Portsmouth City Council is a registered Data Controller (Registration Number Z5578313). Portsmouth City Council aims to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information in accordance with data protection law. This privacy notice tells you about how Portsmouth City Council collects and uses personal information.

What information do we collect?

Portsmouth City Council collects the names, addresses, dates of birth, gender and contact information in the form of telephone numbers and email addresses from you as a customer. We may also collect other personal information about your family, your mental and physical health, financial circumstances, national insurance number, employment, housing, experiences of homelessness or rough sleeping and social care needs when relevant, including whether you have been in local authority care. We keep copies of letters and records of telephone calls along with information we receive about you from other people, for example your doctor. We also keep details of the other members of your household, people you wish us to contact and details of any payments made in connection with your accommodation

Why do we collect your information?

Portsmouth City Council uses personal information to:

  • Assess your housing application and whether you meet Portsmouth’s housing allocation policy and/or criteria set by national legislation
  • Maintain and manage our housing waiting list.
  • Offer support and advice.
  • Ensure that your needs are understood and met.
  • Manage temporary accommodation.
  • Assist in service development.
  • Allow us to confirm your identity when talking to you about your housing application.
  • Provide emergency accommodation when needed.

For those making applications for homelessness assistance, the Council also collects personal information for research by the Department for Levelling Up Communities and Housing (DLUCH) to find out whether:

  • Housing services help prevent homelessness
  • People return for help and/or move regularly
  • Homelessness programmes, such as Housing First, and the temporary accommodation provided during covid have reduced homelessness and rough sleeping in the longer term
  • There are other causes of homelessness and outcomes, such as poor health
  • Understand more about the contact households have with public services.

How do we use your information?

Portsmouth City Council uses personal information to:

  • Ensure that we can contact you when we need to. This means that we can discuss your housing application and resolve any queries that we may have.
  • To investigate your housing situation and contact related parties to clarify information.
  • Contact you in the case of a suitable property becoming available.
  • Help you to access services relating to Property and Housing and seek suitable accommodation.
  • Assess any need that you may have for additional housing support and make referrals for this support where appropriate.
  • Ensure that you are able to meet your conditions as a tenant or licensee, including payment of rent.
  • Link information about you and others in your household together with other information, including your homelessness application and past and future information on your use of other public services and benefits and to carry out research into housing services and homelessness.
  • Improve understanding of the causes and factors related to homelessness, to evaluate services and to help improve homelessness services both locally and nationally by sharing data with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and DLUCH as part of the Homeless Data England research project.

How do we keep personal information secure?

Portsmouth City Council ensures that your personal data is kept secure through the use of technical security measures for all our IT systems. We ensure that only employees who should have access to personal data do so, and this is managed through comprehensive training, regular checks and validation. Anyone that processes personal data on our behalf are governed by specific contracts to ensure that they do so securely and only for the purposes set out by Portsmouth City Council.

When sharing homelessness data with ONS and DLUCH, the Council sends your information to the ONS using a secure IT system – the DLUCH DELTA System. ONS and DLUCH will keep your data entirely secure and safe, and your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Your name, date of birth, gender, address and national insurance number will be kept separately from all the other information in a secure, password-protected document on a computer system. Your data will be assigned a unique reference number, so that even though a researcher will see all your information, they will not be able to know it is about you.  ONS has developed a secure research service in which to carry out this work in a way that will not identify individuals or households.

Your data will not be sent overseas or used for automated decision making, e.g., using statistical modelling to decide whether to provide services.

How long do we keep hold of personal information?

Portsmouth City Council records will not be kept for longer than necessary. Full information regarding retention periods for the different types of data can be found on our corporate retention schedule.

The Office for National Statistics (DLUCH’s partner on the Homeless Data England research project) will keep your personal identifiers and store them securely – this is to track the longer-term outcomes for those who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness. A review will be carried out every 5 years to ensure the data is still required. If it is not required, it will be securely deleted.

Other government departments and health agencies (e.g., DWP, NHS Digital) will only keep your personal identifiers for a month and will not keep records showing you were part of this research.

The Council and DLUCH will only use your data within the terms of data protection laws and will only keep it if we have a lawful basis to do so. The Council and DLUCH will delete your data securely and only keep it for as long as necessary for our work as public bodies.

Access to personal information

You have the right to know if Portsmouth City Council holds any personal information relating to you. You can do this by making a ‘Subject Access Request’ using the information in the ‘How to contact us’ section or by going to the Freedom of Information page.

You will usually be entitled to see all of the data held about you but may not be entitled to see confidential information about other people.

Sharing or disclosing personal information

There may be times when we need to share your information with other people. We will only do this if you have either given your explicit consent or where the law allows or requires us to. This could be in an emergency where there is a safeguarding concern or life threatening situation or for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime or fraud or apprehending and prosecuting offenders where we have a statutory duty to do so.

We will only share appropriate information about you with your family or carers and usually only where you have given specific permission to do so. We may withhold information where it places any individual at risk.

We will share personal data with other organisations such as Social Care, other housing providers, landlords, Police, GPs to assess your housing application. This information will be used to assess your housing need and might impact any offer of a property that is made.

We will only share with each person or organisation the details they need in order to provide their services or support to you or perform their statutory duty.

If you have made an application for homelessness assistance, the Council will send your information to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), who are working on behalf of DLUCH. ONS will provide your information to other government departments and health agencies to be matched to data they hold, but this can only be used for the Homeless Data England research.

Your personal identifiers (name, date of birth, gender, last known address) will be used to identify data collected as part of your assessment and linked to information held by DLUCH and other government departments or health agencies, for example:

  • Interventions for Rough Sleepers
  • Troubled Families Evaluation Data
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to see what benefits you have received and whether you have been employed
  • Ministry of Justice (MoJ) – to see what contact you may have had with the criminal justice system
  • Department for Education (DfE) – to see when your child has been in school, how well they are doing at each Key Stage and whether they are a Child in Need
  • The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – to find out whether you have received treatment for drug or alcohol misuse
  • NHS Digital – to find out whether you have been to A&E and used in-patient and out-patient health services.

DLUCH may have policy questions which require matches to other datasets in the future. ONS has developed a secure research service in which to carry out this work in a way that will not identify individuals or households.

Any information the Council provides to ONS or DLUCH or other government departments will not be used to make any decisions about what benefits you get, services you use, now or in future, or used to identify fraud. It can only be used for the Homeless Data England research.

Complaints or queries

If you have a complaint or query about how we collect and use personal information, if you would like a change to be made to your record or want to object to processing of your information, please contact us using the information in the ‘How to contact us’ section below.

If you would like to make a complaint or are not satisfied with the responses you have received from us after making a request, please contact:

Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate).

How to contact us

If you want to request details of our Corporate Privacy Policy

please see the Data Protection privacy notice – Portsmouth City Council

or contact

Data Protection Officer
Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices,

Email: DataProtection@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Telephone: 023 9282 2251

If you require further information about how we and how we collect and use personal information, you can contact:

Data Protection Officer,
Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices,

Email: dataprotection@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Telephone: 023 9282 2251

Changes to this privacy notice

This privacy notice was last updated on 21 June 2022