- processes differ from those outlined in the national policy
- services or advice channels (how clients communicate with us) are not covered by the national policy
In this sense the layout of Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham’s Local Policy may refer to National Policy in so far as we depart from it.
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 any commercial organisations
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
Citizens Advice national handle and store your personal information in line with the law – including the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham also follows local policy which will cover our own processes for collecting, using, storing and sharing information where for example:
- processes differ from those outlined in the national policy
- services or advice channels (how clients communicate with us) that are not covered by the national policy
How Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham collect your data
We will collect your data with your permission, or by your consent by asking you to either:
- sign a paper consent form
- tick a box online
- give agreement over the phone
What Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham ask for
For clients we’ll only ask for information that’s relevant to your problem to enable us to provide independent, confidential and impartial advice to you. Depending on what you want help with, 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, organisation or other party who are causing you problems
- any other details relevant to our ability to advise you regarding your problem
- information like your gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation
If you don’t want to give us certain information, you don’t have to. If the information you do not want to give us relates to our ability to help you with your problem, we will explain that to you. If you want to stay anonymous for example, we may be able to only record information about your problem and make sure you’re not identified.
As regards employees, former employees, volunteers, former volunteers, suppliers. We’ll only ask for information that’s relevant to the issue for which we request information and we will explain the reason why we are collecting that information.
How Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham use your information
For clients, the main reason we ask for your information is to enable us to provide independent, confidential and impartial advice to you to help you to solve your problems.
We only access your information for other reasons if we really need to – for example:
- for training and quality purposes
- to investigate complaints
- to get feedback from you about our services separate from any feedback that Citizens Advice might collect
- to help us maintain and improve our services
- occasional statutory returns, legal, regulatory and funder compliance including audits, quality or statistical checks
All advisers and staff accessing data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.
As regards employees, former employees, volunteers, former volunteers, suppliers, we’ll only ask for information that’s relevant to your role or former role at the issue for which we request information and we will explain the reason why we are collecting that information.
How Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham store your information
For clients, 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.
For employees, former employees, volunteers, former volunteers and suppliers, your information will be logged by appropriate staff on paper or IT systems
Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems. It might be kept in paper systems which are kept within secure physical locations on site or in secure specialist storage facilities in London. Electronic documents are stored on secure servers which are maintained by a reputable local ICT company.
Our case management systems, email and IT 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.
How Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham share your information
Working on clients’ behalf
When you give us authority to advise, assist or act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with that third party.
With your permission, or by your consent we might need to share your information with other organisations so we can:
- help solve your problem – for example, to obtain a report from a GP or other expert, to instruct a barrister, talk to the opponent in a case, their representative, your landlord or a relevant private sector agency such as a creditor or public sector agency such as the DWP, Revenues and Benefits, HMRC. This may be so as to gather further information and/or make representations.
- refer you quickly to another organisation for more advice, if relevant – for example another independent advice agency or solicitors firm, another charity or a public sector service best placed to help solve your problem or a particular aspect of your problem.
Organisations we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law.
There might be specific organisations we share your information with, depending on what service you access.
With your permission we may share your information with third party organisations for the purpose of referrals as set out in the section above.
Similarly, the third party organisation might require the same of us as they may also owe Data Protection Act duties to you.
In line with our fundamental charitable objective we will never share information with a Third Party organisation that compromises our ability to provide independent, confidential and impartial advice to any client of Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham.
- monitor the quality of our services – As regards our commitment to improve our services and to tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives. Where you have given us your permission and contact details, we, or sometimes a trusted research partner, may contact you to ask you for feedback on the service you received and your overall experience of Citizens Advice. We use information in a way that does not directly identify you to understand how different problems are affecting society and to take action to tackle these problems. As this is used for research it is kept separate from your case record.
Otherwise your information is primarily used to enable us to provide you with independent, confidential, impartial advice. This may on occasion include statutory returns, legal, regulatory and funder compliance including audits, quality or statistical checks and those external agencies are required by Data Protection Act law to maintain confidentiality in relation to you, the information you provide us with and the advice we provide you with.
If we’re concerned about yours or someone else’s safety
If something you’ve told us makes us think you or someone you know might be at serious risk of harm, we could tell the police or social services – for example if we think you might hurt yourself or someone else.
Contact Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham about your information
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
To contact us please visit our offices during opening times and speak to one of our workers and/or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens Advice Barking and Dagenham has a complaints handling procedure which is available on request.
If you’re not happy with how we have used your information, you can: -
- email us at email@example.com
- contact the Information Commissioner’s Office ico.org.uk/ or call them on 0303 123 1113
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.
Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham uses a case management system Advice Pro for specific projects notably specialist projects. CABD is the data controller of the personal data and special category personal data within the Advice Pro application and has sole responsibility to ensure compliance with data protection legislation. Citizens Advice Barking & Dagenham services and operations also uses paper and electronic systems which it is the sole data controller of. In all cases the relevant consent must be obtained, or alternative lawful basis determined, for any processing or sharing of client personal data and special category personal data.
You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner’s website.