making and profiling

13. Contact us

If you would like to exercise your rights in relation to your personal information, or you feel that something has gone wrong with your personal information, you can contact our Data Protection Officer (DPO) in either of the following ways:

By email: data.protection@southtyneside.gov.uk

By telephone: 0191 424 6539

In writing:

South Tyneside Council
Information Governance
Town Hall and Civic Offices
South Shields
NE33 2RL

If you feel that the Council has not handled your information correctly you can contact the Data Protection Officer at the above contact details or the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO is the Government's Independent Body responsible for overseeing data protection. In most cases the ICO will only review cases that have exhausted the Council's internal procedures.

The ICO's contact details are as follows: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF. More information can be found on the ICO's website at www.ico.org.uk

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