Privacy Policy

Privacy policy

At Citizens Advice Ipswich, 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 anyone

We handle and store your personal information in line with data protection law.

When you use our website, we collect a type of data called cookies which tell us what you’re clicking on. Find out more about how we use cookies.

Who’s responsible for keeping your personal information safe

The national Citizens Advice charity and Citizens Advice Ipswich are both responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we follow data protection law. This means we’re a ‘joint data controller’ for your personal information.

Each local Citizens Advice is an independent charity and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity.

Citizens Advice Ipswich will record your personal information on a national computer system. Staff from a different local Citizens Advice can only access your personal information if they have a good reason – for example if you go to them for advice or call our national phone line. We have rules and controls to stop people accessing or using your information when they shouldn’t.

Tell an adviser if you’re worried about your details being on a national system. We’ll work with you to take extra steps to protect your information – for example by recording your problem without using your name.

When you get advice from an adviser – our privacy policy

We collect and use the details you give us so we can help you. We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to do this under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation. We’ll always explain how we use your information.

What information we ask for

We’ll only ask for information that’s relevant to your problem. Depending on what you want help with, this might include:

  • your name and contact details – so we can keep in touch with you about your case
  • personal information – for example about family, work, or financial circumstances, or if you’re vulnerable or at risk of harm
  • details about services you get that are causing you problems – like energy or post
  • details of items or services you’ve bought and traders you’ve dealt with
  • information like your gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation

We occasionally ask for details about someone else like a neighbour or your partner so we can deal with an enquiry. We’ll only do this if we have a legitimate interest in the information, or we need it to protect someone’s life.

If you don’t want to give us certain information, you don’t have to. For example, if you want to stay anonymous we’ll only record information about your problem and make sure you’re not identified.

We’ll always ask for your consent to store information about your:

  • health conditions
  • ethnic origin
  • religion
  • trade union membership
  • sexual orientation

You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact us and tell us what personal information you don’t want us to store – we’ll delete it.

We might ask your permission to contact you later with an online survey about your experience getting help from us. This is called the ‘Client Experience’ survey.

How we use your information

The main reason we ask for your information is to help solve your problem.
We only access your information for other reasons if we really need to. Data protection law lets us do this as long as we either get your consent or we have a legitimate interest. For example we have a legitimate interest to access your data:

  • for training and quality purposes
  • to investigate complaints
  • to get feedback from you about our services
  • to help us improve our services

All advisers and staff accessing data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

Understanding people’s problems

We use some information to create statistics about who we’re helping and what problems are the most common. We might use the information you’ve told us and your answers to the Client Experience survey. This information is always anonymised – you can’t be identified.

We share these with funders, regulators, government departments and publicly on our blogs, reports, social media and press releases.

The statistics also inform our policy research, campaigns, or media work.

We might use a research company to help us analyse the information. We have an agreement with them to make sure they store data securely and follow data protection laws. We’re still responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we follow data protection law. This means we’re the ‘data controller’ for your information.

When we share your information with other organisations

With your permission, we might share your information with other organisations so we can:

  • help solve your problem – for example, if you ask us to contact your creditors we might need to share your name, address and financial details with them
  • refer you quickly to another organisation for more advice or support, if relevant
  • help you access certain services – for example food banks or Trading Standards
  • monitor the quality of our services

Organisations we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law. They’ll have their own privacy policies for how they handle your information and keep it safe.

There might be specific organisations we share your information with, depending on what service you access.

If you get advice in person

NHS Test and Trace or local public health organisations might ask us to share your name, contact details and the date of your visit. This is to help track cases of coronavirus. We have a legitimate interest to share this information under data protection law.

We won’t:

  • share information about the reason for your visit
  • share your contact details with anyone other than Test and Trace or a local public health organisation

Unlike most situations, we won’t ask for your consent before we share your contact details. If you don’t want us to share this information you can tell your local office you want to opt out. If you don’t want to give us your contact details at all, we’ll still be able to give you advice in person.

NHS Test and Trace might contact you if you visited at the same time as someone who tested positive for coronavirus. You can:

If you have the NHS Test and Trace app on your phone you can ‘check in’ at some of our local Citizens Advice offices. You can still get advice even if you don’t check in on the app. You can:

If you need a food bank voucher

We’ll ask your permission to share your information with Ipswich Families in Need (FIND) – they run a food bank in Ipswich.

If you’re calling us from another area, we’ll ask your permission to share your information with the Trussell Trust – they run food banks across the country.

If your adviser applies to the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme to protect you from your creditors

We’ll share your information with the Insolvency Service if you decide to enter a Breathing Space. The Insolvency Service will store your contact details and information about your debts on their online Breathing Space system. Your creditors will be able to see your information on the system, but only for debts you owe to them.

If we’re concerned about your or someone else’s safety

If something you’ve told us makes us think you or someone you know might be at serious risk of harm, we could tell the police or social services – for example if we think you might hurt yourself or someone else.

Storing your information – if you contact us online, by phone or face to face

Whether you get advice face to face, over the phone, by email or chat, our adviser will log all your information, correspondence, and notes about your problem into our secure case management systems. We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to do this under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation.

Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems.

We keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

Our case management systems are hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK. Most of our trusted partners store their data securely within the European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law.

Occasionally when there are large amounts of paperwork that need to be stored these are stored securely (locked cabinet) on the premises. We’ll return any original documents to you when your case is closed, and any remaining documents are either destroyed or securely archived on the premises for 6 years and then destroyed.

There might be other places we store your information, depending on how you accessed our advice.

If you contact us for chat or email advice

We’ll store your chat transcript or email advice request form in our case management systems – this is kept for 6 years.

Any emails between you and your adviser are only stored within the Citizens Advice Ipswich office email system. Citizens Advice Ipswich have our own policy for how we keep these emails secure.

If you tell us sensitive details about yourself, we’ll ask for your permission to use and store them. This includes your:

  • health conditions
  • ethnic origin
  • religion
  • trade union membership
  • sexual orientation

All webchats are handled through the national Citizens Advice charity’s systems. Please refer to the privacy policy on their website to see how your data is used.

If you get advice over the phone

If you call Suffolk Adviceline or the national Citizens Advice Adviceline, calls are handled through the national Citizens Advice charity’s telephone system. Please refer to the privacy policy on their website to see how your data is used.

If you agree to get appointment reminders by text message (SMS)

If you give us permission, we might send you text messages (SMS) to remind you when you’ve got an appointment soon.

If we send you a message it will contain the date, time and location of your appointment. It might also include some personal details about you, like your first name, so you know the message is from Citizens Advice.

We use a system called TextAnywhere to send text messages.

We’re responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we follow data protection law. This means we’re the ‘data controller’ for your information.

If your adviser refers you to another Citizens Advice Service

Some other Citizens Advice services store and share your information in different ways.

If your service isn’t listed here, there’s nothing extra we need to tell you.

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice consumer service, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice Debt Relief Order (DRO) Team, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to the Citizens Advice Witness Service, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

If you’ve been referred to Pension Wise, find out more about how they use, store and share your personal information.

Using our website – our privacy policy

When you use our website we collect information from you such as location data, cookies, or personal information you give us through completing online forms.

Cookies

We use data called cookies to get information about how you’re using our website – for example, what pages you click on and what device you’re using. This helps us improve your experience of our website.

Find out more how we collect and use cookies when you browse our website.

If you used another feature on our site

We also collect information about you if you:

  • use the ‘Send us a message’ form to contact us

We use your contact details to get in touch with you to respond to your enquiry. We only access your information for other reasons if we really need to – for example, to investigate complaints.

We don’t share your personal information.

Your information is stored securely on our own internal systems. All volunteers and staff who access your data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

Help to Claim – our privacy policy

Help to Claim is a nationally-managed project. You can read the privacy policy on the national Citizens Advice website for details of how your data is used.

When you make a complaint about our service – our privacy policy

If you make a complaint, we collect personal information from you so we can help deal with your complaint.

We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to collect your information under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation. We’ll always ask your permission before using your information to deal with the complaint.

We collect your information from you via phone, email, online form or letter – depending on how you complain.

If someone contacts us on your behalf about a complaint we’ll get your permission before we log any of your information.

What information we ask for

So we can help you with your complaint, we need to know:

  • your name
  • which local Citizens Advice you’re complaining about
  • one way we can get in touch with you – email, phone or address
  • details of the complaint

You don’t have to tell us, but we’ll also ask you about your:

  • address
  • phone number
  • email
  • problem – for example, whether you wanted help with debt or housing

If you tell us you’ve a disability or support need, we’ll also make a note of that so we can help you access our services.

If your complaint is about advice you received, we might need to look at the information we’ve recorded about your problem.

How we use your information

We use the information you give us to deal with your complaint.

We’ll only access your information for other reasons if we really need to – for example:

  • for training and quality purposes
  • to include anonymised complaint statistics in internal reports

All staff accessing data have done data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

When we share your information

If your complaint is about another local Citizens Advice, or the national charity, we might refer your complaint to someone there who will look into it. We’ll only do this with your permission.

If you escalate your complaint to an external independent adjudicator, we’ll share your complaint information with them.

If your complaint involves an insurance claim, we might share details of your complaint with our insurance representative, ADS.

Storing your information

We’ll store your information securely on our internal systems.

We keep your data for 6 years. If your complaint is serious or involves an insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

When we use your information without permission

At times we might use or share your information without your permission. We’ll only do this if there’s a legal basis for it. This could include situations where we have to use or share your information:

  • to follow the law, called ‘legal obligation’ – for example, if a court orders us to share information
  • to protect someone’s life, called ‘vital interests’ – for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office
  • to carry out our aims and goals as an organisation, called ‘legitimate interests’ – for example,
  • to create anonymous case studies and statistics for our national research
  • for us to carry out a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law, called ‘public task’ – for example the Consumer Service
  • to carry out a contract we have with you, called ‘contract’ – for example, if you’re an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you
  • to defend our legal rights – for example, to resolve a complaint that we gave the wrong advice

Getting help and reporting concerns

You can contact us if you want to:

  • find out more about how we use your personal information
  • tell us you’re concerned about how we use information – for example if you think we’ve shared your information when we shouldn’t have

You can also email the national Citizens Advice data protection officer at DPO@citizensadvice.org.uk if:

  • you need more help after talking to us
  • you haven’t had any contact with our local office – for example because you talked to us using chat instead
  • your issue doesn’t just affect your own personal information – for example if you think there’s a problem with our policy

You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Contact us about your information

You can contact us directly at any time and ask us:

  • what information we’ve stored about you
  • to change or update your details
  • to delete your details from our records

If you don’t know which charity or local Citizens Advice you dealt with, contact us and ask us to check your case records to find out.

If you want to make a complaint

If you’re not happy with how we’ve handled your data, you can make a complaint.