South Lakes Citizens Advice Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

South Lakes Citizens Advice

At  South Lakes 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

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.

You can check our main Citizens Advice policy for how we handle most of your personal information.

This page covers how we, as your local charity, handle your information locally in our offices.

How  South Lakes Citizens Advice  collects your data

We’ll get your permission by asking you to either:

• sign a paper consent form
• tick a box online
• give agreement over the phone – if you call our Adviceline, Consumer Service, Debt Advice Project or Extra Help Unit

Before we ask for your permission, we’ll always explain how we use your information.

If you’re using our Debt Advice Project and you’ve been referred to us from another advice charity, they’ll send us your information using a referral form. They’ll get your permission before sending us your information.

What South Lakes Citizens Advice ask for

We’ll ask for information that’s relevant to your problem, required by our funders or to monitor service use and demand. This might include:

• your name and contact details – so we can keep in touch with you about your case
• personal information – for example about family, work, or financial circumstances
• details about services you get that are causing you problems – like energy or post
• details of items or services you’ve bought, and traders you’ve dealt with
• information like your gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation

If you don’t want to give us certain 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.

How  South Lakes Citizens Advice  uses your information

To find out how we use your information see our national Citizens Advice privacy policy

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.

We commonly share information to act on behalf of clients with:

  • South Lakeland District Council
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Money Advice Service
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • DWP
  • HMRC
  • Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Citizens Advice Debt Relief Order Unit
  • GP Surgeries within South Lakeland

How South Lakes Citizens Advice store your information

Whether you get advice face to face, over the phone, by email or webchat, our adviser will log all your information, correspondence, and notes about your problem into our secure case management systems.

Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems such as One Drive, Google Drive or NAS Drive.

We keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

If you use the consumer service, we keep your information for 6 years and then anonymise it. This means that you can no longer be identified from it.

If you use the Extra Help Unit, we keep your information for 3 years from when we close your case.

Our case management systems are hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK.

Most of our trusted partners store their data securely within the European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law.

If you get advice over the phone

If you call us, we’ll record the conversation for training and monitoring purposes.

When you call, you’ll hear a recorded message telling you how we use and store your information – you can let the adviser know if you disagree.

Calls are recorded by our trusted partner, KCOM. They’ll be deleted after 6 months.

How  South Lakeland Citizens Advice share your information

We specifically share information with the following organisations in order to deal with a clients enquiry:

  • South Lakeland District Council
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Money Advice Service
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • DWP
  • HMRC
  • Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Citizens Advice Debt Relief Order Unit
  • GP Surgeries within South Lakeland

What information we will ask for

We only record and use information that will help us to make a referral. This might include your:

• name and date of birth
• contact details
• debts, creditors and reference numbers
• details of your income and expenditure
• state of health
• family circumstances

We may also need to collect proof of identity and proof of income.

How we use your information

The main reason we need your information is to give the agency we are referring to as much information regarding your situation and why you need their support.

We’ll only access your information for other reasons if we really need to – for example:

• for training and quality purposes

• to investigate complaints

• to help us improve our services

We might use your contact details to get in touch about your experience of our service or ask you to take part in surveys or research – we’ll only do this if you give us permission.

We use some information to create statistics about who we’re helping and what issues they face. This information is always anonymised – you can’t be identified.

We share monthly or quarterly reports with our funders. This includes anonymised statistics on the numbers of clients we refer for help, the levels of debt, income gains etc

When we share your information

Sometimes we share your personal information with other organisations – we only do this to help you deal with your debts, or to monitor the quality of our services. We’ll get your permission before doing this.

Organisations we share your data with must store and use it in line with data protection law – they can’t pass it on or sell it without your permission.

Storing your information

Your information is stored securely on our internal systems. All volunteers and staff who access your data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

South Lakes Citizens Advice will keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

Our case management systems are hosted within the European Economic Area (EEA) and wherever possible, the UK.

If you phone us, calls will be recorded by our trusted partner, KCOM. They’ll be deleted after 6 months.

Contact us about your data

You can contact us at any time and ask us:

• what information we’ve stored about you
• to change or update your details
• to delete your details from our records

Send us a message at [email protected]

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice Debt Management Service, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice Debt Relief Order (DRO) Team, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice Witness Service, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to Pension Wise, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you want to make a complaint

If you’re not happy with how we’ve handled your data, you can make a complaint by telephone, email or post (see below)

Contact South Lakes Citizens Advice about your information

If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office:

  • By telephone: 015394 46464.  09.00 – 5.00 Monday – Thursday, 09.00 – 4.30 Friday
  • By email: [email protected]
  • By post: South Lakes Citizens Advice, Blackhall Road, Kendal, LA9 4BT

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 our 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.