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 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
We handle and store your personal information in line with the law – including the General Data Protection Regulation.
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 Citizens Advice West Berkshire collect your data
When you see an advisor or caseworker in our offices or at an outreach venue we will ask you to give consent by completing one of our data protection forms.
When you ring our telephone advice line we will verbally ask for your consent and record that you have given it. Telephone calls are not recorded.
When you submit an enquiry using our online enquiry form we will obtain your consent via a checkbox before you submit any personal information.
When you submit feedback via our online feedback forms we ask you to click a checkbox to give consent.
If you wish to remain anonymous, your case can be recorded without any personal information if you access our service by telephone or by coming into our offices.
We also sometimes receive information from organisations who directly refer clients to us, including Sovereign Housing Association, Community Furniture Project and the MS Society. When we receive referrals we follow our usual measures to gain consent.
What Citizens Advice West Berkshire ask for
How Citizens Advice West Berkshire use your information
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. Other organisations with whom we share your data, with your consent, include West Berkshire Council, Sovereign Housing Association and other local housing associations, DWP, HMRC, your creditors, credit reference agencies, Newbury Community Resource Centre (Community Furniture Project), Aperture (for IVAs), certain limited solicitors, other local charities.
How Citizens Advice West Berkshire store your information
If you contact us through our Online Enquiry service via our website
As well as logging your request for advice within our case management system, copies are also stored in an online system run by our trusted partner Barkweb Ltd, 15 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4PR, They store your data securely in the European Economic Area and in line with data protection law.
Your data is stored by Barkweb for a period of 15 days for back-up purposes.
Hard copies of your information and correspondence may be stored securely in our offices or at a secure off-site storage facility.
Some information, such as letters we write, may be held temporarily on our systems, which are managed by our trusted IT partner, Apogee Solutions Limited, Norden House, The Innovation Centre, Basing View, Basingstoke RG21 4HG. They store your data securely in the European Economic Area and in line with data protection law.
How Citizens Advice West Berkshire share your information
We may share your information when referring you to a third party organisation to help you with your problem. Before we do this we will always obtain your consent to share the information by asking you to complete a Third Party Authorisation form.
With your consent, and in order to help you with your problem, we may share information with:
• West Berkshire Council
• Sovereign Housing Association, or other housing associations
• DWP and HMRC
• Community Furniture Project
• MS Society
• Solicitors who offer pro bono advice
• Newbury Lions
• Newbury Churches Fund
• Thatcham Relief in Need
• Berkshire Nurses and Relief in Sickness Trust
• Newbury and Thatcham Relief in Need Trust
• West Berkshire Foodbank
• Other charities that we may approach on your behalf.
We also share anonymised information with our funders.
Contact Citizens Advice West Berkshire about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.
Telephone: 01635 516605, open Monday to Wednesday (messages will be collected at other times)
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.