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 anyone
We handle and store your personal information in line with data protection law.
Coronavirus: Test and Trace if you get advice in person
If you get advice in person we'll ask for your:
- email address or telephone number
We'll keep this information in our secure case management system.
We might be asked to share your name, contact details and the date of your visit with Test and Trace or local public health organisations. This is to help track cases of coronavirus. They might contact you if they think you're at risk after your visit. For example because someone getting advice at the same time has tested positive for coronavirus. You can find out more about Test and Trace in England on GOV.UK or Test and Trace in Wales on GOV.WALES.
We'll never share information about the reason for your visit.
If you can't give contact details, for example if it's not safe for you to do so, we'll still be able to give you advice in person.
Unlike most situations, we won't ask for your consent before we share your contact details. If you don't want us to share this information you can tell your local office you want to opt out.
If you have the NHS Test and Trace app on your phone you can ‘check in’ at some of our local Citizens Advice offices. You can still get advice even if you don’t check in on the app. You can find out how the NHS Test and Trace app will use your information on GOV.UK.
You can download the NHS Test and Trace app from NHS.UK.
We’re doing this to help keep you and the public safe. This is a ‘legitimate interest’ of Citizens Advice.
We won't share your contact details with anyone other than Test and Trace or a local public health organisation.
If we share your information we'll let you know, and offer further support.
If you want to know more about changes to our face to face services or how your information will be used, please contact your local office.
If you used our debt advice service before 1 January 2019
When you got debt advice from us we might have shared your personal information with our funder, the Money Advice Service. We did this with your permission so they could check the quality of our advice.
From 1 January 2019, a new Single Financial Guidance Body was formed by merging the Money Advice Service, Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service.
As a result, the Money Advice Service has transferred your personal information to the:
- Single Financial Guidance Body - if you live in England
- Department for Communities (DfC) - if you live in Northern Ireland
- Welsh government - if you live in Wales
These organisations must store and use your personal information in line with data protection law - they can't pass it on or sell it without your permission.
Who's responsible for keeping your personal information safe
The national Citizens Advice charity and local Citizens Advice are both responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we comply with data protection law. This means we're a 'joint data controller' for your personal information.
Each local Citizens Advice is an independent charity and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity.
If you've used a local Citizens Advice
What we do with your information
How we handle your personal information depends on how you interact with us.
If you want to find out more about how we use your personal information, you can email our data protection officer at DPO@citizensadvice.org.uk.
You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner's website.
When we use your information without permission
At times we might use or share your information without your permission. We'll only do this if 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, called 'legal obligation' - for example, if a court orders us to share information
- to protect someone's life, called 'vital interests' - for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office
- to carry out our aims and goals as an organisation, called 'legitimate interests' - for example, to create anonymous case studies and statistics for our national research
- for us to carry out a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law, called 'public task' - for example the Consumer Service
- to carry out a contract we have with you, called 'contract' - for example, if you're an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you
- to defend our legal rights - for example, to resolve a complaint that we gave the wrong advice