Privacy statement - Walsall Housing Group Website

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Privacy statement for our customers

whg holds lots of personal information about our customers and we need to make sure it is handled and kept carefully in line with the Data Protection Act.

We have introduced this Privacy Statement that tells you everything you need to know about:

• what information we collect from you
• how we store it
• why we collect it
• who we share it with and why.

Purpose of this Statement

whg is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We think it is extremely important to keep any personal information we have about our customers secure and confidential.

Laws apply to whg’s use of anyone’s personal information and everyone has rights regarding how their personal information is handled.

We have published this statement to tell you:

• what information we may collect about you
• how we store your personal information
• what we use your personal information for, and
• who (if anyone) we pass it on to and how they use it.

Information we may collect from you

We may collect the following personal information about you.

When you first come to see us -
• Your name and contact details for use across whg and by our suppliers and partners.
• Detailed personal information such as age, sex, date of birth, ethnicity, particular needs or preferences so that we can understand our customers and their needs better.

For housing management purposes -
• Your housing needs, so we can find a property that suits you when available from us or selected other landlords.
• Bank details and direct debit information to make payments to us such as rent or service charges (we only exchange the details with the account holder).
• Benefit and council tax information to verify your circumstances.
• Details relating to the repair and maintenance of your home.
• Information that you provide to your whg housing advisor, neighbourhood impact officer, asset management team member, or any other contact
• Information for contents insurance.
• If you pay us using your payment card we do not store the details, for your added security (and we only exchange the details with the person we believe to be the card holder).
• Feedback from our contractors, about their appointments with you.
• Voice and video recordings for safety, crime reduction and quality management.

To enhance your experience with whg -
• You can give us details of your friends, relatives or neighbours who you trust to contact us on your behalf, e.g. to arrange one of our services for you.
• Your name and contact details for Customer Satisfaction surveys, newsletters and service information.
• With your consent, your name, photo, video or story for brochures, advertising or press releases or use by the media.
• Any information about complaints about our service or other individuals, or accidents or incidents involving you or your home.
• Your comments about services from us or our suppliers.

If you ask for additional whg services -
• Name and contact details for someone to contact you (the person may be whg colleague or from another organisation that we will tell you about).
• If you ask us for care and support requirements we will hold detailed information about your needs and your family’s needs.
• Records of payments for the services.
• If we arrange insurance for you, we will process your details required by the insurer, and will receive account reports from the insurer.
• If you contact us about money problems we will hold detailed information about your income and debts; we keep this separate from our other information about you.
• If you use our Skills Centre we will ask about your employment and learning history.
• We may hold information about your history, e.g. regarding credit, or offences, if we need it to look after our colleagues, business or anyone else.
• If you make a complaint we will keep the details separate from our other information about you.

If we provide a bureau service -
• We will receive information from your service provider and we will exchange the information we need to provide service to you on their behalf.
• We may receive management information about the accounts we manage.

We may get the information, or related information, from you or our partner organisations (see below), your family, friends or neighbours, our colleagues or public information sources including credit reference agencies or the Criminal Records Bureau.

We may also record factual information whenever you contact us or use our services, and of other action we take, so we have a record of what happened.

Where we store your personal information

We are committed to holding your personal information securely. This means only those of our colleagues and contractors that need to see it have access.

If we can store your personal information solely on computers we will, however there will be cases where we have paper copies instead, or as well.

Our computer system is at our offices. Sometimes we also use computers which are owned or managed by our suppliers, if the computers are secure and under our control.

What we use your personal information for

• As above, and generally for providing our services for you.
• Keeping in touch with our customers, understanding your needs and preferences, inviting you to events, and offering and booking appointments with you.
• Telling you about changes to whg and its services.
• Meeting your housing management needs and requirements.
• Managing payments from you, to you or on your account, and for accounting purposes.
• Providing additional services at your request including skills training and every day support services.
• Prevention, detection and prosecution of crime, and quality management.
• Informing our staff, contractors or others (as appropriate) about past incidents e.g. anti-social behaviour, for their protection, in line with our policies.
• Meeting our legal obligations including our funders or regulators.
• Us or your other suppliers exercising legal rights, including under contract with you.
• Other purposes - we may anonymise your information so that it cannot be linked to you. In that case we may use the data for any purpose.

Who else we may pass on your information to

Normally, only whg will be able to access your personal information. However there may be times when we disclose your details to others, as follows.

Our suppliers who enable us to provide our services to you, or who provide services on our behalf

•Housing contractors e.g. to undertake repairs or improvements to your home.
• IT providers who own or manage the computers, phones or systems we use.
• Our contractor who handles your out of hours service calls for us.
• Banks e.g. to carry out payments through a secure system.
• Companies that assist us in mailing out our leaflets / newsletters.
• Additional staff resources, such as consultants or agency staff.
• Our professional advisors, auditors and providers of financial services.

Our partner organisations whose purposes dovetail with ours

• Training providers or learning institutions.
• Other housing associations.
• External assistance where you have agreed to the referral, for example to do with money problems.
• Local authorities and government departments who provide relevant services for you, including benefits.
• The police, fire services, health authorities or medical staff who provide services for you.

Others who may request information from us for their own purposes

• Utility companies.
• Debt collection agencies acting for others.
• For crime prevention or detection, risk assessment, resolution of complaints or other issues.
• Local authorities, safeguarding boards, regulators, government departments and other public authorities, such as for preventing payment errors or fraud.
• The police, fire service, health authorities or medical practitioners.

We may sometimes be obliged to disclose your personal data by law such as by a regulator with appropriate power, or court order. Information held by public bodies or us can be subject to freedom of information.

We do not give anyone else access to your information, in return for payment, for their marketing or commercial purposes, unless you give specific consent.

Unless you pay our bills using direct debit we will not usually retain your payment details. Whoever pays your bills will have to give us the payment card details each time they make a payment.

We will not share your personal information with anyone who claims to represent you unless we are satisfied that you have appointed them or they act in some recognised official capacity. There may be a delay to us dealing with requests whilst we confirm the caller’s identity, or check that we have your approval to deal with them.


Your rights

You have the right to ask us not to process your personal information however we may be unable to provide our service to you if we are unable to record and process certain details. 

Accessing the information we have about you

You have a legal right to access information that we hold about you. If you ask us, we may charge of fee of £10 to meet our costs. You can ask any of our colleagues or write to our Data Protection Officer at our registered office address.

We will respond to your request with 40 days and in most cases we will be able to comply with your request. However we may not be able to provide you with your request if your personal information contains details about another person.


Changes to our Privacy Statement

This statement may change. We will display the new statement in all places where it can usually be found, such as on our website, and at our offices and outlets.

Our nominated representative for the purposes of the Act is Helen Lane, Governance Manager.

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