Revenues and Benefits privacy notices

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction: privacy notice

Who we are and what we do

We maintain databases to ensure the efficient and effective assessment and payment of:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Discretionary Housing Payments.

Why we need your information and how we use it

The information we collect and the information provided to us by the Department for Work and Pensions is required for the calculation of your Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction claim, an application for a Discretionary Housing Payment award as required by the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

  • We use the information in order to administer Housing Benefit under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and other associated regulations.
  • If Housing Benefit is incorrectly paid to you, we may use the information held to assist in the recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments.
  • We use this information to administer a Discretionary Housing Payment under the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001.
  • We use the information in order to administer our Council Tax Reduction scheme under S13A and Schedule 1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and associated regulations.
  • We will use the information to make you liable (if appropriate) for Council Tax at your address.
  • We have a duty to protect public funds we administer, and may use information held about you for all lawful purposes, including and not limited to the prevention and detection of fraud, and protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.

In order to calculate Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, or decide if a Discretionary Housing Payment award is appropriate, we collect information about:

  • you
  • your partner
  • your children
  • other adults that live in your household

This information includes:

  • name, address, date of birth, National Insurance Number
  • earned income
  • benefits and allowances
  • bank accounts, savings, investments and property ownership
  • rent paid, landlord details
  • immigration details

and any other information required to calculate your Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or decide if a Discretionary Housing Payment award is appropriate

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

By law we must give out some information if we are asked; for example, by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenues and Customs.

We are required by law to participate in National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercises; Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction information may be provided to the Cabinet Office for NFI purposes and will be used for cross-system and cross-authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud.

We will also use the information for the purpose of performing any of our statutory enforcement duties. We will make any disclosures required by law and may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/administering public funds. We may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.

We do not contact your landlord about your claim, but if your Housing Benefit is paid direct to a landlord, we do give details about payment dates and amounts to them.

If you have agreed that we can give information about the progress of your claim to your landlord, we can tell them about the status of your claim if they ask.

We may also ask you to fill in a claim form to make a fresh statement of your circumstances. If we do this, we may tell your landlord too.

If you previously didn't agree to us sharing information about the progress of your claim with your landlord, but you change your mind after you have sent us your claim form (similarly, if you have previously given permission to discuss but now want to revoke that permission), please tell us in writing so we can ensure your information is handled in accordance with your wishes.

If you are a private tenant, we sometimes have to give the Valuation Office Agency Rent Service details about your home and rent.

We will only share your data with other departments within the council or externally where there is a legal basis to do so.

How information about you will be used

We may share information as permitted under the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2012.

The information we hold, including details of any social security benefits you may get, can only be shared for the following reasons:

  • a Disabled Facilities Grant
  • a Discretionary Housing Payment

The information we hold as part of your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction application can be shared with and used by other council services to:

  • help decide whether you qualify for help and how much, if anything, you should pay,
  • help identify and support people who are at risk of becoming homeless,
  • help people living in a council or housing association property and who will be affected by the benefit cap and/or under occupation in the social sector (by telling another part of the council or your landlord, they will be able to advise you what you should do next and provide you with any assistance they can).

We will also share information, where permitted by The Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 relating to universal credit or welfare services with citizens advice bureaux, credit unions, social landlords and relevant registered charities to allow those bodies to use that information to:

  • help a person to make or manage their universal credit claim
  • manage their financial affairs.

We will only share your data with other departments within the council or externally where there is a legal basis to do so.

How long we keep your information

We retain your information for six years after the last payment on the claim. If a claim has an outstanding overpayment, we will retain your information for six years after full repayment of the overpayment.

If the claim has an active fraud investigation, we will retain all information until 6 years after the end of the fraud investigation and conclusion of court action.

How you can access, update or correct your information

As far as your information is concerned, you will find us approaching you to review the data we hold. There is no set pattern but typically every year or so we will review aspects of the data we hold.

The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request'.

The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly.

If you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please contact the relevant department by visiting their pages on our website.

Further information

Northampton Borough Council is the data controller and processor of all personal data. David Taylor is our designated Data Protection Officer (DPO). If you have any questions or concerns as to how your data is processed you can contact him in one of the following ways:

The Data Protection Officer

Northampton Borough Council

The Guildhall

St Giles Square

Northampton

NN1 1DE