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Data Protection: Ashford Borough Council

Data Protection

What personal data do we collect about you?

We may collect and process your personal data in the following ways:

  • Information you give us. You may give us personal information by filling in forms on our website www.ashford.gov.uk (our site) or by corresponding with us by phone, e-mail or otherwise. This includes, for instance, information you provide when you sign up for services, submit applications, pay bills or fines, report issues, participate in discussion boards or other social media functions on our site, and enter a survey. The information you give us may include your name, address, email address and phone number, date of birth, financial and payment card information, bank statements, medical records, gender, ethnicity, details of previous allegations or convictions, next of kin details, National Insurance number, passport, driving licence and birth certificate information
  • Information we collect about our customers. We may gather information about you in the course of collecting information from you and in the provision of services. This will include for instance information we collect from you to prevent fraudulent activity, including your date of birth and National Insurance number
  • Information we collect about you when you use our website. With regard to each of your visits to our site we may automatically collect the following information: technical information, including the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet, your login information, browser type and version, time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform;  information about your visit, including the full Uniform Resource Locators (URL) clickstream to, through and from our site (including date and time); products you viewed or searched for; page response times, download errors, length of visits to certain pages, page interaction information (such as scrolling, clicks, and mouse-overs), and methods used to browse away from the page and any phone number used to call our customer service numbers
  • Information we receive from other sources. We work closely with a number of trusted third parties (including, for example, debt collection agencies, social services, social landlords, external contractors, the police and other public authorities across Kent) and may receive information about you from them

Cookies

Our website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. Read detailed information on the cookies we use we use and the purposes for which we use them.

How do we use your personal data?

We will use your personal data for the following purposes:

  • to carry out identity checks
  • to process and respond to requests, enquiries and complaints received from you
  • to effectively provide services requested by you, including benefits, housing, right to buy and parking permits
  • to monitor and improve services, policies, plans, programmes, projects, procedures, practices and council decision making
  • to carry out credit checks where appropriate (for more information please see the credit check section below)
  • to calculate and provide council tax liability support
  • to provide statistics where required, in which case your personal data will be anonymised
  • to monitor correct use of databases
  • to communicate with you about services provided to you
  • to prevent or detect anti-social behaviour or criminal activity, including the prevention and detection of fraud
  • to protect public funds and comply with our statutory obligations
  • to process payments
  • to update our records
  • for audit purposes
  • to resolve unpaid bills
  • to enable third parties to carry out any of the purposes above on our behalf

How do we share your personal data?

We may share your personal data with third parties in the following ways:

  • We sometimes use agents and service providers to process personal information on our behalf. For example, we use third parties to process credit card payments, recover debts, investigate fraudulent matters, process business rates and maintain our IT systems. Where we use agents and service providers to process your personal information, we will ensure that they have adequate security measures in place to safeguard your personal information
  • We may share your information with police services and other local authority service providers including social services, for the prevention and investigation of anti-social and criminal behaviour
  • We will release your personal information when we are required to do so for legal or regulatory purposes or as part of legal proceedings
  • When we carry out credit checks, we pass your information to credit reference agencies. This information may also be accessed by third parties who carry out credit checks on you. Please see the section below on credit checks for more information
  • We pass your information to debt recovery companies for the collection of unpaid charges on our behalf
  • In the event of changes to any housing benefit payments that you receive, we may share your information with social housing landlords to facilitate the payment of rent
  • We will disclose your personal data if we are under a duty to share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce our contractual rights and other agreements; or to protect the rights, property, or safety of our customers, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction
  • We share information with analytics and search engine providers that assist us in the improvement and optimisation of our site

Credit checks

We share your personal information with credit reference agencies in order to maintain up-to-date records of tenants, to undertake credit checks prior to letting social accommodation, and to manage our debt collection process.

Information that we give to credit reference agencies includes information held on your customer accounts with us such as your name, date of birth, address or other relevant information.

Where we store your personal data

In some circumstances we may transfer your personal information to countries outside of the European Economic Area, where data protection safeguards are not as high as they are in the UK. If this occurs we will ensure that adequate procedures are put into place to protect your personal information.

All information you provide to us is stored on our secure servers. Any payment transactions will be encrypted. Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share a password with anyone.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

Your rights

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information that we hold about you and to have any inaccuracies corrected. Read how to make a request.

Links to other websites

Our site may, from time to time, contain links to the websites of local service providers and affiliates of Ashford Borough Council. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites have their own privacy policies and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies. Please check these policies before you submit any personal data to these websites.

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