When you contact us, we collect personal information about you so we can help you with your debts.
We get your information:
- from your local Citizens Advice - with your permission
- by asking you for more information directly by post or over the phone
If you call us, we'll record the conversation for training and monitoring purposes.
If you're a Scottish client, you might be referred to us from National Debtline. This means they will collect all your personal information and pass it on to us.
We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to collect your information under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation. We’ll always ask your permission before representing you or sharing your information.
We’ll always ask for your permission to store information about your:
trade union membership
You can withdraw your permission at any time - known legally as withdrawing consent. Tell us what personal information you don't want us to store and we'll delete it.
What information we ask for
We only record and use information that will help us set up your debt management plan. This will include your:
- name and date of birth
- contact details
- debts, creditors and reference numbers
- income and expenditure
- state of health
- family circumstances
We'll also need to collect proof of identity and proof of income.
If you decide to make direct debit payments to your creditors we'll also ask for information about your bank account - including the bank name, account name, account number and sort code.
If you've decided to make repayments to your creditors we'll collect information about the repayments you make, including any missed payments and the reason for these. We'll use this information to provide you with a statement every 6 months of your plan.
How we use your information
The main reason we need your information is to work out which debt solutions or plans are best for you.
We'll also access your information regularly in order to review your plan - we'll contact you when we do this to check if your circumstances or details have changed.
We'll only access your information for other reasons if we really need to - for example:
- for training and quality purposes
- to investigate complaints
- to help us improve our services
We might use your contact details to get in touch about your experience of our service or ask you to take part in surveys or research - we'll only do this if you give us permission.
We use some information to create statistics about who we're helping and what issues they face. This information is always anonymised - you can't be identified.
We share a report each month with our funder, NPower. This includes anonymised statistics on the numbers of clients we refer for IVAs or debt management plans, the value of debts and number clients who are at risk of fuel poverty.
When we share your information
Sometimes we share your personal information with other organisations - we only do this to help you deal with your debts, or to monitor the quality of our services. We'll get your permission before doing this.
Organisations we share your data with must store and use it in line with data protection law - they can't pass it on or sell it without your permission.
Who we share your information with
We'll share your information with your creditors so we can make offers of repayment or requests for a moratorium.
If you've decided to make payments to your creditors we'll share your information with Stepchange so they can make payments to your creditors on your behalf.
If you've chosen an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) we'll send your information as a referral to your chosen provider - either Aperture, Payplan or Stepchange Voluntary Arrangements, so that they can process your application.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) might ask us to share a randomised sample of client cases which are being dealt with by the Citizens Advice Debt Management Service. This is to make sure the advice and service you get is lawful and meets the FCA rules and regulations.
We might choose to use your information for research purposes on the basis of 'legitimate interest'. This means it will help us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation - for example, to create case studies and statistics for our national research. If we use it in this way, your personal details will be anonymised.
Storing your information
Your information is stored securely on our internal systems. All volunteers and staff who access your data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.
Citizens Advice and Stepchange Debt Charity keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.
Our case management systems are hosted within the European Economic Area (EEA) and wherever possible, the UK.
If you phone us, calls will be recorded by our trusted partner, KCOM. They'll be deleted after 6 months.
Contact us about your information
You can contact us at any time and ask us:
- what information we've stored about you
- to change or update your details
- to delete your information
Send us a message at email@example.com.
If you want to make a complaint
If you're not happy with how we've handled your data, you can make a complaint through our website.