Citizens Advice and data protection
Our telephone and digital services are provided by local Citizens Advice across England and Wales. All local Citizens Advice have a complaints handling procedure. You can request a copy of the complaints leaflet to be emailed or posted to you from the local Citizens Advice that has dealt with your enquiry.
More on our complaints procedure.
Which local Citizens Advice is dealing with your debt enquiry via our digital services
When providing debt advice, each local Citizens Advice is independently authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If you enter into a web chat about debt issues, or request debt advice via email through our online enquiry form, you will be informed of the FCA firm reference number (FRN) of the local Citizens Advice dealing with your enquiry. You can use the FRN number provided to find out which local Citizens Advice is dealing with your enquiry via the FCA's FRN search.
You can then search for your local Citizens Advice.
Your personal information
When you provide Citizens Advice with personal information, we take steps to ensure that your information is treated securely. For full details of how we handle your personal information, please see our information charter.
Web chat and email
Citizens Advice makes every effort to ensure the security and integrity of web chat and email on our systems. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100 per cent secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information after we have received it, Citizens Advice cannot ensure or guarantee the security of information when it is being transmitted.
Why is my information being recorded?
In order for Adviceline assessors to help you with your enquiry we may need to record details of your case. These details may contain your personal and sensitive data.
What is personal and sensitive data?
Personal data is data which can be used to identify you. This may include your name, date of birth, address, telephone number etc.
Sensitive data is information related to any of the following: racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexuality or sex life, offences and/or convictions.
How will you use my data?
Your data will primarily be used for the purpose of handling your case. We will also use anonymised data for the purposes of statistical monitoring. In some instances, the Citizens Advice service may contact you to invite you to participate in surveys or research projects about particular issues.
Your call will be recorded for training and quality purposes. These recordings are stored for 42 days then automatically deleted from the system.
Permission to store your data
We are required by law to ask for your permission to record the details of your case and to tell you how we use this data.
A record of your case will be stored in a shared electronic case management system accessed by members of the Citizens Advice service, and it will be processed in line with requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Paper copies of your data may also be stored securely by Citizens Advice.
For the purposes of the Data Protection Act, Citizens Advice are data controllers in common. A data controller is someone who is responsible for your data and who must make sure that your data is processed in accordance with the law. For example, they are responsible for making sure that the information held about you is accurate and is kept secure. As data controllers in common the members of the Citizens Advice service are jointly responsible for your data.
How do I give my consent?
Adviceline assessors will give you the opportunity to verbally give your consent to Citizens Advice service recording sensitive personal information about you.
Web chat and email advice
Our web chat and email system will ask you to give your consent to Citizens Advice recording sensitive personal information about you, by ticking the consent box before the web chat can proceed.
Can I withhold my consent?
Yes, although currently you will not be able to use the Web Chat and email services if you withhold your consent due to the system limitations. Please contact us via an alternative method.
If you want to withhold consent when contacting us by phone or in person, the Citizens Advice service will not be able to advise you without generating an anonymous record of your enquiry needed for quality assurance purposes. No personal data will be recorded, only details of your enquiry.
Permission to share your data with other organisations
Everything you tell us will be treated confidentially. We will not share your information with anyone else without your consent, unless required to do so by law.
In order to assist you with your enquiry we may suggest that you go to another organisation for advice. We will also ask for your consent before sharing your information with this organisation.
If you have any questions or concerns about how we will use the information you tell us please contact us . (Please note we do not provide advice from this email address, but you can get advice online on our website.)