This notice provides details of what information we collect from you, what we do with it, and who it might be shared with.
We will keep your information safe and secure. We will have systems, processes and training designed to achieve this.
Identity and contact details of the controller and the data protection officer
Falkirk Council is the data controller. You can contact the data protection officer at:
Frequently asked questions
Why do we collect this information?
The information is being collected for the following purpose:
- The assessment and administration of Housing Benefit (public sector) and Local Housing Allowance (private sector) (HB, LHA)
- The assessment and administration of Council Tax Reduction (CTR)
- If you consent, to check your eligibility for concessions for services under the Council’s Charging and Concessions Policy.
The legal basis for each purpose is set out below:
|Performance of a contract
|Task carried out in the public interest
The main statutory provisions are:
- Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
- Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Regulations 2021
What information do we collect about you?
We need to gather your personal data to allow us to determine whether or not you need further financial assistance with your Housing Costs (Rent) or Council Tax.
To administer HB and CTR we need to gather:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your National Insurance Number
- Your partners name
- Their date of birth
- Their National Insurance Number
- Details of other people in the household (ie children or other adults who live with you including their dates of birth, National Insurance number, income and circumstances)
- Your address
- Contact telephone, email
- Bank details
- Your income and capital
If you rent your property from a private landlord or Registered Social Landlord we are required to ask for additional information about:
- Your tenancy type
- The length of the tenancy
- The amount of rent you are due to pay each week/fortnight/4 weeks/month
- The type of property you are renting, including the number of bedrooms, any shared facilities, communal areas
- Any additional charges, ie heating, light
- A rent book or evidence of rent being paid
- Whether you are in arrears with your rent
Legislation allows us to ask for other supporting information we consider reasonably necessary to reach a decision on your application and any failure to provide the requested information may result in your claim being suspended then terminated.
In addition to your application, we also keep electronic copies of supporting evidence you provide, communications we have with you, details of our assessment and decision notices we issue as well as evidence we have received from third parties.
Where do we collect information from?
We collect the information we need to assess your entitlement directly from you when you complete either your application form or a change in circumstance form. Where necessary, we request follow up information from you directly.
To verify the information you give us, we can also check other information held by Falkirk Council about you. We also have access to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Customer Information System (CIS), which we can use to verify details of your income, and in some circumstances, the income of the other people in your household.
We can also access the DWP Wider Use of Real Time Information (WuRTI) and Verification of Earnings & Pensions (VEPS) systems to verify earnings and pension data from Her Majesty's Revenues & Customs.
Who might we share your information with?
As well as assessing and awarding HB and CTR we also use the information you provide to ensure that entitlement to other welfare benefits and support has been maximised. As we have a duty to protect public funds, we may check and share your information within the Council for verification purposes with:
- Welfare Rights Team
- Scottish Welfare Fund team
- Residential and Non-Residential Home Care Assessments
- Discretionary Housing Payments Team
- Blue Badge Assessment Team
- Homeless Team
Where you consent, we will use the data provided for CTR to check your eligibility for concessions under the Council’s Charging and Concessions Policy.
We may also share your information with other organisations where we are required to do so for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime.
Will we send your information outwith the UK?
We do not transfer your information outwith the UK. If we were to make such transfers, it would only be with appropriate safeguards.
How long do we keep hold of your information?
We keep your information as long as required by law or by our business requirements. We have a Business Classification Scheme in place which sets out the types of records we hold, and how long we hold them - you can access the relevant part of the scheme below.
What are my rights in relation to the information held about me?
You have the following rights:
- To see any information held about you by making a subject access request.
- To withdraw consent at any time, where the legal basis for processing is consent.
- To data portability, where the legal basis for processing is (i) consent or (ii) performance of a contract.
- To request rectification or erasure of your information, where data protection legislation allows this.
Do I have a right to complain about the way information has been used?
If you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, please let us know and we will try to resolve this. If you are still concerned, you can contact the Information Commissioner:
Do I have to provide my personal data to you?
You do not have to provide us with your personal data. However, if you do not we will be unable to assess or pay you HB.
Do you use any automated processes to make decisions about me?
Yes - we use automated decision making tools to process some changes to existing claims. A data protection impact assessment was carried out to ensure the protection of individuals data.
We use information received from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), in relation to changes to DWP benefits in payment or just awarded, which can automatically amend claimants' entitlement.
Some of the data provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through their automated transfer to local authority systems (ATLAS) is imported electronically into our core benefits system. Claims are then re-assessed without human involvement. Notification letters to customers and landlords following these re-assessments are also generated automatically.
The automation is used for consistency and the efficient processing of claims and to ensure your current details are used so that you receive the correct amount of benefit / support.
This notice was last updated in January 2023.