Customer services: privacy notice
The London Borough of Hounslow is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. Through this Privacy Notice we have sought to be as transparent as possible to fully explain how your personal data is held and processed.
Under Data Protection law, the London Borough of Hounslow is a Data Controller and we are responsible for collecting and processing your personal information about you in order to provide a public service and meet our statutory obligation. Processing includes the organisation, retrieval, consultation, use and deletion or destruction of information and its disclosure to other agencies.
This privacy notice tells you what to expect when the council collects personal information. This privacy notice covers contact with the council and its officers directly, through email, telephone and the website. The privacy notice will continue to be monitored and updated. You are advised to check this page from time to time.
The information you provide will be processed mainly in connection with the administration of the services. A full list of what information we control and process and for what purposes is set out in our notification with the Information Commissioner's Register of Data Controllers. Our registration number is Z5761176. You can view our registration on the Information Commissioner's website.
Information we collect
When you contact us by phone, email or through the Council’s website we may need to collect personal information about you or your family so that the appropriate service can be provided. The information we require from you may include personal information, such as:
- Contact details – name, address, email address, telephone number etc
- Date of birth
- Proof of Identity
- National Insurance Number
- Services you receive
- Financial details for purposes of receiving or making payments
- Housing information relating to your council tenancy
- IP Address (if using our website)
We may also collect special categories of personal data that may include:
- Physical or mental health details
- Racial or ethnic origin
- Gender and sexual orientation
- Trade union membership
- Political affiliation and opinions
- Offences (including alleged offences)
- Religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
It will only be necessary to collect this type of information where it is of relevance to the request you are making.
Why we need your information?
We use your personal data within the rules set out in the Data Protection law and we will only collect data that is absolutely necessary. Any information we collect about you will be strictly in accordance with the Data Protection law.
We process your information for the following services:
- Adults and Children’s social care services
- Births, marriages and death
- Blue badges
- Building control applications
- Business rates
- Council tax
- Crime and public safety
- Health and wellbeing
- Housing benefits
- Parking permits
- Planning applications
- Recycling and waste collection
- School admissions and education services
- Social Housing needs
- Youth services
- Voting and elections
How we process your data
We process this data for the following reasons:
- where you have consented to the processing
- to ensure we meet our legal requirements
- to allow us to communicate and provide services appropriate to your needs
- where we are legally obliged to undertake data processing e.g. for licensing, planning enforcement, trading standards, food safety, prevention and/or detection of fraud and crime
- to process financial transactions or where the council is acting on behalf of other government bodies e.g. Department for Works and Pensions
- where necessary to protect citizens from harm or injury
- to conduct research or statistical analysis that allows us to target and plan the provision of services
- to identify residents/users for the purpose of notifying them of proposed or planned changes to services that may affect them
- to assist the council in responding to emergencies or major accidents. This allows the council, in conjunction with the emergency services, to identify citizens who may need additional support.
- To carry out a public task.
Please note phone calls to our customer service team may be recorded for training and quality improvement purposes.
Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)
If we are required to, we will only share your information with internal departments and other service providers, contractors and/or partner bodies, but only where it is necessary, either to:
- comply with a legal obligation,
- where permitted under the Data Protection law,
- where the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of the prevention and/or detection of crime,
- where it is necessary to allow a third party working for or on behalf of the council.
We will strive to ensure that any personal data in our care will be kept safe and that where your information is disclosed to a third party, we will seek to ensure that the third party has sufficient systems and procedures in place to prevent the loss or damage of personal data.
We will not use your personal data for third party marketing purposes without your prior express consent.
How long will we keep your information?
We review our retention periods of the information we hold about you on a regular basis. We are legally required to hold some types of information to fulfil our statutory obligations. We will keep your information on our records as long you remain a customer and ensure not to keep it longer than necessary..
Website and E-forms
When someone visits the council’s website, we use third-party services to collect standard internet log information. This information is processed in a way which does not identify anyone. We collect information volunteered by members of the public via the e-forms hosted by the council.
Marketing and E-Newsletters
The council always acts upon your choices around what type of communications you want to receive and how you want to receive them. Where you have signed up for one of our newsletters, we use email newsletters to inform you of what we’re doing, news and events.
This is done through the corporate mailing system which allows you to opt out of the newsletter at any point. You can do this by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link on the email.
Tools may be used to help us improve the effectiveness of our communications with you, including tracking whether the emails we send are opened and which links are clicked within a message. This helps us to improve and refine future email marketing around our campaigns and make sure all our emails are relevant and useful as possible.
My Hounslow Account
The My Hounslow account provides you with a safe and flexible way to access council services including online forms that may be of interest to you. We are continuing to develop the functionality of our website and its capacity to deliver personalised services. We will send you communications to alert you to new developments only if you have opted in to receive these. You will always have the option to opt out at any stage.
Data Matching and Auditing
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may use the information you provide to us for the prevention and detection of crime. We may also share this information with other bodies that are responsible for auditing or administering public funds including the Audit Commission, the Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customers and the Police.
The council uses data matching as a way of processing large volumes of information. While this can be a useful way of detecting fraud, it also enables us to identify information that is inaccurate or out of date, helping us comply with Data Protection law, while improving service provision.
In addition to undertaking our own data matching to identify errors and potential frauds, we are required to take part in national data matching exercises undertaken by the Audit Commission. The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned.
We recognise that the information you provide may be sensitive and we will respect your confidentiality. We keep information about you confidential. This means we store it securely and control who has access to it. We will not store any information where we are not legally required to do so.
Click here to find out more on Information Security.
Use of IP addresses
The Council’s website does not automatically capture or store personal information, other than logging the user’s IP Address or the location of your computer or network on the Internet, for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. If you are connected to the Internet, you have an IP address.
Links to Other Websites
You can read more about links to other websites on our Legal Notices page.
For e-newsletters, the Council uses Gov Delivery who store email addresses in the US. GovDelivery is registered on the Privacy Shield approved list and are verified on the Privacy Shield website.
All the information you provide us is held within the European Economic Area (EEA).
The council tries to be as open as it can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a Subject Access Request.
You can make a request to the council for any personal information we may hold about you by:
- Completing the online form – found here
- Emailing the Customer Relations team – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Writing to us:
London Borough of Hounslow
The following rights also apply to you:
- The right to be informed
- The right to rectification
- The right to erasure
- The right to restrict processing
- The right to data portability
- The right to object
- Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.
Depending on the lawful basis on which the Council relies on for processing your personal data, for example; we have legal obligation to process Personal Data for purposes of collection of Council tax, or paying of benefits, or administrating Housing applications, or exercising our safeguarding obligations, you may not always be able to exercise these rights. For more information about your rights please visit the ICO's website.
Business Intelligence, Profiling and Analysis
We may analyse your personal information to improve services and for the following purposes;
- undertake statutory functions efficiently and effectively
- service planning by understanding your needs to provide the services that you request
- understanding what we can do for you and inform you of other relevant services and benefits
- help us to build up a picture of how we are performing at delivering services to you and what services the people of Hounslow need
- analysis of costs and spend of services we provide so that we can to ensure better and efficient use of public funds
The council is however committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position.
Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field.
Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details.
Your right to make a complaint
The council tries to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this very seriously. We encourage people to bring it to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate.
This privacy notice was drafted with brevity and clarity in mind. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of the council’s collection and use of personal information. However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any requests for this should be sent to:
London Borough of Hounslow
If you want to make a complaint you can contact us on:
London Borough of Hounslow
Click here to find out more on how to make a complaint.
Hounslow Council Data Protection Officer
The council’s Data Protection Officer, Salma Khan, can be contacted on:
Or by writing to:
Information Governance Team
London Borough of Hounslow
Information Commissioner’s Office
The Information Commissioner is the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights.
If you would like to know more about your rights under the Data Protection law, and what you should expect from us, visit the Information Commissioner’s website.
If you have any concerns regarding our privacy practices or about exercising your Data Protection rights, you may contact the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Information Commissioner's Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 745