At Citizens Advice North Somerset we collect and use your personal information to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives.
We only ask for the information we need. We always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us, explain why we need it and treat it as confidential.
When we record and use your personal information we:
- only access it when we have a good reason;
- only share what is necessary and relevant;
- don’t sell it to anyone.
At times we might use or share your information without your permission. If we do, we’ll always make sure there’s a legal basis for it. This could include situations where we have to use or share your information:
- to comply with the law – for example, if a court orders us to share information. This is called ‘legal obligation’;
- to protect someone’s life – for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office. This is called ‘vital interests’;
to carry out our legitimate aims and goals as a charity – for example, to create statistics for our national research. This is called ‘legitimate interests’.
- for us to carry out a task where we’re meeting the aims of a public body in the public interest – for example, delivering a government or local authority service. This is called ‘public task’.
- to carry out a contract we have with you – for example, if you’re an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you. This is called ‘contract’.
- to defend our legal rights – for example, sharing information with our legal advisors if there was a complaint that we gave the wrong advice.
We handle and store your personal information in line with the law – including the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.
You can check our policy page for how we handle most of your personal information.
This page covers how we, as your local charity, handle your information locally in our offices.
How Citizens Advice North Somerset collects your data
In addition to our data processing activities as part of the national Citizens Advice network, we also handle your information locally. We hold paper data and on electronic systems within our offices.
Coronavirus: Test and Trace if you get advice in person
If you get advice in person we'll ask for your:
- email address or telephone number
We'll keep this information in our secure case management system.
We might be asked to share your name, contact details and the date of your visit with Test and Trace or local public health organisations. This is to help track cases of coronavirus. They might contact you if they think you're at risk after your visit. For example because someone getting advice at the same time has tested positive for coronavirus. You can find out more about Test and Trace in England on GOV.UK or Test and Trace in Wales on GOV.WALES.
We'll never share information about the reason for your visit.
If you can't give contact details, for example if it's not safe for you to do so, we'll still be able to give you advice in person.
Unlike most situations, we won't ask for your consent before we share your contact details. If you don't want us to share this information you can tell your local office you want to opt out.
We’re doing this to help keep you and the public safe. This is a ‘legitimate interest’ of Citizens Advice.
We won't share your contact details with anyone other than Test and Trace or a local public health organisation.
If we share your information we'll let you know, and offer further support.
Working on your behalf
When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with that third party. Examples of third parties might be North Somerset Council, DWP, Alliance Homes, Wessex Water and other agencies we commonly work with to resolve issues on your behalf.
How Citizens Advice North Somerset stores your information
We store information securely within our offices at 39 Oxford Street, Weston-super-Mare, England, BS23 1TN and also electronically in our private computer network. We temporarily store data in webforms through our website for those clients using the email advice service.
How Citizens Advice North Somerset shares your information
We will ask for your explicit consent before we share your information with other agencies and we will only share your information where it is necessary to do so.
We share information in order to progress your advice issues in a number of ways. The agencies that we share your information with will vary depending on your circumstances and the services we are providing to you. The agencies that we may include are as follows:
- Money advice and debt casework – your creditors, your housing provider, your energy suppliers, DWP, North Somerset Council, Wessex Water, HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
- Welfare benefits advice and casework – DWP, Jobcentre, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, your GP or relevant health worker.
- Referrals – we assist you by making a referral to a foodbank, the Local Assistance Scheme or another specialist support agency.
We will always get your permission to share your information.
Contact Citizens Advice North Somerset about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.
Telephone: 01934 836201 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
You can contact us to:
- find out what personal information we hold about you
- correct your information if it’s wrong, out of date or incomplete
- request we delete your information
- ask us to limit what we do with your data – for example, ask us not to share it if you haven’t asked us already
- ask us to give you a copy of the data we hold in a format you can use to transfer it to another service
- ask us stop using your information.
Subject Access requests
- Individuals have the right to access and receive a copy of their personal data, and other supplementary information.
- This is commonly referred to as a subject access request or ‘SAR’.
- Individuals can make SARs verbally or in writing, including via social media.
- A third party can also make a SAR on behalf of another person.
- We do not charge a fee to deal with a request.
- A response will be made within one month of receipt of the request.
- The time limit may be extended by a further two months if the request is complex or if a number of requests are received from an individual.
- A reasonable search will be made for the requested information.
- The information will be provided in an accessible, concise and intelligible format.
- The information will be disclosed securely.
- We can refuse to provide the information if an exemption or restriction applies, or if the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive.
Such requests can be submitted personally, electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post. ID will be verified before a response is given.
Who’s responsible for looking after your personal information
The national Citizens Advice charity and Citizens Advice North Somerset operate a system called Casebook to keep your personal information safe. This means they’re a ‘joint data controller’ for your personal information that’s stored in our Casebook system.
Citizens Advice North Somerset is an independent charity, and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity. The Citizens Advice membership agreement also requires that the use of your information complies with data protection law.
You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner’s website.