Last Reviewed: January 2021
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.
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
There are situations when we may share information about your case without your consent – however we would always ensure that there is a legal basis for sharing. Here are some examples of situations;
- 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 ‘non client specific’ statistics for our national research. This is called ‘legitimate interests’
- 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 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 EFD ask for permission to collect your data
∙ If we speak to you over the phone, we will explain how we use your information and ask for your permission to store it.
∙ If we speak to you via Webchat, you will be asked to give consent prior via the pre chat survey before speaking with an Assessor.
∙ If you are referred to us via another Citizens Advice, referring organisation or affiliated project, your consent will be collected and/or be recorded using a tick online consent box on ‘Casebook’, our Citizens Advice Case Management system.
What information will we 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 EFD Citizens Advice 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 your about our services
∙ to help us improve our services
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 will only share information with your consent.
We regularly work with the Department for Works and Pension, Essex District Council, HM Revenue and Customs, Utility Companies, Housing Associations, Credit Card and Loan companies, Banks and GP practices.
How EFD Citizens Advice 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 system – called Casebook.
How EFD Citizens Advice share your information
Contact EFD Citizens Advice about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.
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 to stop using your information
You can also complain to the ICO if you are unhappy with how we have used your data.
The ICO’s address:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Helpline number: 0303 123 1113
ICO website: https://www.ico.org.uk
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.