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 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. 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 Act 2018.
You can check our main Citizens Advice policy for how we handle most of your personal information.
What information we ask for
To find out what information we ask for see our National Citizens Advice policy :
How we collect your data
Our data collection procedures are the same as National Citizens Advice policy :
How we use your information
Working on your behalf
When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, a housing issue, etc, we may need to share information with a relevant third party.
For example we may need to share information with the Department of Works and Pensions, your local authority, housing providers, utility companies or creditors in order to help resolve your issue. We will only do this with your Authority.
How we store your information
East Dorset and Purbeck Citizens Advice store your information using national Citizens Advice secure case management systems. In addition, we may store information in our local IT and email systems:
- Google Mail
- Paper based office storage systems
- Secure local digital file store
- Google cloud
Appropriate organisational and technical measures will be used to keep your data safe including password protection and encryption of electronic documents and secure storage of paper records. We will not retain your data longer than is necessary.
How we share your information
Contact us about your information
If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used please contact us (link to contact form)
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
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.