Benefits: how we use your data

Benefits privacy notice

Who we are and what we do

The Customer Accounts Department is part of the Revenues and Benefits Service and is responsible for processing and paying Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payment and Free School Meals.

Customer Accounts
Revenues and Benefits
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
SG17 5TQ

Why we need your information and how we use it

We are required by legislation to process benefits for those who are entitled. The information we collect and the information provided to us by the Department for Work and Pensions is required for the calculation of your Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payment or Free School Meals.

The relevant legislations applicable are as follows:

We will use the information to find out if you are liable (if appropriate) for Council Tax at your address.

We may use your information to help collect debts like Council Tax.

We may use the information held to assist in the recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments.

What type of information is collected from you?

In order to calculate Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payment and Free School Meals we collect information about, you, your partner, your children and other adults that live in your household.

This information includes; name, address, date of birth, national insurance number, earned income, benefits and allowances, bank accounts, savings, investments, property ownership, rent paid, tenancy agreements, landlord details, immigration details, school attended by children, phone numbers, email addresses and any other information deemed necessary such as statement of accounts for self-employed people.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

We share information as required in legislation for the administration of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payment and Free School Meals. This includes:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • The Valuation Tribunal
  • Enforcement agents

We will make any disclosures required by law or under any legal gateway or Data Protection exemption to other bodies such as for detecting or preventing fraud, apprehension or prosecution of offenders, or auditing purposes. We may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.

We will share information with a third party where you have given us written permission to do so.

Where your Housing Benefit is paid direct to your landlord, we will share limited information with the landlord about payment dates and the amounts of payment.

How information about you will be used for other council services

The information held by the council as part of your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support application can be shared with and used by other council services to:

  • help decide whether you qualify for help and how much, if anything, you should pay
  • help identify and support people who are at risk of becoming homeless
  • help identify families who may benefit from the Supporting Families programme (known as the Troubled Families Programme)
  • help people living in a council or housing association property and who will be affected by the benefit cap and / or under occupation in the social sector (by telling another part of the council or your landlord: They will be able to advise you what you should do next and provide you with any assistance they can)

How long we keep your information for

We will only keep your information for the minimum period necessary. The information outlined in this privacy notice will be kept after all action on your claim has finished and the period required by the council for legal and audit purposes has passed. All information will be held securely and destroyed under confidential conditions.

Your data will be securely held electronically and will not be stored in a country outside the UK. All paper records containing your personal information will be held securely in our filing systems.