Benefits privacy notice
1 Council contact details
1.1 West Northamptonshire Council
One Angel Square
Tel: 0300 126 7000
2 Information that we hold
2.1 West Northamptonshire Council collects and holds personal information about you, and those in your household to assess your eligibility for housing benefit and/or council tax support. This information will include some or all of the following categories which may relate to you as the applicant or other individuals within your household:
- date of birth
- contact details such as telephone number/s email address/es
- household information
- National Insurance Number
- financial details such as household income and outgoings
- bank details
- medical or health data
- immigration details
3 How the information is obtained
3.1 Most of the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you as part of the application process. We may receive other information from third parties such as the Department for Work and Pensions or your landlord.
3.2 What allows us to process your data?
We rely on UK GDPR Article 6(1)(c) as we have legal obligations to process your information. The legislation which sets out our obligations is as follows:
- Local Government Finance Act 1992 and 2012
- Welfare Reform Act 2012
- Localism Act 2011
- Social Security Contribution & Benefits Act 1992
- Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
- Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006
- Council Tax Support Reduction Scheme
- The prevention / detection of crime, including false representation in accordance with the Fraud Act
Where we process special category data, such as medical or health data, the council relies upon GDPR (Article 9(2)(b)) for the purposes of social security and social protection law.
If you wish to permit the Council to discuss your benefit claim directly with your landlord, we will need your consent to do so. You do not have to agree to this and it is not a condition of your benefit claim. If you provide your consent and subsequently wish to withdraw it, you can do so at any time by contacting the Benefits Team directly or the Data Protection Officer.
4 What we do with the information
4.1 We use this information to:
- assess your entitlement to benefits, discounts and exemptions;
- award or process payments to which you are entitled
- identify any additional help you may be able to get
- send reports to Government Departments
- correspond with you
- manage overpayments
We may also use your information within the Council to:
- keep the electoral register up to date
- license private rented properties
- collect debts owed to the Council
- for other council services where the law allows or requires it, or to improve the service you receive
4.2 Who do we share your information with?
We will only share information with other organisations where it is necessary, either to comply with a legal obligation, or where permitted under Data Protection legislation. This could include the need to disclose sensitive or confidential information such as medical details to other organisations.
We may share your information with other organisations including:
- Department for Works and Pensions
- HM Revenues and Customs
- National Audit Office
- The Cabinet Office (who are a government department) – for the purposes of a data matching exercise called the National Fraud Initiative - The purpose of the exercise is to detect fraud and error - The Council is legally required to participate in this exercise
- the Police
- your employer – if we need reclaim any overpayments made to you
- Your landlord – if payments are made directly to them
- Registered Social Landlords – If you are affected by the benefit cap or are under occupying your home
- The Tribunal Service – after an appeal against a Housing Benefit decision
- The Valuation Service – after an appeal against a Council Tax Support decision
- software suppliers
- enforcement agents engaged by the council and/or the courts in relation to outstanding monies owed
- other teams within the council or other local authorities where there is a lawful basis to do so
It may also be necessary to share your information with credit reference agencies to help prevent and detect fraud and to confirm who is resident at an address. The Council may utilise the services of Experian to help determine the best course of recovery action.
5 How long we keep your information for and how we securely dispose of it after use
5.1 We keep your personal information for all aspects of processing in line with the council’s retention schedules.
5.2 We will securely dispose of your information in line with the Council's Retention Schedules.
6 How we store your information
6.1 Your information is securely stored on the council’s systems.
7 Your data protection rights
7.2 Please be aware that your rights may differ depending on the lawful basis for processing your personal data.
8 Who to contact
8.1 If you would like further information about how we use your personal information, or you wish to exercise one of your data rights or you wish to complain about the use of your personal information please contact the Data Protection Officer.
8.2 If you are still dissatisfied once you have contacted the Data Protection Officer, you have the right to complain to the ICO.
The ICO’s address:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Helpline number: 0303 123 1113
9 Changes to this privacy notice
9.1 Privacy notices are live documents, which will be updated or revised in line with legislation.
Last updated 06 July 2023