Citizens Advice Stevenage Privacy and Cookie Policy

At Citizens Advice, 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.

This privacy policy sets out how we use and protect any information that you give us when you use this website.We are committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using our services including his website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement. We may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page to view the latest version of our policy. 
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 commercial organisations
 
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 or provide anonymous case studies. 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. You can check our main Citizens Advice policy 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 Stevenage collect your data
We'll collect your data and get your permission by asking you to either:
  • Complete and sign a paper consent form
  • Submit data and tick a consent box online
  • Give agreement over the phone - if you call our Advice line service
Before we ask for your permission, we'll always explain how we use your information. If you're using one of our specialist projects and you've been referred to us from another organisation such as Herts Help, Stevenage Borough Council, they'll send us your information using a referral form. They'll get your permission before sending us your information.

What Citizens Advice Stevenage ask for
We'll only ask for information that's relevant to your problem. Depending on what you want help with, this might include:
  • Your name and contact details - so we can keep in touch with you about your case
  • Personal information - for example about family, work, or financial circumstances
  • Details about services you get that are causing you problems - like energy or post
  • Details of items or services you've bought, and traders you've dealt with
  • Information like your gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation
If you don't want to give us certain information, you don't have to. For example, if you want to stay anonymous we'll only record information about your problem and make sure you're not identified.

How Citizens Advice Stevenage use your information
The main reason we ask for your information is to help solve your problem.
We only access your information for other reasons if we really need to - for example:
  • for training and quality purposes
  • to investigate complaints
  • to get feedback from you about our services
  • to help us improve our services
  • All advisers and staff accessing data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.
At Citizens Advice Stevenage 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.
 
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.
We may share your information with the following:
  • Herts Help
  • The Local Authority
  • Housing Associations
  • The Haven
  • Other debts agencies
  • The Foodbank or the food shed
  • Employers
  • Tribunals
  • HMRC and DWP
  • Creditors
  • Experian
  • Landlords
  • GPs
  • Jobcentre Plus
How Citizens Advice Stevenage store your information
Whether you get advice face to face, over the phone or by email, our adviser will log all your information, correspondence, and notes about your problem into our secure case management systems. Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems.
We keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.
If you use the consumer service, we keep your information for 6 years and then anonymise it. This means that you can no longer be identified from it.
If you use the Extra Help Unit, we keep your information for 3 years from when we close your case. Our case management systems are hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK. Most of our trusted partners store their data securely within the European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law.

How Citizens Advice Stevenage share your information
With your permission, we might share your information with other organisations to help solve your problem or to monitor the quality of our services. Organisations we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law.

Sharing information to solve your problem
If you ask us to act on your behalf we might need to share some of your information with other organisations - we'll always tell you when we do this. For example if we contact your creditors about your debts, we might need to share your name, address and financial details with them. If we refer you to another organisation for more advice, we might share information about your problem with them so they can help you more quickly.
We may share your information with the following:
  • Herts Help
  • The Local Authority
  • Housing Associations
  • The Haven
  • Other debts agencies
  • The Foodbank or the food shed
  • Employers
  • Tribunals
  • HMRC and DWP
  • Creditors
  • Experian
  • Landlords
  • GPs
  • Jobcentre Plus
Contact Citizens Advice Stevenage about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office. Our drop in session times are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 3.30pm. We are closed on Wednesdays.
Email: adminteam@castevenage.org.uk.
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
 
Who’s responsible for looking after your personal information
The national Citizens Advice charity and your local Citizens Advice 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.
Each local Citizens Advice 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.

Using our website
 

Security

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We may use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes.

If you interact with any social media buttons on our website, a cookie will be used to remember your actions. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website. 

This website assumes implied consent for cookies and meets the ICO's guidelines on the EU e-Privacy Directive.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways: 
  • Whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, uncheck any box that requests you to join a mailing list / newsletter or use your details for direct marketing purposes
  • If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us
We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to us.

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible, at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.