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Portsmouth City Council is a registered Data Controller (Registration Number Z5578313).Portsmouth City Council tries 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 Revenues and Benefits Service collects data from you as a local tax payer and/or as a housing benefit customer.

We keep copies of letters/emails and records of telephone calls along with information we receive in connection with your council tax/business rates account, and/or housing benefit claim, from third parties, such as your landlord, DWP, HMRC, your employer and GP, in addition to details of any other parties with a responsibility to provide support in connection to your transactions with the Revenues & Benefits service.

Portsmouth City Council could collect one or more of the following from our service users in respect of service provision by the Revenues & Benefits service.

  • Your name / address / date of birth / national insurance number.
  • Name and date of birth of other household members.
  • Financial information including details of household income and capital (including bank account details)
  • Correspondence addresses and other contact details such as email addresses and telephone numbers.
  • Landlord / managing agent’s name and address.
Why do we collect your information and how do we use it?

Portsmouth City Council uses personal information to:

  • Assess entitlement to housing benefit and/or council tax support to enable the correct amount of entitlement to be awarded.
  • Determine liability for council tax or business rates, and to determine that appropriate discount, exemptions, disregards and reliefs are applied.
  • Collect council tax and business rates liabilities, and to recovery outstanding debts in respect of council tax, business rates and overpaid housing benefit.
  • Determine eligibility in respect of discretionary awards such as discretionary rate relief, hardship relief, council tax support exceptional hardship awards, and discretionary housing payments.
  • Enforce recovery of outstanding debts
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 can do so and this is managed through comprehensive training, regular checks and validation. Anyone that processes personal data on our behalf, such as enforcement agents or debt advisors, are governed by specific contracts to ensure that they do so securely and only for the purposes set out by Portsmouth City Council.

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 given your 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

  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs
  • The Valuation Office Agency
  • Housing Benefit Tribunal Service
  • Magistrates Court
  • Enforcement Agencies
  • The Police
  • TransUnion Bureau (credit reference agency)
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Other relevant departments and government agencies.

We may use third parties to provide support and administer assistance, for example, Northgate Public Services. These third parties may come onto contact with your personal information in the course of providing their services to us. They must provide equivalent levels of security for your personal information as Portsmouth City Council and, where required, are bound by a legal agreement to keep your personal information private, secure and to process it only on the specific instructions of Portsmouth City Council.

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

We may be required to disclose your personal information without your consent for the purposes of protecting the council’s legitimate interests (for example to recover debts that are owed to Portsmouth City Council), to fulfil a legal obligation (such as bringing empty properties back into use) or for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime/fraud or apprehending and prosecuting offenders (for example to the  Police, the Cabinet Office or Department for Work and Pension or as part of the National Fraud Initiative) or where we have a statutory duty to do so. For more information visit our National Fraud Initiative page.

TransUnion Bureau privacy notice.

How long do we keep hold of personal information?

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.

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 our 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.

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) or 01625 545 745 (if you prefer to use a national rate number).

Changes to this privacy notice

This privacy notice was last updated on 17 July 2019.

How to contact us

If you want to request details of our privacy policy and how we collect and use personal information, you can contact:

Data Protection Officer,
Portsmouth City Council,
Civic offices,
Portsmouth,
PO1 2AL

Email: dataprotection@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Telephone: 023 9282 2251

For more information view our data protection privacy notice page.