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Council housing privacy notice

Who we are and what do we do

We manage the Council housing stock and deal with Council tenants and leaseholder issues as well as undertaking day to day repairs, statutory compliance works, and planned maintenance programmes. We also manage the Housing Options Team providing advice and assistance on housing and homelessness issues. We collect and recover income for the Council's housing stock and for households in temporary accommodation. We also facilitate the Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) which is a means-tested grant for home adaptations to Council and private properties across Gateshead.

What type of information is collected about you?

  • We keep financial records about the amount of money you have paid us, any amounts outstanding and action taken to recover money you owe.
  • We hold names and dates of birth, photographic ID and information about your previous housing circumstances to assess housing applications and help prevent tenancy fraud and illegal subletting.
  • We hold contact details for you so we can communicate with you, and to keep you informed about other services we offer which may be useful to you
  • We record information about your needs and requirements to ensure our services are accessible; that we take account of any support needs in our dealings with you; and to improve our communications with you.
  • We record information to assist us in delivering housing management services including reports of anti-social behaviour; complaints; change in circumstances.
  • We hold information about residents from Council and private sector properties to facilitate Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) applications, including Occupational Therapist reports.
  • We may hold recordings of your telephone calls to us, as some calls to our contact centre and lettings are recorded for training and monitoring purposes so we can ensure we are delivering a good service. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased.
  • We may capture your image on our CCTV systems if you visit an estate, office or community facility which is covered by this facility. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased. This data may be shared with the Police in relation to the prevention or detection of crime or fraud.
  • We may carry out market research and customer satisfaction surveys to help us to monitor our performance and to improve our services to our customers.

We will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. In accordance with the Housing Act 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. In some cases, you can refuse to provide your details if you deem a request to be inappropriate. However, you should note that this may impact on our ability to provide some services to you.

Processing of your personal information will be undertaken in accordance with the principles of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. Access to personal information is restricted to authorised individuals on a strictly need to know basis. We will treat your personal information fairly and lawfully and we will ensure that information is:

  • processed for limited purposes
  • kept up-to-date, accurate, relevant and not excessive
  • not kept longer than is necessary
  • kept secure

We are committed to keeping your personal details up to date, and we encourage you to inform us about any changes needed to ensure your details are accurate. To help us to ensure confidentiality of your personal information we will ask you security questions to confirm your identity when you call us. This may also be necessary when we call you.

How we collect information about you

Generally the information we hold will have been provided by you (on application or enquiry forms or when we communicate with you), but we may also hold information provided by third parties / sub-contractors where this is relevant to your housing circumstances (e.g. from social workers and health professionals, doctors and occupational therapists).
Why we need your information

The processing of this information is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation primarily under the Housing Act 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to which we are subject.

We follow the principles of data protection legislation, as well as respecting people's rights to confidentiality and privacy. Personal data can include information supplied to us such as:

  • asking people to fill in their names, addresses and health information on an official form, either online or in paper form;
  • recording and retaining the calls customers make to a call centre, although we do not do this as a matter of course, and on occasions when we do this, customers will be advised in advance.

Who your information can be shared with

When sharing information we will comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act 2018 / the GDPR. Where necessary or required, we may share your personal information as follows:

  • with our contractors, in order to undertake repairs, maintenance or improvement works
  • with third party service providers and sub-contractors, in connection with services performed on our behalf. For example, if we use a mailing house to distribute our newsletters, or if we use a sub-contractor to carry out repairs to a property.
  • our relationships with such providers are governed by our contracts with them which include strict data sharing and confidentiality protocols.
  • with market research companies to carry out customer satisfaction surveys to help to improve the services you receive
  • with landlords, housing associations and trusts, in connection with tenancy references and associated enquiries.
  • with community partners in connection with the delivery of co-ordinated local services.
  • with utility companies (and their representatives) and Council Tax Offices, to ensure billing details are correct.
  • with credit reference agencies and debt collection agencies, in connection with some housing applications and in relation to any outstanding charges.
  • with local authorities and government departments, as necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions.
  • with police and other relevant authorities (e.g. Probation Service, Department of Work & Pensions, HM Revenues & Customs) in relation to the prevention or detection of crime and fraud; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders and the assessment or collection of tax or duty.
  • with other statutory organisations, e.g. social services and health authorities, as necessary for exercising statutory functions.

This list is not exhaustive as there are other circumstances where we may also be required to share information e.g. in order to meet our legal obligations. We will use all information held by us for the purposes of law enforcement, regulation and licensing, criminal prosecutions and court proceedings.

How long we will keep your information

We will only hold your records during the period of our relationship with you and for a set period afterwards to allow us to meet our legal obligations including resolving any follow up issues between us (for example if you live in one of our properties we will hold information about you for the duration of your tenancy. If you move and are no longer a resident we will usually keep records about you for up to 12 years).

The  Information Asset Register lists the retention periods, who we will share this data with and legal basis for processing the information.

Marketing and e-newsletters

Gateshead Council always acts upon your choices around what type of communications you want to receive and how you want to receive them. Where you have signed up for one of our newsletters, we use email newsletters to inform you of what we're doing, news and events.

Tools may be used to help us improve the effectiveness of our communications with you, including tracking whether the emails we send are opened and which links are clicked within a message. This helps us to improve and refine future email marketing around our campaigns and make sure all our emails are relevant and useful as possible.

You have a choice about whether or not you wish to receive information from us. If though you no longer want to receive our e-newsletters, then you can do this by clicking the unsubscribe link on every email. You can find out more on our email marketing privacy notice.

Business intelligence, profiling and automated-decision making

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

Protecting your information

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice

Your information choice and rights

Please see the relevant section of our Corporate privacy notice.

Information Commissioner's Office

The Information Commissioner is the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights.

If you would like to know more about your rights under the Data Protection law, and what you should expect from us, visit the Information Commissioner's website.

If you have any concerns regarding our privacy practices or about exercising your Data Protection rights, you may contact the Information Commissioner's Office:

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

0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 745
casework@ico.org.uk