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Housing Directorate Privacy Notice

At Somerset West and Taunton Council we are committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018). Since the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020, the UK has been governed by the UK GDPR, which replaces the EU GDPR.

This privacy notice explains how the Council uses information about you as your landlord and how we protect your privacy.

We will only collect and use your personal information for reasons that the law requires or allows. We are a Data Controller for the personal information we hold about you in relation to the management and development of residential Council properties and the communities we live in. In order to comply with data protection legislation, we want to be sure that you understand how we use this information.

Who we are

As a Council landlord, we deliver a range of services to manage our properties, improve neighbourhoods, support vulnerable people and discharge our legal duties to those who need housing.

Our head office is based at The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1HE. Somerset West and Taunton is registered as a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The Council has a designated Data Protection Officer who makes sure that we respect your rights and follow the law. If you have any concerns or questions about how we look after your personal information, please contact us by calling 0300 304 8000 and ask to speak to the Data Protection Officer. You can also contact us by using the general enquiries online form.

We hold personal information about our customers to allow us to supply a range of services to them. This could include:

General personal information

We collect ‘personal data’ as defined by Article 6 GDPR. This can be considered general personal information, please see below for a non-exhaustive list of this type of information:

  • Contact details (name, address, telephone number and email address)
  • Personal identifiers (date of birth, national insurance number, passport details)
  • Household data (details of who you live with)
  • Customer interactions (records of contact between you and our staff)
  • Customer feedback information (compliments and complaints)
  • Financial information (rent arrears, bank, and card details)
  • Information you have shared with us voluntarily

Special category data

We may collect sensitive information, this is known as special category data. This information is treated with added care due to its sensitivity. This may include the use of information relating to:

  • your racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, your sex life or sexual orientation – this is so we can monitor equality and diversity and the treatment of our customers.
  • criminal convictions you may have
  • your disability or any other medical or health information – this helps us assess any specific needs you may have so we can provide support.

Why we need your personal information

We use information about our customers to plan and deliver a variety of services. We use your data in line with the principles set out in Data Protection legislation:

  • To manage your tenancy
  • To provide more support/assistance to you
  • To keep neighbourhoods safe
  • To manage your property
  • To ensure we meet other legal obligations, for example health and safety
  • To take part in data matching exercises, to find tenancy fraud and collect rent arrears
  • To check performance and improve our services for customers
  • To compile and analyse statistics, for example customer profiling

Why we hold your information

Organisations must have a lawful reason to process your data. The Housing Directorate will use one of the following conditions for most activities:

  • Legitimate interests – on occasion, the use of personal data will be reliant on a legitimate interest. Where the Council relies on legitimate interests as a reason for processing data, it has considered whether or not those interests are overridden by the rights and freedoms of employees or workers and has concluded that they are not.
  • The performance of a contract – for example, if you have sent an application for a home, or we have an agreement with you, we will need to process certain information to fulfil our agreement. If we did not have that information, we would not be able to help you with the services you need.
  • The performance of a public task - examples include the provision of housing to those in need.
  • Where required by law - this includes sharing specific data to the police where there has been a crime.
  • Vital interests - on occasion, data may be shared so we can protect you from harm.
  • Consent – for example, if you have completed our mutual exchange form to consent to your contact details being shared, so we can help you move to a new house.

How we share your information

We will share your information with employees within the Council who need it to provide you with the service(s) you need.

There may be occasions where we share your data with a third-party organisation, this is likely to happen when or if:

  • We need to carry out essential works to your property or a third-party supplies a service on our behalf, for example maintenance or repair works.
  • There is a legal requirement to do so – for example to prevent and detect crime, in line with Data Protection legislation
  • The Regulator for Social Housing requires us to survey our residents’ and we may use a third party company to complete these surveys
  • Utility providers need your contact details if you have moved home without paying a final bill. We may share basic customer data with utility providers where we have a legitimate interest. In such cases, the personal data supplied will be limited to name and tenancy start date unless more information is justifiably needed.
  • We are working in partnership with another organisation – for example a support agency or Somerset County Council

In some instances, data may be transferred outside of the European Union. In all cases, we will take adequate steps to ensure the security and protection of your personal information.

On occasion, we may have a duty to share your information with:

  • Somerset County Council or other statutory agency for safeguarding purposes or where safety may be at risk.
  • Utility providers if you have moved home without paying a final bill, or have not provided them with your details.
  • Emergency services and healthcare professionals for your vital interests and safeguarding.
  • The police and other law-enforcement services for the prevention & detection of crime, or where we are required by Court Order.
  • Our regulators such as the Regulator for Social Housing, the Housing Ombudsman or the Information Commissioners Office.

Recording calls

Calls to our contact centre are recorded for training and monitoring purposes and kept for 3 months from the date of the call. There may be occasions where calls are held for a longer period while training is ongoing.

How we keep your information safe

Data security is particularly important to us. We will ensure that your data is always kept safe and secure.

  • We handle your information responsibly and respect your confidentiality
  • We only collect and process data where it is necessary for us to do so
  • We only collect the data we need for a specified purpose
  • We securely delete / destroy data when it is no longer required
  • Are open with you about how we use your data and who we may share it with respect to your privacy rights

Training is delivered to staff with access to customers' personal information.

How long we keep your information

We keep your data on file for as long as it is needed for the purpose it was collected, this is based on the following criteria:

  • How long you have been a customer and when your tenancy ends
  • If we need it to make or defend against legal claims
  • Any time periods set by our regulators or professional bodies
  • If there is a legal requirement

What are your rights?

A full list of the rights you may have under Data Protection law is given in the main privacy notice. You have a number of rights to control how we manage and share your information. For example:

  • Right of access
  • Right to be informed
  • Right to object to processing
  • Right to rectify errors
  • Right to restrict the processing
  • Right to be forgotten
  • Right to data portability
  • Right in relation to automated decision making

How to inform us of any changes to your data

It is important that you keep your details up to date when your circumstances change. An example of this might be example: getting married, having a baby, someone no longer living in your property. To inform us of changes please contact our contact centre 0300 304 800 or use our contact my housing officer online form.

What to do if you have a concern about how we handle your personal data

If you wish to complain about how your personal information has been handled by Somerset West and Taunton Council then please contact our Data Protection Officer in the first instance. If you are not satisfied you can submit a formal complaint to the Council. 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority, The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in writing to: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 0303 123 1113 or by visiting the Information Commissioner’s website.