Why we are collecting your data

Chelmsford City Council is a data controller. This means we need to collect your personal data so that we can work out whether or not you are entitled to housing benefit and/or council tax support. We will only collect the personal data from you that we need in order to deal with applications for these benefits.  

Information collected

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Evidence of your identity
  • Information regarding your income, including employment, benefits and pensions
  • Information regarding your savings, including bank accounts, shares and unit trusts
  • National Insurance Number
  • Details about where you live
  • Details of the rent you pay
  • Name and address of your landlord (if you have one)
  • Details about your nationality and immigration status
  • Details about your health, if relevant
  • Phone Number/Email Address – you do not have to provide these, but they may make it easier to resolve any problems with your claim

We will also collect this information for other members of your household, where relevant.

The basis for the processing

We do this as a task carried out under a legal obligation. Housing benefit and council tax support assessments are made using regulations laid down by the Government. We will not be able to assess any entitlement without the personal data you provide us with.

Who we share your information with

Your information will initially be administered by the Council’s Benefits Service.  However, we do share your information with other bodies. When you apply for benefit, you give your consent for us to make enquiries of any relevant body in order to assess your entitlement to benefit. That means that we may contact people like your landlord, your employer or your pension provider in order to confirm information that you have given us if you are unable to provide the proof yourself. We will only give them information about you which is relevant to the query. If you do not want us to contact third parties, we may be unable to assess your claim.  

We have a legal obligation to share your information with the Department for Work and Pensions for statistical analysis, policy formulation and the prevention of fraud and error. 

We also have a public interest reason, which is supported by legislation, to share your data with the Cabinet Office (National Fraud Initiative), Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs, Vigilant Apps Limited, Mag:Net Solutions Limited, TransUnion, Rossendales Ltd or Jacobs Ltd for the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud and error or recovering overpayments of benefit. If you want to find information on how these companies process and protect your personal information, you need to view their individual Privacy Notices.

We will never sell your data. However, we may share some of your personal information with third parties to:

  • help prevent fraud. We may share your information with credit reference agencies and other companies for use in credit decisions.  Credit agencies may record these searches, but that will not affect your credit standing.
  • pursue people or companies who owe us money. We may share your information with debt collection agencies.
  • help business partners, suppliers and sub-contractors to deliver any contract we enter with them or you.
  • help us if we are need additional professional or legal advice on a matter relating to you.
  • to improve and optimise the performance of our websites and social media accounts. Analytics and search engine providers that we use can collect your data when you interact with us online.  However, they will aggregate and anonymise the information, meaning we can’t identify any individual personally.
  • work out if a grant we have spent was successful in achieving its aims. This could be funding from a Government or a grant from a local, regional or national organisation such as Sport England and National/Heritage Lottery Fund. However, they will aggregate and anonymise the information, meaning we can’t identify any individual personally.  

Providing accurate information 

We need to hold accurate and up to date information about you so that we can deliver appropriate services. If any of your details change, you need to tell us as soon as possible so that we can update your records.

We will not: 

  • use your information for marketing or sales purposes without your prior explicit consent. 
  • send or store your data abroad unless it meets the requirements of the Data Protection regulations.
  • make decisions about you based on automated processing. 

How long will we hold your data for? 

We keep all records relating to benefits for as long as you have a live and ongoing claim with us. Even if your claim is closed, we will keep your records for the current financial year and for the six financial years following the year that your claim is closed.

Your rights 

You have the right to access the personal information we hold about you.  Any access requests are free of charge.

If the information we hold about you is inaccurate, you have a right to have this corrected and you have the right to request completion of incomplete data.

You have the right to ask us to erase your personal data in certain circumstances (‘right to be forgotten’).

You have the right to ask us to stop or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances.  Where possible, we will seek to comply with your request, but we may need to hold or process information to comply with a legal requirement.

You can make any of these requests by:

  • Emailing ir@chelmsford.gov.uk
  • Or sending a letter to:

Digital Services 
Chelmsford City Council
Civic Centre
Duke Street

If you are dissatisfied with how we have used your personal information, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at casework@ico.org.uk

Identity of Data Protection Officer 

Our designated Data Protection Officer is John Breen.

You can contact him by emailing ir@chelmsford.gov.uk

Contact details 

Chelmsford City Council
Civic Centre
Duke Street

Email: ir@chelmsford.gov.uk 

Telephone: 01245 606606

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