Housing Benefit / Council Tax Reduction

Who will process Your Information?

The personal data you provide to us through any of our forms relating to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction  and also any personal data we collect about you (“Your Information”) will be processed by East Dunbartonshire Council 12 Strathkelvin Place, Kirkintilloch, G66 1TJ for the administration of any benefits, reductions or discounts you are entitled to.

You can contact the Council on 0300 123 4510 or customerservices@eastdunbartonshire.gov.uk.

The Council’s Data Protection Officer is Karen Donnelly who can be contacted on the below noted details:

12 Strathkelvin Place, Kirkintilloch, G66 1TJ

Email: DPO@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

Tel: 0300 123 4510

Why will Your Information be processed?

Your Information will be processed to help administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. It will be used to assess awards for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction and also to assist you getting any relevant discounts from Council Tax which you are entitled to. Your Information may also be shared with other departments within East Dunbartonshire Council or other organisations for the same purposes and also to:

  • help decide if you are entitled to discretionary housing payment;
  • identify if you could be affected by the benefit cap;
  • identify if you may be affected by welfare reform changes;
  • check the information we hold is accurate;
  • prevent and/or detect crime; and
  • protect public funds.

Other organisations may include bodies responsible for auditing or administering  public funds, other councils, public sector agencies, governmental departments, regulatory and law enforcement bodies, bodies carrying out data matching exercises and other private companies or entities (such as credit reference agencies, service providers/contractors and/or partner bodies).  We may also collect special category information from you, such as information about your health. This is to allow an assessment of whether you are entitled to any reductions based on health grounds.

What is the legal basis for us to process Your Information?

The legal basis for processing Your Information is:

  • Our legal obligations under the following legislation:
    • Social Security Administration Act 1992
    • Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
    • Local Government Finance Act 1992
    • Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Regulations 2012
    • the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 ((to ensure proper administration of the Council’s financial affairs) including the detection and/or prevention of fraud) and (furnishing of information and documents to the Accounts Commission)
    • the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 (disclosure of data to Audit Scotland for data matching)
       
  • The following task carried out in the public interest:
    •  to accurately administer and award Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction;
    • the prevention and detection of fraud in relation to any of the benefits or reductions lawfully due

Do I have to provide my information?

Without the correct information you may not receive the correct award of housing benefit and we may charge you the incorrect rate of Council Tax as you may not receive the reductions or discounts from Council Tax which you are entitled to.

If we ask you to provide specific information in order to assess the correct amount of benefit or reduction payable and you do not provide this information we may not be able to work out any awards or you may have to pay back benefits or reduction already granted.

Deliberately providing false information in order to gain benefit or reduction is also a crime.

How do you collect information about me?

Some of the information East Dunbartonshire Council hold about you may come from third party sources.

For example, the Department of Work and Pensions (“DWP”) may share information about benefits you receive direct to us in order to ensure the accurate assessment of any Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction you receive including:

  • State Benefit award information;
  • Information about State Benefit claimants.

Such information includes: i) your name, date of birth, National Insurance Number; ii) the type of income received from the DWP or HMRC, and iii) the address the claim is made at and your contact details.

Revenue and Customs officials may also provide information they hold about you to the Council relating to Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit. The types of information provided would include details of your earned income, works pensions and tax credits. This information can be provided for the purposes of:  determining an application for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction, reviewing or appealing a determination, preventing or detecting fraud or error in connection with housing benefit and/or council tax reduction or as a result of an attempt to obtain fraudulently.

How long will you keep my Information?

East Dunbartonshire Council uses the Scottish Council of Archives Records Retention Schedules to manage the amount of time the Council keeps Your Information. Further information on these can be found at: https://www.scottisharchives.org.uk/resources/scarrs/

 If you are searching SCARRS the Reference which covers Your Information is: 12.005.002 and 12.005.003

We will hold Your Information for a period of six years from the date when you are no longer liable to pay Council Tax to East Dunbartonshire Council (this includes any period in which arrears remain unpaid or where a credit remains on your account). Your information will be retained for the minimum period necessary. Your Information will be destroyed under confidential conditions after this period.

Who will we share Your Information with?

Your Information will be accessed by Council Staff who need to do so to administer any Council Tax Reductions and Housing Benefit, you are entitled to. If such administration is provided on the Council’s behalf by an external agency, that agency will have access to Your Information.

The Council is also required to ensure proper administration of its funds so details will be checked internally for fraud prevention and verification purposes. Information is also analysed internally in order to provide management information, inform service delivery reform and similar purposes.

Your Information may also be shared with other departments within the Council, bodies responsible for auditing or administering  public funds, other councils, public sector agencies, governmental departments regulatory and law enforcement bodies, bodies carrying out data matching exercises and other private companies or entities (such as credit reference agencies, service providers/contractors and/or partner bodies).

 The Council will also generally comply with requests for specific information from other regulatory and law enforcement bodies where this is necessary and appropriate.

Set out below are examples of who we share your information with and why:

Example 1:

  • East Dunbartonshire Council’s accounts are required to be audited by the Accounts Commission. Your Information may be shared with the Accounts Commission or any auditors they appoint as part of the audit under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

Example 2:

  • Audit Scotland may require East Dunbartonshire Council to take part in data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud and other crime under the terms of section 26C the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
  • Data matching involves comparing sets of data held by one body, against other records held by another body. Your Information may therefore be used as part of a data matching exercise.

The data matching by Audit Scotland allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments made to or by East Dunbartonshire Council to be identified. The inclusion of personal data within a data matching exercise does not mean that any specific individual is under suspicion. Where a match is found it indicates that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation

Example 3:

  • Your Information may be shared with DWP and/or Revenues & Customs Officers to confirm if the information we hold is accurate.  East Dunbartonshire Council may therefore share your bank and employment details with these organisations to ensure claims are administered accurately.

Example 4:

  • East Dunbartonshire subscribes to a tracing system called LoCTA. This system allows subscribing local authorities to trace individuals and prevent duplicate claims by searching a subset of all subscribing local authorities’ revenues systems.
     
  • The system helps East Dunbartonshire Council detect individuals making claims they are not entitled to across different local authority areas.
     
  • Your Information is included in this system and is shared with other local authorities to allow them to access the trace search.
     
  • The information held about you on this system includes:
     
    • Details of the Authority(s) where you have been identified as living
    • Full name
    • Full address including postcode
    • Move in date
    • Move out date
    • Forwarding address
    • A list of additional occupants at the address
       
  • LoCTA Search is operational over the Public Services Network (PSN) ensuring that access is only made available to subscribing local authorities securely.
     
  • East Dunbartonshire can share Your Information with other local authorities in this way under The Serious Crime Act 2007; to ensure we prevent and detect fraud.

Example 5

  • Your Information may be shared with the Council’s suppliers in order to allow them to provide ancillary services to the Council e.g. Your Information may be passed to the printers used by the Council who produce benefit decision notices or print documents which are then sent out to you.

Will we transfer Your Information outside the UK?

In general we do not transfer personal data outside the UK and on the rare occasions when we do, we will inform you.

We will only transfer data outside the UK when we are satisfied that the party which will handle the data and the country it is being processed in will provide adequate safeguards for personal privacy.

Your Rights

You have the right to:

  • Access Personal Data Held About You;

You have the right to access the personal data the Council holds about you. This right is called a Subject Access Request, often referred to as a SAR.

You can receive a copy of your personal data held by the Council, details on why it is being used, who it has been/ will be shared with, how long it will be held for, the source of the information and if the Council uses computer systems profile or take decisions about you. Details on how to submit a Subject Access Request can be found here. https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/council/data-protection/subject-access-request

  • Rectification of  Personal Data;

You have the right to request the Council correct any personal data held about you that is inaccurate.

  • Erasure of Personal Data

You have the right to request that the Council deletes personal data about you. This is known as the right to be forgotten.

You can request erasure of personal data in certain circumstances for example: i) the personal data is no longer necessary for the purpose it was collected; ii) it is  being processed unlawfully; iii) the personal data has to be erased due to a legal obligation the Council is subject to.

  • Restrict Processing

You have the right to request that the Council restrict processing your personal data if: i) you think the personal data is inaccurate; ii) the processing is unlawful; iii) the Council no longer need the personal data but you may need it for legal purposes; or iii) you object to the Council processing for the performance of a public interest task or the official authority vested in the Council.

  • To Object

You have the right to object to the Council’s use of your personal data. The Council will have to demonstrate why it is appropriate to continue to use your personal data.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way East Dunbartonshire Council has processed Your Information you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office:

Head Office Address:  Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

Regional Scottish Office Address: 45 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7HL

Tel: 0303 123 1115

Email: scotland@ico.org.uk

You should however raise any issues regarding Your Information with the Council’s Data Protection Officer in the first instance.

The Council does not use profiling or automated decision-making processes for administering housing benefit and/or Council Tax reduction. Some processes are semi-automated (such as the data matching as set out above) but a human decision maker will always be involved before any revised decision is reached in relation to you.