At Citizens Advice we collect and use your personal information to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives.
We only ask for the information we need. We always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us, explain why we need it and treat it as confidential.
When we record and use your personal information we:
- only access it when we have a good reason
- only share what is necessary and relevant
- don’t sell it to commercial organisations
At times we might use or share your information without your permission. If we do, we’ll always make sure there’s a legal basis for it. This could include situations where we have to use or share your information:
- to comply with the law - for example, if a court orders us to share information (this is called ‘legal obligation’)
- to protect someone’s life - for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office (this is called ‘vital interests’)
- to carry out our legitimate aims and goals as a charity - for example, to create statistics for our national research (this is called ‘legitimate interests’)
- for us to carry out a task where we’re meeting the aims of a public body in the public interest - for example, delivering a government or local authority service (this is called ‘public task’)
- to carry out a contract we have with you - for example, if you’re an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you (this is called ‘contract’)
- to defend our legal rights - for example, sharing information with our legal advisors if there was a complaint that we gave the wrong advice
We handle and store your personal information in line with the law - including the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.
This page covers how we, as your local charity, handle your information locally in our offices.
How Citizens Advice North and West Kent collect your data
In addition to the methods set out in our main policy, we may be given personal information by our partners when they refer you to us for debt, housing or immigration advice. In these circumstances, our partners will ask for your permission to make the referral and to give your personal information to us. If you have been offered our help with personal budgeting support or assistance with claiming Universal Credit by the Department for Work and Pensions, the DWP will send your personal information to us via secure email. The DWP should ask for your permission to do this.
What Citizens Advice North and West Kent ask for
How Citizens Advice North and West Kent use your information
Working on your behalf
When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with that third party. For example, this might be with the DWP, the local council, or the Home Office. We will only share information in this way with your permission.
How Citizens Advice North and West Kent store your information
Apart from the client information stored on our national system (Casebook - see below and our main policy), personal information we hold is stored securely in paper form or on our secure computer networks and personal information is only sent on by via secure email. Our networks are backed up on locally held hard drives, and some data is held centrally on Microsoft Office 365 (Sharepoint) and Microsoft One Drive, although this rarely includes personal client information. All of our staff and volunteers undergo regular information assurance training.
How Citizens Advice North and West Kent share your information
We may send your personal information to our partners, so that they can provide services to you - such as helping you with a debt relief order, helping you to access counselling, or helping you to find somewhere to live. This is called a referral and we will always ask your permission before we refer you to one of our partners and tell you who they are. We will always ask you to provide your written consent before we pass information on in this way, and will always tell you the name of the organisation we are giving your information to.
Contact Citizens Advice North and West Kent about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.
Telephone: 01732 361709, open Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm
You can contact us to:
- find out what personal information we hold about you
- correct your information if it’s wrong, out of date or incomplete
- request we delete your information
- ask us to limit what we do with your data - for example, ask us not to share it if you haven’t asked us already
- ask us to give you a copy of the data we hold in a format you can use to transfer it to another service
- ask us stop using your information
Who’s responsible for looking after your personal information
The national Citizens Advice charity and your local Citizens Advice operate a system called Casebook to keep your personal information safe. This means they’re a ‘joint data controller’ for your personal information that’s stored in the Casebook system.
Each local Citizens Advice is an independent charity, and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity. The Citizens Advice membership agreement also requires that the use of your information complies with data protection law.
You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner’s website.