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
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 Elmbridge (West) collects your data
In addition at our office we collect personal data in the following ways:
When you use our website
When you use our website, we collect your information in a number of ways.
If you use the web-form on our site to contact us for advice, we will ask you for your name, address, email and telephone number. By using the web-form you are giving your consent for us to process and use this personal information. The information is sent direct to our email system. No data is stored on the website.
If you make an online donation you will be transferred to the JustGiving page here. We do not store your debit or credit card details at all.
When you email us
When you email us for advice, we do not keep a record of the information provided in your email and we do not store any information provided by you in the email. Your email and our response is deleted and not kept on our IT system and we confirm this in our response email.
When you call us
If you call us for advice, our advisers will explain how we use your details and ask for your consent to record and store your personal information.
When you text us
If you use our dedicated SMS number to text us a short message, a transcript of your message will be copied into the secure case management system and the text is deleted.
Job & volunteer applicants
If you apply to work or volunteer with us, we collect your personal information through your application form, interview or references so we can process your application.
If you’re offered a role, where applicable, we may ask you to fill out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form as part of mandatory background checks. A DBS form does ask for some personal information as part of the background check process. Once checked in our office for the purpose of verifying your identity, your form will be sent to head office where it will be stored and processed securely and confidentially by Citizens Advice and DBS. You can read more about DBS checks and processes on the GOV.UK website.
Other than the DBS, we don’t share your information with external organisations – it is only shared internally so that we can review your application.
We only ask for information which is relevant to the role you’re applying for. We’ll collect personal details such as name, address, telephone number and email address, previous job history and experience, qualifications, and any support needs you may have.
We will also ask for diversity information like your gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. You don’t have to tell us this – if you do, it is always anonymised.
We might collect other information depending on whether you’ve applied for a staff or volunteer role.
We’ll use the information you give us to decide whether or not you’ve got the right skills for the role. We’ll use the demographic information to make sure we’re employing a diverse workforce and volunteer community. Staff who access your information have had information protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.
We keep your information securely on our internal systems. If your application is unsuccessful, your information will be securely destroyed six months from the date of the job advertisement.
How Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) 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.
Organisations we commonly share information with include Elmbridge Borough Council, Surrey County Council, PA Housing, and government departments including the DWP and HMRC.
How Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) stores your information
Outside of the national Citizens Advice secure case management system, other information is not kept on our secure internal IT email and systems for any longer than necessary to enable us to deal with the content, after which it is deleted. All staff and volunteers who access your data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.
How Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) shares your information
Where we share your information with other organisations as part of casework we will always ask for your authority to do so and will use the most secure means possible. Organisations we share your data with must store and use it in line with data protection law.
Sometimes our funders ask us to share statistics and example case studies to demonstrate how we are meeting our aims and goals as a charity, or as a funding requirement. In these instances, all personal information will be anonymised.
Contact Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.
Write to: Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West), The Elmbridge Community Hub, 72 High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 5BU
Phone: 01932 248670
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 is 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.
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