Privacy policies


Client privacy policy

Summary

At Citizens Advice Reading 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.

You can check the national Citizens Advice privacy policy for how we handle most of your personal information. Please ask us if you need help to access the national policy on-line, or would like us to give you a paper copy

This policy covers how we, as your local charity, handle your information locally in our offices.

How Citizens Advice Reading collects your data

We collect data in line with the national Citizens Advice privacy policy. Please ask us if you need help to access the national policy on-line, or if you would like us to give you a paper copy.

We collect the information from you by asking you to complete a registration form when you first visit our office or over the telephone if you use the Adviceline service. Further data may be collected in the course of our contacts with you.

What Citizens Advice Reading asks for

The kind of information we ask for is set out in the national Citizens Advice privacy policy. Please ask if you need help to access the national policy on-line, or if would like us to give you a paper copy.

How Citizens Advice Reading uses your information

We use your information in line with the national Citizens Advice privacy policy. Please ask us if you need help to access the national policy on-line, or if you would like us to give you a paper copy.

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; for example Reading Borough Council, The Department of Work and Pensions, the Pensions Service, or local housing associations.

How Citizens Advice Reading stores your information

We store your information on our Casebook client information system in accordance with the national Citizens Advice privacy policy.  Please ask us if you need help to access the national policy on-line, or if you would like us to give you a paper copy.

We also maintain a secure paper filing system in our office for registration forms and other documents that we may gather in the course of helping you with your enquiry. These documents are stored, archived, and eventually disposed of in accordance with our national data retention policy.

Although we do not offer a full e-mail advice service, we may use e-mail to help communication on case work on your behalf. These e-mails are stored securely on our office computer and eventually securely deleted in accordance with our national data retention policy.

How Citizens Advice Reading shares your information

Depending on your circumstances we may wish to share your data with specific partner organisations in order that you can receive the most appropriate form of help to address your problem.

We will always ask for your consent before doing so, and will have a data sharing agreement in place with any such partners where this is legally necessary.

We may also share your details with the National Citizens Advice Charity for the purpose of our research and campaigning policy but, again, will always ask for your specific consent before doing so.

Contact us 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 stop using your information.

Who’s responsible for looking after your personal information

The national Citizens Advice charity and Citizens Advice Reading operate a system called Casebook to keep your personal information safe. This means we are each a ‘joint data controller’ for your personal information that’s stored in our Casebook system.

Citizens Advice Reading is solely responsible for all other forms of personal data we handle locally in our local office – paper files and any e-mail correspondence we may have with you and third parties.

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.


General contacts privacy policy

What do we mean by general contacts?

The core purpose of Citizens Advice Reading is to provide advice and support to help solves people’s problems, and help tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives. This routinely involves collecting and processing all type of personal data, and this has always been done on the basis of consent and confidentiality.

We also collect all types of personal data on job applicants, our staff, volunteers and trustees.

We have published separate privacy policies tailored to these purposes.

This policy concerns the other, wider-ranging contacts that Citizens Advice Reading has established to support its core purpose.

What personal data do we collect, and why?

Citizens Advice Reading gathers personal data in the form of names and contact details (names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses at/of various organisations, companies and other charities predominantly, but not exclusively, in the local area, for the purpose of awareness raising, general networking, fundraising and ancillary services marketing.

We do this because we have a legitimate interest in doing so. We do not receive income through our core advice activity and have no guarantee of public funding support. Our continuing service provision is heavily dependent upon our maximising the support we can receive from the local public and business community.

How we use your information

We use the personal data (predominantly e-mail addresses) in various ways:

  • to inform about upcoming events and activities
  • to inform about training services
  • to engage with stakeholders
  • to support fundraising activities
  • to manage ongoing relationships and project work.

Although our use of personal data in this way is very important to us, we will always offer organisations the opportunity to opt-out of receiving unsolicited e-mail communications from us. If we collect the personal data of a private individual for these purposes, we will always ensure beforehand that the individual has consented to this and can reasonably expect their personal data to be used for these purposes.

We will always obtain consent before we share a contact’s personal data with other parties, unless that personal data is already in the public domain.

Storing your information

We keep the information securely in spreadsheets and in e-mail address lists.

We regularly review and update our contacts spreadsheets and mailing lists to ensure they are continuing to meet our needs.

Get in touch with us about your data

You can contact us and ask us:

  • what information we’ve stored about you / your organisation
  • to change or update your details
  • to opt out of receiving any further e-mail communication from us.


Staff and volunteer privacy policy

When you apply for a job or to be a volunteer

If you apply to work or volunteer at Citizens Advice Reading, we collect your personal information through your application form, interview or references so we can process your application. We do this based on our legitimate interest as your prospective employer.

We only ask for information which is relevant to the role you’re applying for.

We’ll collect personal details such as name, address, telephone number and email address, previous job history and experience, qualifications, and any support needs you may have.

We’ll also ask for diversity information like your gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation- referred to in data protection legislation as sensitive or ‘special category’ data. We would like this to be able to check that our recruitment process supports our diversity goals – but you do not have to disclose this to us if you do not wish to do so.

We might collect other information depending on whether you’ve applied for a staff or volunteer role.

If we offer you a position

If you succeed in your application, we’ll request,

for all roles;

  • references for your previous and current work;

and for paid staff;

  • proof of your right to work in the UK, like a valid UK passport or visa
  • your national insurance number and P45
  • your bank details, so we can pay you.

Where applicable, we may ask you to fill out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form as part of mandatory background checks. A DBS form does ask for some personal information as part of the background check process. Once the DBS check is completed and you’ve received your certificate, we expect you to share this information with us. These forms are stored and processed securely and confidentially by Citizens Advice and DBS. You can read more about DBS checks and processes on the GOV.UK website.

We don’t share any of this information with external organisations – it’s only shared internally so that we can review your application.

This information would include your name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, position applied for and anything else disclosed on your DBS check.

When you start work

When you start work as a staff member of volunteer, we may ask you to provide diversity information like your gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation- referred to in data protection legislation as ‘special category data’. We need this to check we’re employing a diverse workforce and volunteer community. We use the data only to compile anonymised statistics. You don’t have to tell us this – we need your explicit consent.

How we use your information

We’ll use the information you give us at the recruitment stage to progress your application and to help us decide whether or not you’ve got the right skills for the role.

We’ll use the diversity information to make sure we’re employing a diverse workforce and volunteer community.

During your working time with us, we will use your personal data to communicate with you as appropriate, to maintain training and other personnel management records, and (for paid staff) to meet our contract obligations. We will not share the information outside Citizen Advice Reading, except (for paid staff) with data processors for contract purposes.

Staff who access your information have had information protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

Storing your information

We keep your information securely on our internal systems (individual files and spreadsheets).  We dispose of your personal data securely in accordance with our data retention policy.

We keep personal data related to your job or volunteer application for 6 months after the position was advertised.

We keep the various types of personal data we hold on employees and volunteers for varying periods, depending on the type. You can ask for further information on this.

Get in touch with us about your data

You can contact us and ask us:

  • what information we’ve stored about you
  • to change or update your details
  • to withdraw your consent to our holding relevant personal data in our records


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