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.
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 follow 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.
The local Citizens Advice will record your personal information on a national computer system. Staff from a different local Citizens Advice can only access your personal information if they have a good reason - for example if you go to them for advice or call our national phone line. We have rules and controls to stop people accessing or using your information when they shouldn’t.
Tell an adviser if you’re worried about your details being on a national system. We’ll work with you to take extra steps to protect your information - for example by recording your problem without using your name.
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.
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 follow 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
Getting help and reporting concerns
You can contact your local Citizens Advice if you want to:
- find out more about how we use your personal information
- tell us you’re concerned about how we use information - for example if you think we’ve shared your information when we shouldn’t have
You can also email our data protection officer at DPO@citizensadvice.org.uk if:
- you need more help after talking to your local Citizens Advice
- you haven’t had any contact with your local Citizens Advice - for example because you talked to us using chat instead
- your issue doesn’t just affect your own personal information - for example if you think there’s a problem with our policy
You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner's website.