Fair Processing of Data

Fair Processing of Data

How the Council uses your information

Whenever you fill out a form or request a service, the Council collects some personal information about you which it holds in order to provide services or administer processes.

Data Protection law requires us to use this information according to a set of Principles. This is known as 'fair processing' and one of the most important aspects of this is that on most occasions we must tell you how we are going to use the information about you which we collect.

Sharing your information

In most cases such information will only be used by the Council staff, but there are some occasions when we have to share your information with other organisations or make it publicly available. These can be:

  • Statutory - Information collected for Public Registers, Planning Applications and the like which must be published or made available on request.
  • Contractual - When we provide a service where we must share some information with another service provider.
  • Investigatory - The police and some government departments or organisations such as the Audit Commission may request personal information to investigate or prevent fraud or serious crime. The Council supplies such information on request.
  • Preventative - We are also empowered to share personal information if we believe it will prevent a crime.  The Council would approach other organisations pro-actively to share such information.
  • Research - We share information such as surveys for research purposes but usually the information will be anonymised so individuals cannot be identified.

Fair Processing 

Although we may share your information we will always make this fair, lawful and proportionate. We won't share more information than we feel is necessary and we will usually let you know who the information is shared with and why. You also have a right to ask how we are using the information you have supplied. Where information is sent electronically we will use secure methods (encryption) to send data.

Benefits and Council Tax

Revenues & Benefits - Sharing Your Information

For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, a local authority is a single organisation which makes its own decisions on how personal information is used. A local authority is made up of many separate departments. Because it is a single organisation, if one local authority department passes personal information to another department, this will not be classed as a disclosure of personal information as defined by the Act.

The Revenues & Benefits Service collects information to enable it to carry out statutory functions:

  • Administration of Housing, Council Tax & Education Benefits
  • Collection of Business Rates
  • Collection of Council Tax
  • Collection of other debts due to the Council

The Revenues & Benefits service will share some of the data it holds with other Council departments that also need the information to carry out their own duties and functions. We will consider the need of the department before we allow them access to the data, and will only give them information where there will be no detriment or unfairness to the individual and also in cases where individuals are likely to expect their local authority to use the most current and complete information available to it to administer its services.

Department How data will be used
Accountancy Will use the data to check incoming payments to Council, in particular where vital details needed to allocate the payment are missing
Asset Management Carries out financial checks to see whether potential tenants are who they say they are and are likely to be able to pay the rent due if they take a lease of council property and helps to demonstrate that we are taking steps to avoid money laundering. The team also ensures that property isn’t let to an individual who has outstanding council tax or business rate arrears with the council
Audit – Internal Deals with auditing the Revenues & Benefits systems and procedures and also require access to data when investigating fraud
Building Control Deals with buildings in the Barrow Borough Council area and will use the information to determine the details of owners of properties within the area if they need to contact them for any reason, e.g. to serve notices on them
Elections

The Electoral Services Section maintains the Electoral Register.

They use the data to verify who is living at a property and when they took up residence, also when clarification is required as to information given on registration forms received in the office or to confirm if a property is empty when no information has been received.
Empty Homes Provides advice and support to return empty homes back into use. Access to data permits check to be made and referrals to be accurate.
Environmental Health Needs access to the data to allow determination of occupier and ownership details of property. This is required in order to facilitate the service of notice under a wide variety of statutes, which are statutory functions of the local authority and enforced by this service.
Property Information Team Matches data to the Corporate Local land & Property Gazetteer
Home Improvement Deals with requests for home improvement grants. Will use the data to check entitlement.
Homeless team Fulfil the Council’s statutory duty to deal with customers who are homeless or needing housing advice. They need to check data to establish if someone is homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Planning Department Negotiates and completes S106 Agreements with developers. The agreements are monitored to ensure that payments are made in accordance with the terms of the legal agreements and Council Tax data is used to check if trigger points for payment have been met.
Streetcare Team  Issue fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling offences. Occasionally they may require confirmation of name and address of persons committing such offences.
Parking Services Parking Officers require access to the data for the identification and pursuit of recipients of parking penalty charge notices.
Planning Enforcement The team carries out Planning Enforcement investigations so will use data to confirm /provide details of the owners/occupiers and also their respective interests in any other properties within the Barrow Borough Council area. This information is vital when serving formal enforcement notices.
Regeneration As part of the departments Project Planning and feasibility work on projects we require to gather baseline information e.g. Planning status, economic trends, population statistics, flood risk, environmental assessments, business activities etc., and this work frequently includes the preparation of various databases of key information such as of sites/properties affected, property owners, occupying businesses etc.