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Data Protection & Privacy Policy

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Privacy Notice

The following privacy notice sets out in greater detail the manner in which Birmingham City Council will process personal data.

Using your Personal Data

As a Local Authority, Birmingham City Council collects, holds and processes a considerable amount of information, including personal information about the citizens it serves, to allow it to provide services effectively. The Council recognises that this information is important to the citizens and that it is responsible to the citizens for the information about them it holds. As such, it takes seriously its responsibilities to ensure that any personal information it collects and uses is done so proportionately, correctly and safely.

The Council collects, holds and uses personal data to allow it to provide services on behalf of the citizens of the City of Birmingham. These services include, amongst others, providing schools and educational facilities within the city, providing care and support for vulnerable individuals and their families, maintaining and improving the environment of the city and protecting the citizens generally.

In deciding what personal data to collect, hold and use, the Council is committed to ensuring that it:-

  • "we recognise that any personal data handled by Birmingham City Council is held on behalf of that person and that we ensure we respect that responsibility"
  • "adopt and maintain high standards in respect of the handling and use of that personal data"
  • "we will securely delete any personal data when no longer needed
  • "we keep your personal data secure and safe"
  • "we will not unnecessarily and without good reason infringe the privacy of the citizens of Birmingham"
  • "we consider and address the privacy risks first when we are planning to use or hold personal information in new ways, such as when introducing new systems"
  • "be open with individuals about how we use their information and who we give it to"
  • "make it easy for individuals to access and correct their personal information"
  • "ensure that there is effective safeguards and systems are in place to make sure personal information is kept securely and does not fall into the wrong hands"
  • "provide training to staff who handle personal information and treat it as a disciplinary matter if they misuse or don’t look after personal information properly"
  • "put appropriate financial and human resources into looking after personal information to make sure we can live up to our promises"
  • "regularly check that we are living up to our promises and report on how we are doing".

The Council may disclose personal data to third parties, but only where it is necessary, either to comply with a legal obligation, or where permitted under the Data Protection Act, e.g. where the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of the prevention and/or detection of crime, or where it is necessary to allow a third party working for or on behalf of the Council.

The Council will strive to ensure that any personal data in its care will be kept safe and that where your information is disclosed to a third party, Birmingham City Council will seek to ensure that the third party has sufficient systems and procedures in place to prevent the loss of personal data.

Where the Council seeks to disclose sensitive personal data, such as medical details, to third parties, we will do so only with your prior express consent or where we are legally required to do.

Birmingham City Council will use your personal data for a limited number of purposes, and at all times within the rules set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

We will process personal data for the following purposes:-

  • For the purpose to which you provided the information. e.g. processing information given on a benefit claim form for the purpose of processing your benefit claim, and to monitor the Councils performance in responding to your request.
  • To allow the Council to be able to communicate and provide services appropriate to your needs, e.g. to be able to arrange suitable access arrangements where the citizen has mobility difficulties.
  • To ensure that the council meets its legal requirements, including obligations imposed under the Race Relations Act and Health and Safety Acts.
  • Where necessary for the Councils Law Enforcement functions, e.g. licensing, planning enforcement, trading standards, food safety, etc, where Birmingham City Council is legally obliged to undertake such processing.
  • Where the processing is necessary for Birmingham City Council to comply with its legal obligations, e.g. the prevention and/or detection of crime.
  • To process financial transactions including grants, payments and benefits involving Birmingham City Council, or where Birmingham City Council is acting on behalf of other government bodies, e.g. Department for Works and Pensions.
  • Where you have consented to the processing.
  • Where necessary to protect individuals from harm or injury.
  • Where otherwise permitted under the Data Protection Act 1998, e.g. disclosure to comply with legal obligations. For further information on the Data Protection Act see http://www.ico.gov.uk

Birmingham City Council may also use your personal data, after it has been anonymised, to allow the statistical analysis of data to allow the Council to effective target and plan the provision of services.

Single Customer Record

Birmingham City Council is working on improving how it provides services to the citizens of Birmingham. In order to assist the Council in providing relevant services more quickly when required, and in an effective and efficient manner, it is creating an information hub.

The information hub will contain a single customer record, comprising of your name, address, date of birth and gender, together with some information which can be used to confirm your identity. It is envisaged that the single customer record will record a brief summary of your contact with the Council, e.g. that you called the council about a missed bin collection. The single customer record will not contain extensive details of the services you have received. However, the single customer record will also act as an index to other council databases, but will be able to feed information into a number of council systems, as described below.

List of data sources

This list is continuingly being updated, and an up-to-date list is available on Birmingham City Council's web site (www.birmingham.gov.uk).

This will allow you to notify the council once and have that information feed into a number of council systems, e.g. where you change your address, so that rather than you having to notify each individual council department of the change of address, by reporting the change of address to one council department, a number of council departments will be notified. However, this will only be done with your express consent.

The Single Customer Record will also allow the council to respond to any queries you may have in respect of the provision of services more quickly and efficiently. By linking into a number of council systems, any query or issue can be investigated more quickly. However, any access to such council systems will only take place in response to any query or instruction received by yourself, and only where such access is necessary to answer or respond to the query or issue raised by yourself.

Data Matching

Data Matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Birmingham City Council undertakes Data Matching, where necessary, for a number of purposes, to comply with legal requirements placed on the Council. These include to:-

  • Detect and prevent crime / fraud
  • Assist in Emergency response management.

Detect and Prevent Crime / Fraud

Birmingham City Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We process and share the information provided to us for the following purposes:-

  • Council employee Payroll
  • Electoral Register
  • Council employee Pensions
  • Student Loans
  • Housing
  • Supported Care (Home Residents and Care Home Residents)
  • Transport passes, including residents' parking and blue badges
  • Insurance Claimants
  • Housing and Council Tax Benefits
  • Licences, e.g. market trader/ operator, taxi driver and (new) personal licenses to supply alcohol
  • Council Tax
  • Leisure
  • Property (Planning, Business Rates)
  • Libraries

to prevent and/or detect potential fraud and crime, by both conducting our own Data Matching as well as sharing this information with other public bodies, such as; the Audit Commission, the Department for Work and Pensions, other Local Authorities Revenues and Customs and the Police.

The Audit Commission appoints an auditor to audit the accounts of Birmingham City Council, and also conducts its own data matching exercise.

Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims, transactions, applications and payments to be identified. Where a match is found and two or more records have contradictory or conflicting information, the inconsistency will require further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out. Regardless, the data matching process is a proven way of helping to ensure that records are up to date and accurate.

The Audit Commission currently requires local authorities to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and/or detection of fraud. We are legally required to provide particular sets of Data to the Audit Commission for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in the Audit Commissions guidance which is located at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi.

The use of data by the audit commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data Matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found at http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi/codeofdmp.asp.

For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/nfi/fptext.asp.

For further information about data matching at Birmingham City Council, please contact either Birmingham Audit or the Corporate Data Protection Team

EMERGENCY RESPONSE MANAGEMENT

Data Matching may also be used to assist the council in responding to emergencies or major accidents, by allowing the Council, in conjunction with the emergency services, to identify individuals who may need additional support in the event of e.g. an emergency evacuation.

In addition, further data matching may be undertaken on a directorate level. Please see the respective directorate's web site for any additional directorate specific privacy policies.

Your rights

You have the right to request that Birmingham City Council cease processing your personal data in relation to any council service, including the single customer record. Where possible, Birmingham City Council will seek to comply with your request but there may be some situations where it will not be able to do this, e.g. where Birmingham City Council is required to hold or processing information to comply with a legal requirement. However, this may cause delays or hinder the council's ability to provide services to you.

You are also legally entitled to request access to any records held by Birmingham City Council about yourself, including the single customer record. Again, Birmingham City Council will seek to comply with your request but there may be some situations where it will not be able to do this in full, e.g. where information held was given in confidence. For further information about either requesting access to your personal data or to cease processing personal data please contact DP.Contacts@birmingham.gov.uk.

Whilst Birmingham City Council tries to ensure that any personal data it holds about you is correct, there may be situations where the information it holds is no longer accurate. If this is the case, please contact the department holding the information or the Corporate Data Protection Unit so that any errors can be investigated and corrected. Birmingham City Council will not use your personal data for third party marketing purposes without your prior express consent.

It will not pass any personal data on to third parties, other than those who either process information on our behalf or because of a legal requirement, and it will only do so, where possible, after Birmingham City Council has ensured that sufficient steps have been taken to protect the personal data by the recipient.

Further information

At all times, Birmingham City Council will comply with the legal requirements set out by the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to the collection, holding and processing of your personal data. If you would like to know more or have any concerns about how your information is being processed please contact us.

If you require general information about the data protection act, information is available on the Information Commissioner's web site, www.ico.gov.uk.

Changes to This Privacy notice

Birmingham City Council will continually review and update this privacy notice to reflect changes in our services and feedback from service users, as well as to comply with changes in the law. When such changes occur, we will revise the "last updated" date at the top of this notice. If there are substantial changes to this statement or in how Birmingham City Council will use your personal information, we will advertise the updated notice both on the front page of the Birmingham City Council web site and in Council offices.

Birmingham City Council encourages you to periodically visit the Council's web site to review this notice and to be informed of how Birmingham City Council is protecting your information.

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