Sharing your personal information
- Why we ask for and keep your information
- How we keep your information safe
- Sharing your information with other organisations
- Your consent is important
- When we collect your information
- How we collect your information
- The type of information we keep about you
- How long we keep your information
- Your rights and your information
- How to complain
- Information for members who speak other languages
Why we ask for and keep your information
When you ask us for help and join us as a member, we will ask you for some personal information. This information is really important to us. It helps us work with you to give you the support you need to successfully find a home.
We also use your information to make sure our services are working well.
Another way we use your information is to help our work to change policies and reduce homelessness in the future. When we use your information in this way you will not be identified.
You don’t have to give us information if you are uncomfortable telling us certain things. But there will be some information you will need to give us if you want to use all of our services.
When you become a Crisis member, you enter into an arrangement with us. We provide help and support with your housing situation. In return, you give us the information we need to provide you with the right help. This arrangement can be seen as a ‘contract’, and you can tell us when you no longer want to continue with it.
We must have a lawful basis (valid legal reason) to collect and process information about you and other members. This includes our need for information so that we can do our job properly as an organisation, including helping to change policies and make our services better. This lawful basis is called legitimate interest.
Our contract arrangement also provides a lawful basis for us to collect and process your information.
Finally, it is also important for us to collect some information to help us keep people safe. This lawful basis is called protecting your vital interests.
How we keep your information safe
We keep the information you give us (your ‘data’) safe and secure on our computer systems. Your information is used carefully by members of our team to support the work they do for you. Our staff are trained and understand the need to protect your privacy.
Sharing your information with other organisations
We may share some information about you with other organisations if they are better placed to support your needs, but we will always tell you if we are going to do this in situations where you do not need to give your consent (permission). Examples of this may be where we are working with public-sector organisations or publicly funded organisations. In these instances, we may share information if it is in the public interest to do so.
Other examples of where we may share information without your consent include:
• to protect the safety and well-being of someone (including you) we believe to be at risk of harm; and
• if the police ask us for information to support a serious criminal investigation, or if we are told to by a court.
Your consent is important
We cannot add certain information about you to our database without discussing it with you first, unless you are referred to us and the organisation who referred you shares more sensitive information with us so that we can support you effectively as soon as you join us.This information includes:
- your racial or ethnic background;
- health information;
- your religious and philosophical beliefs;
- your sexual orientation;
- biometric data (unique physical characteristics, such as your fingerprints), although we currently do not collect this sort of information; and
- details of any criminal offences that may be in your past.
We will always make sure we have your agreement or that you are aware when we add this type of information to our database.
If we need to use any of your information for a different reason than we collected it, we will let you know why and how it will be used. For example, if we wanted to use your information in our research or policy work in a way that might identify you, we would always ask you first.
When you visit a Skylight centre, one of our offices or a Crisis shop, you may be recorded on CCTV. We use CCTV to protect the health and safety of people who work with us or visit us, and to help prevent and detect any crime that takes place on our premises. We will always tell you if we are doing this (through signs in our buildings).
When we collect your information
The information you give us will be collected and updated on our computer database during your time with us.
We usually collect information in the following stages.
- When you join us for the first time, whether you are referred to us or come to us direct.
- As we continue to work with you.
- When you take courses with us or use our services.
- When you have found a secure home of your own.
- When you decide you no longer want our support.
- After you have moved on from our services, if you agree to share your information so that we can update our records about you in order to check you don’t need further support.
How we collect your information
You are likely to give us most of the information we hold, but some information will be shared by organisations that may have referred you to us. Our staff you work with, for example your lead worker, may also add information about you to our database during your time with us.
Organisations you have been involved with apart from us, such as other charities or hostel providers, advice centres, local authorities or agencies within the criminal justice system (for example, probation services), could give us information about you too. They will only share this information if you agree, apart from if they have to share it in the public interest, to keep you or someone else safe from possible harm, or if they have a legal duty to share it.
The type of information we keep about you
The information we keep could include the following.
- Your contact details (address, phone number and email address).
- Information about the sorts of help you want from us and the reasons why.
- Information about your physical and mental health. (We may need this to meet our health and safety and safeguarding duties.)
- Correspondence with or about you (for example, letters to you about your entitlement to grants).
- Information to support any expenses you need to claim.
- Your eligibility for state benefits.
- Contact details for your next of kin and emergency contact.
- Details of your family, if we are supporting you to apply for housing.
- Information on your nationality.
- Information about your previous employment, including qualifications and training records.
- Information about unspent criminal convictions (those you have to declare) or where you have been the victim of a crime.
- Documents and emails produced by our staff who support you.
How long we keep your information
If you ask us for advice or guidance, whether by email, phone or in person, and do not go on to use our services for a long time, we will keep your information for only six months after we have helped you.
However, most people work with us over a longer period. If this is the case, we will keep most of your personal information for seven years after you have stopped using our services. Sometimes we may have to keep it for longer. This is unusual, but if another organisation helps with funding the services you use, they may ask us to keep your details for longer.
After seven years, we will remove from your personal information anything that identifies you and keep this anonymous information to help us continue our research and analysis into the causes of homelessness and how we help people out of it.
Your rights and your information
You have rights and control about how your information is used. The laws that help you do this are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).
Under these laws, you can do the following.
- Ask us to show you all the information we have about you. (You can ask your lead worker to start this process with our data protection team.)
- Ask us to correct anything that you think is wrong about you in our systems.
- Ask us to delete your personal information from our systems. (There may be times when we cannot do this – for example, if we have refunded travel expenses to you, by law we must keep the details of payments we have made to you.)
- Tell us you are not happy about our reasons for collecting and processing your information.
- Ask us to transfer your information to another provider of a similar service (where possible and in limited circumstances).
- Change your mind. (If you have given us permission to process and keep your information, you can withdraw this permission in some circumstances.)
- Complain if you think we have broken the GDPR or DPA 2018 laws.
How to complain
If you have a complaint about data protection, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at ico.org.uk/concerns/handling
However, we would always like to try to help you first. So if you are unhappy about the way you think we are dealing with your information, please speak to the Director at your Skylight centre first.
Our data protection officer can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We (Crisis) are the data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR.