Privacy notice – benefits

North Somerset Council is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for the purposes of processing personal data.  The Benefits service is administrated on behalf of North Somerset Council by our partner Liberata UK Ltd., 5th Floor, Knollys House, 17 Addiscombe Road, Croydon, CR0 6SR.

The information you provide will be held and used in accordance with the requirements of UK and European data protection law.  The information will form part of your housing benefit and/or council tax support claim, and held for six years after the closure and final action on that claim.

Unless otherwise agreed with you, we will only collect the minimum personal data required to deliver the service, which includes your name, address, email address, contact telephone number(s), national Insurance number, date of birth, household composition, income details and other relevant information needed to process your claim such as your landlord details.  We receive information from the DWP relating to medical conditions, in support of your claim.  We are also required, under the provisions of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and in accordance with Article 10 of GDPR, to be notified if you are remanded in custody for any period of time.

The information will be used for the administration of housing benefit and council tax support; our statutory duty under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 (GDPR Article 6(1)(c) and GDPR Article 9(2)(b)).  We will not use your personal information in a way that may cause you unwarranted nuisance.  Failure to provide the information could result in the incorrect administration of your housing benefit and/or council tax support.

The information provided will be shared with the DWP and HMRC, who have demonstrated that they have a lawful and legitimate interest in the information, due to the official authority they hold.  At no point is your data shared or processed outside of the UK.

We may lawfully disclose information to public sector agencies to prevent or detect fraud or other crime, or to support the national fraud initiatives and protect public funds under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.  Under the conditions of the Digital Economy Act 2017, we may also share personal data provided to us with other public authorities as defined in the Act, for the purposes of fraud or crime detection or prevention, to recover monies owed to us, to improve public service delivery, or for statistical research. In addition we may also disclose information to a third party where we are satisfied that the party has both a legitimate interest in the information and that it would be fair to do so, in accordance with UK and European data protection law. We do not share the information with other organisations for commercial purposes.

The benefits service rely use an automated decision making process, called Risk-Based Verification, to assist in the processing of your claim.  We consider this to be lawful in accordance with Article 22(2)(b) of GDPR, as its purpose is to prevent fraudulent claims.  Without the use of Risk-Based Verification, the speed at which claims are processed would be significantly reduced.

You have the right to see the personal data we process about you, as well as the right of rectification and restriction (to destruction of records only).  For details of how to make such a request, please see our subject access request page.

If you have any questions or concerns about the way we process your personal data, our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at DPO@n-somerset.gov.uk