Housing Options & Homelessness

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2. How the Housing Options Team use your personal information.

What and whose personal information do we hold?

We hold information about you as you are seeking housing advice and assistance on your housing situation. The types of information we collect and use will typically include:

  • contact details, including name, address, date of birth, NI numbers telephone numbers and email address
  • information in respect of the family make up, including all the personal details of the household that will make up the homelessness application
  • your address history 
  • financial income and debt details
  • tenancy related debt and possession proceedings
  • medical conditions
  • criminal convictions
  • type and size of accommodation needed (number of beds any adaptations required etc)
  • your preferred areas of housing choice
  • employment details
  • support needs 
  • details of any schools, training providers you use
  • current landlord / mortgage provider details
  • any other relevant information to carry out our assessment

We have a legal obligation to obtain this information to perform our public task and in some instances where there is a risk of harm, a vital interest to obtain and hold this information in accordance with Articles 6(1)(d) and 9(2)(g) of General Data Protection Regulations.

You may also be asked for your religion, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.  This information may be declined unless it directly impacts your current or future housing situation and we need this to provide you the appropriate housing advice.

Where we get your information from

Personal information is obtained directly from you when you approach us for assistance. Information is gathered and recorded electronically during a face to face interviews, by telephone, letter, emails and any other correspondence from you.

We also receive information from other Council Services and third party organisations and companies in order to verify the information that the you have provided to us during the our statutory housing advice and homelessness application.  We sometimes hold information provided by third parties where this is relevant to your housing circumstances for example from health professionals.

How your information will be used

The Housing Advice Service uses the personal information listed above to:

  • assess you and your household’s housing needs
  • verify the information that’s been provided to us to confirm eligibility for assistance and to give the best advice based on your circumstances
  • to assist you by giving the most appropriate housing related advice to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness
  • to provide legal advice on your occupational, tenure and other legal rights
  • work with trusted partner organisations to find suitable accommodation
  • information may be shared with housing providers to secure accommodation 
  • ensure we carry out our legal obligations
  • Housing need is assessed through the application process and applicants are placed into bands according to their responses. In most case this is done by a Housing Officer but there are some instances where responses will create automatic banding on the system which is then reviewed by a Housing Officer

What is the legal basis for the use of this information?

Data Protection law says that we are allowed to use and share personal information only where we have a proper and lawful reason for doing so.

Our lawful basis for processing personal information is order to provide Housing Options service is:

To undertake our official Council duties and to satisfy our legal obligations under but not limited to the following legislation

  • Homeless Reduction Act 2017
  • Housing Act 1996
  • Housing Act 2004
  • Protection from Eviction Act 1977
  • Homeless Reduction Act 2002  
  • Localism Act 2011
  • Children Act 1989 and 2004
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Human Rights 1998
  • and any other associated regulations statutory Guidance and codes of guidance

We have a legal obligation to obtain this information to perform our public task and in some instances where there is a risk of harm, a vital interest to obtain and hold this information in accordance with Articles 6(1)(d) and 9(2)(g) of General Data Protection Regulations.

Who we share your data with

The Housing Options service shares personal information with other Council Services and trusted partner organisations who have a mutual interest in preventing homeless. We do this for the purposes listed above. These organisations may include but are not limited to

Other Local Authority services:  

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax
  • Social Services
  • Education 
  • Community Safety
  • Legal Services

Third party organisations and government agencies: 

  • The Department of Work and Pensions
  • Health Authorities
  • The Police
  • Probation Services 
  • Housing providers
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Other:

  • Letting Agents
  • Mortgage companies
  • Landlords
  • Support providers such as domestic abuse services, substance misuse, outreach teams, money advice, young person support services and family enabling services

There may also be instances where our system suppliers will need to access an individual’s personal information to ensure that information is being held securely and accuracy is maintained. This will be on a strict need to know basis and all contracts have confidentiality clauses built in.

Where we engage third parties to process personal data on our behalf, they do so on the basis of written instructions, are under a duty of confidentiality, and are obliged to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of data.

We will not disclose any personal information to any other third parties unless required to do so by law or where it is appropriate to support our duty to protect public funds and / or detect and prevent fraud or other criminal activity or safeguarding requirements.

We will not transfer your information to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) unless this is necessary, and only to countries which have sufficient safeguards in place to protect information.

We will not share your information with third parties for commercial or marketing purposes.

How long do we keep hold of your information and is it secure?

We will only retain your personal information for as long as we are required to do so by law and the purpose we collected it for. The retention period is either dictated by law or by our discretion. Once your data is no longer needed it will be securely and confidentially destroyed.

Your information will be kept for seven years from the date of your last contact with the service and will then be deleted.
Your data is stored securely on our systems and accessed only by authorised officers using their own username and password created in line with pre-defined user credentials.  Personal data is also held in electronic files on the council’s network drives.  These are only accessible through personal logon credentials and access privileges to specific drives. Access to our council sites require a personal electronic pass to access staff only areas.

Your information, your rights

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 gives you important rights, including the right to access the personal information the services hold about you.

You may request a copy of the information held on our systems through a subject access request by emailing dataprotection@teignbridge.gov.uk.

Changes in your circumstances

You must notify us immediately if there are any changes in your personal details so we can maintain an accurate and up to date record of your information.

Your rights and access to your information

You have rights under the data protection legislation:

  • to access your personal data, known as a subject access request;
  • to be provided with information about how your personal data is processed;
  • to have your personal data corrected;
  • to have your personal data erased in certain circumstances;
  • to object to or restrict how your personal data is processed;
  • to have your personal data transferred to yourself or to another business in certain circumstances;
  • you have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will self-report breaches to the Information Commissioner.

Should you wish to exercise any of your rights, you should contact the Data Protection Officer dataprotection@teignbridge.gov.uk

If you have any concerns

You have a right to complain to us if you think we have not complied with our obligation for handling your personal information by contacting the Data Protection Officer in the first instance.

If you are not satisfied with the council’s response you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner Office:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Email: casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk
Or use their online tool for reporting concerns.