Revenues, welfare and customer services privacy notice

This privacy notice is to let you know how we promise to look after your personal information. This notice explains how we do this and tells you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.

This privacy notice covers the following areas of revenues, welfare and customer services.

  • welfare administration
  • welfare support
  • local taxation
  • recovery and debt management
  • subsidy and returns
  • customer services

What information do we collect?

The type of information we collect will depend on why you have got in touch with us. The information will include some or all of the following:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • contact details
  • the reason why you have contacted us
  • contacts that we have had with you
  • details of your current accommodation
  • details of your household make up
  • housing needs and any risk factors that need to be taken into account
  • financial information
  • medical information
  • offending history
  • characteristics (such as age, ethnicity and language)
  • details of your GP and other people providing professional support

Who uses this information?

Which areas internally to Harrogate Borough Council use this data:

  • revenues, welfare and customer services
  • housing and property services
  • legal and governance
  • planning and development
  • environmental services
  • safer communities
  • any other service area a specific query has been directed to, to enable a response to the customer

External to Harrogate Borough Council

  • DCLG
  • DWP
  • VOA
  • ONS
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • GPs
  • Court and Tribunal Service
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • North Yorkshire Police
  • Ascendant Solutions
  • Govtech Solutions Limited
  • landlords
  • auditors

Why do we use this information?

  • administration of housing benefit, council tax reduction and discretionary housing payments
  • council tax and non-domestic rates billing, collection and account administration
  • management of council related issues and enquiries
  • collection of council debt and escalation through the available collection routes
  • debt management and provision of advice
  • detection and prevention of fraud
  • answering questions and queries about council services
  • administration and award of wider benefits, including universal credit
  • safeguard children and vulnerable adults

What authority does Harrogate Borough Council have to collect and use this information?

The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services process personal data under the following categories of lawfulness in the General Data Protection Regulation.

6(1)(a) the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes.
6(1)(b) processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract.
6(1)(c) processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject.
6(1)(d) processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person.
6(1)(e) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.
9(2)(b) processing is necessary for carrying out obligations under employment, social security or social protection law, or a collective agreement.
9(2)(e) processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject.
9(2)(f) processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.
9(2)(g) processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest on the basis of Union or Member State Law which is proportionate to the aim pursued and which contains appropriate safeguards.
9(2)(i) processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health such as protecting cross border threats to health.
9(2)(j) processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific, historical research purposes or statistical purposes.

The tasks that we carry out in the exercise of official authority are mainly required under the following laws (although other legislation applies).

  • Local Government Finance Act 1988
  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • Local Government Finance Act 20212
  • The Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices) Regulations 2012
  • The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
  • Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
  • The Business Improvement Districts 2004
  • Local Government Act 1985
  • Local Government Act 2000
  • Localism Act 2011

Who are we likely to share this information with?

We may sometimes share the information that we have collected about you where it is necessary, lawful and fair to do so. We may share information with the following groups for these purposes:

  • other council services to help us carry out the functions that we need this information for, or to protect public funds - for instance, to prevent fraud or in the detection of crime
  • Department of Work and Pensions - the authority administers the allocation of benefits on behalf of the DWP and information will be shared as required to carry out these duties, monitor performance and prevent fraud. Also to ensure vulnerable customers are effectively managed and information shared between services as appropriate
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to show how we are performing our statutory functions and provide data to enable statistical analysis
  • Office of National Statistics - the production and publication of official statistics
  • North Yorkshire County Council to ensure customer requirements are looked at holistically and enquiries are directed to the correct responsible person
  • landlords and site owners to ensure responsible parties are aware of their responsibilities and protect tenancies
  • general public - to monitor and report on the performance of our duties (note this does not include personal data)
  • freedom of information (FOI/subject access requests (SAR)/environmental information requests (EIR)
  • National Fraud Initiative - to cross-match data extracts to identify fraud
  • North Yorkshire Police - to assist in the detection and prevention of crime
  • auditors - to check Harrogate Borough Council performance and processing for accuracy and financial compliance

Sharing information during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis

Personal data or special category data may be shared with relevant organisations and agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The lawful basis for sharing this information is that (1) it is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest and (2) to protect the vital interests of an individual.

In order to assist in the prevention of Covid-19 spreading across North Yorkshire as part of the Track and Trace programme, we will, upon request from North Yorkshire County Council, share your email address and/or telephone number.

Support for energy bills: Council tax rebate 2022-23 scheme

Energy rebate payments will be made to the party liable for council tax.

Where the council currently holds bank account details for the payment of council tax by Direct Debit, payment of the rebate will be processed by Govtech Solution Limited (as the Data Processor) via this channel.

Where direct debit details are not held for an eligible household then an online application will be required. These will be processed by Govtech Solutions Limited (as the Data Controller).

Experian will be used to verify that the liable party's name, bank account and address match. This is not a credit check and will not place any markers on individuals' credit files.

Information from all rebate payments made and application submissions will be retained until 31 March 2023.

How do we keep this information secure?

The information which is held electronically is either held in files that are held on the council's servers or dedicated databases or alternatively are cloud-hosted over secure connections and sites that meet the ISO27001. These systems are password protected and only accessible to people who need access to them.

The information which is held on paper is either stored in offices which are subject to access controls or in the dedicated archive provision for the council. Where information is removed from the office for operational purposes the amount of this is minimised and staff are trained to ensure that this is kept secure at all times.

Audio-based information, such as records of PACE interviews are kept in locked storage within an access-controlled office.

Mobile devices are password protected and centrally managed.

When do computers make any decisions about you?

The RWCS services use set criteria and questions and depending on the answers given, systems may automatically allocate discounts or exemptions to the accounts.

The information provided may also determine the route an enquiry will progress down for a decision.

Information and calculations held within systems are used to calculate the level of benefits people are entitled to.

When your data gets sent to other countries

We do not send any information we collect about you outside the United Kingdom, however, our data may be held on secure storage within the European Union.

How long do we keep this information?

  • the length of time that we keep information for varies, depending on what we use this information for, because there are different business and statutory needs for different processes that we follow
  • we hold account-related correspondence for a period of seven years following account closure with no balance outstanding

What are your rights?

You have the right to request Harrogate Borough Council stop processing your personal data in relation to any council service. Please read our main privacy notice for further details.