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Help to Claim - our privacy policy

When you use the Help to Claim service, we’ll only ask for and process personal information about you so we can support you. 

We get your information:

  • when you come into our office asking for support

  • by talking with you over the phone or webchat

On some occasions, the Jobcentre might share some information about you with us. They’ll do this usually when they need to make a referral.  

We collect and process your personal information using a lawful basis called ‘legitimate interests’. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation when we give you support.

What information the Department for Work and Pensions send us 

If you were referred to the Help to Claim service by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they’ll tell us the following information about you:

  •  your first and last name

  • your postcode

  • your mobile and home phone number

  • your email address if you have one 

  • how you want us to contact you - your local Citizens Advice will always contact you through your chosen method

The DWP are allowed to share some personal information with us because they’re a government department. The legal basis for this is called 'public task'. 

What information we ask for

While helping you, we might ask for and process more information from you. If you don't want to give us this information, you don't have to. For example, if you want to stay anonymous, we'll only record information about your problem and make sure you're not identified.

We’ll always ask for your consent to record information about your:

  • ethnicity

  • religion

  • health conditions

  • sexual orientation 

  • trade union membership

This type of information is known as ‘special category data’. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Tell us the personal information you don’t want us to store and we’ll delete it. 

We might need to record special category data about members of your household. This is to help us give you accurate advice. We’ll always make efforts to get consent from the person in your household to store their data. 

Sometimes, it might not be appropriate for us to contact that person, for example because of mental capacity or severe illness. In this case, we’ll use the ‘Counselling’ provision of the Data Protection Act as our lawful basis for processing their data.

How we use your information

The main reason we ask for your information is to support you with Universal Credit. We'll only get access to your information for other reasons if we need to - for example:

  • for training our staff 

  • to investigate complaints

  • to get feedback from you about our services

  •  to help us improve our services

  •  for evaluating our service

  • understand the kind of problems people are having with Universal Credit 

We’ll always balance our interest against your rights and freedom when we use your personal data. 

When we share your information

Sometimes we share your personal information with other organisations. For example, when you need more support and advice about issues like debt or housing. We’ll only do this if you give us your permission.

In rare cases, we might need to share your information without your permission. This is where we might have concerns about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone else.

If you've given us your permission, we might contact you to ask for feedback on our service. We might also ask a research company we trust to do this.

If we use an external research company, we’ll only disclose the personal information necessary to deliver the research. We’ll have a contract with the company to make sure your personal information is kept secure and protected.

Storing your information

We store your information securely on our internal systems. 

All volunteers and staff who have access to your data have data protection training. This is to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

When we call you, we'll record the phone call to help train our staff and check we’re giving good advice. If you contact us, calls will be recorded and stored securely by our trusted partner, KCOM. Recordings are kept for 6 months and then deleted.

We’ll only keep your information for as long as necessary. In most cases, this will be for 6 years after you’ve accessed our service.

Our case management systems are hosted in the European Economic Area and the UK.

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 information

  • to delete your information from our records or withdraw your consent

  • to stop using your information  

You can read more about how we use your information.

If you want to make a complaint

You can make a complaint through our website if you're not happy with how we've handled your data. 

You can also contact the Information Commissioner's Office to raise a concern about how we’ve used your information.