Revenue and Benefits Privacy Information
How we look after your personal information and what we use it for.
We use the personal information you give us to process your Council Tax or Business Rate account, claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, along with recovering any unpaid debts to the Council.
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 use computer databases to process claims and store most of your information. They are held securely in a password-protected environment. Only authorised officers have access to the databases.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
The Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (D&FRS) has a duty to provide fire safety and prevention advice to residents of the borough. To enable that, we’ve agreed to provide them with the name and address of recipients of a single person discount. They will compare this with their data to identify those most likely to benefit from fire safety and prevention advice. If you do not wish your name and address to be shared with the D&WFRS, please let us know.
How long we keep your personal information
We keep records and documentation for six years after your account has closed or ended. We have to keep some of your information for set periods to comply with the law.
In other cases we keep it for the length of time that we need to meet future business needs. We do not keep information for any longer than is necessary to meet the purposes for which it was collected.
Full Privacy Notice – Revenue & Benefits
The Revenue & Benefits service maintains the 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 and Council Tax Support for those residents who are struggling financially because they have a low income, are unemployed or in care
This page explains how your information will be held about you 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.
This page contains information about:
- Who we are
- Why we collect your personal information
- The legal basis for using your information
- Who we may share your information with
- How you can access the information we hold about you
- How long we keep information about you
- Further information and Data Protection Officer
Who we are
BCP Council will be the Data Controller for the personal information you provide to us. 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, BCP Council will use your information to provide you with our services.
Why we collect 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, such as 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 and/or Discretionary Hardship award
- Recovering overpaid Housing Benefit
- Recovering other monies owed to the Council
- Administering the Test and Trace Support payment
- Processing Business Grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with Government requirements.
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 keep your details anonymous or use a fake name.
We don’t sell your personal information to anyone else.
The legal basis for using 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
- To enable us to manage the services we provide
- To train and manage our workers who deliver those services
- To investigate any worries or complaints you may have about our goods or services
- To check the quality of our goods and services
- To 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 Local Government Finance Act 1992 (and subsequent amendments), Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations 2006, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2001, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006, Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001, Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Order 1997, 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, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020.
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:-
- Sexuality or sexual heath
- Religious or spiritual or philosophical beliefs
- 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.
Who we may 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.
As BCP 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 Credit Reference Agencies 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
- Bins and Recycling
- Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Business Services
- Children and Education
- Community and Living
- Council and Democratic
- Environment and Waste
- Health and Social Care
- Homes and Housing
- Leisure and Culture
- Planning and Buildings
- Transport and Streets
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
- Enforcement 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.
Accessing the information we hold about you
You have the right to request, in writing, details of the information that is held about you and also the right to access a copy of the information. This may be by the Council providing copies of documents or by inviting you to view the records at one of its offices, if appropriate. Please see our webpage for further information about how to make a subject access request.
BCP Council will not charge a fee to access your information. Sometimes there may be information that we are not allowed to show you, such as
- legal information or advice
- crime prevention and detection records
- information that we believe may be harmful to you and your well-being
- details about or provided by other people – this is called third party information (For example, information from the Police or Department for Work and Pensions)
You may also ask us to
- stop processing your information if this causes or might cause damage or distress
- stop processing your information for direct marketing
- make decisions about you using your information by automated means (For example, using computers to decide on an entitlement)
- amend any of your data which you feel is inaccurate. You can also ask for information to be blocked, erased or destroyed.
- transfer your information electronically to another service provider.
- consider a claim for compensation for any damages caused by a breach of the Data Protection regulations.
If you give consent for us to use your information, you may withdraw this at any time. However, this may affect our ability to continue to provide you with a service.
How long we keep information about you
We will retain this information for six years after your account has closed or ended, as stated in our retention schedule and in accordance with HMRC and Government Department rules.
If you have a concern about how we are using your information, we would ask you to contact us in the first instance using the address below:
For Bournemouth residents
Revenues and BenefitsBCP CouncilTown HallSt Stephens RoadBournemouthBH2 6DY
For Christchurch & Poole residents
Revenues and BenefitsStour Valley and Poole PartnershipPO Box 722PooleBH15 2YE
Data Protection Officer
If you are not satisfied with a response to your concerns from the Service, our Data Protection Officer Vivian Bateman, can review any issues regarding Information Rights legislation if necessary. The Data Protection Officer can be contacted at the address below:
Data Protection OfficerBCP Council Information Governance TeamBCP CouncilTown HallBournemouthBH2 6DY
For further information about Information Rights legislation, please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.org.uk or by telephone 0303 1231113