In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations.
The categories of information that we collect, process, hold and share will include:
Revenues - Council Tax & Business Rates and Business Improvement District Levy
We collect information from you when you fill in one of our forms, or contact us about your property, either in writing, over the phone or face-to-face in one of our customer contact centres or One Stop Shops.
We may sometimes obtain information about you from third parties (including previous owners, landlords and estate agents) where this is necessary in order to administer and enforce the collection of Council Tax and Business Rates and Business Improvement District Levy.
The amount and type of information the Council collects for the purposes of billing, collecting and enforcing Council Tax and Business Rates and Business Improvement District Levy will include your name, address and contact details.
In some circumstances, we will need more details and sometimes sensitive personal information about your household, personal or business circumstances, for example if you are applying for a discount or exemption for Council Tax or for Discretionary Rate relief for Business Rates.
The information you give to us when using our online payment system will only be used for the recording of your payment.
Assessments - Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Council Tax Support Scheme for 2023/24, Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, Council Tax Emergency Hardship payments, Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and Household Support Fund Applications.
Further information about the benefits which you may be entitled to receive, can be found on the Advice & Benefits page of this website.
As part of the application process for Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Council Tax Support Scheme for 2023/24, Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, Council Tax Emergency Hardship payments, Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding, the Council will collect personal data about you and your family. This will include:
- Details about you, such as your name, address, telephone number, email address, National Insurance Number, household composition and income details
- Special categories of information such as health information e.g. mental or physical disability, trade union membership, etc.
- Other relevant information needed to process your claim such as your landlord details
We will use this data to process your claim and may check some of the information with other sources to ensure the data is accurate (see “Who will we share this information with”)
Why we collect and use this information
The majority of our functions are governed by local government legislation and the main reasons are:
The Council uses your personal information in order to administer and enforce Council Tax and Business Rates under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and associated Regulations.
The Council uses your personal information in order to administer and enforce the Business Improvement District Levy in accordance with The Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004 and associated regulations.
The Council uses your personal information in order to administer Housing Benefit and Discretionary Housing Payments under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and associated Regulations.
The Council uses your personal information in order to administer its Council Tax Reduction scheme under S13A and Schedule 1a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and associated Regulations.
The Council uses your personal information for processing applications for Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding in accordance with the Energy Prices Act 2022. The Act allows for the government to issue support for energy costs (section 13) and enables government to empower delivery partners to provide the support to recipients (section 15). The Act, and subsequent regulations, also provides for delivery of the funding through local authorities in Great Britain as Local Welfare Provision. Local authorities, Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) and contracted organisations will share personal and non-personal data in the form of reporting data, necessary for the purpose of enabling monitoring and to enforce compliance. This data sharing is governed by a Data Sharing Agreement between DESNZ and local authorities. The information that you provide will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
The lawful bases for processing your data are:
- Article 6(1)(c) of the GDPR gives the Council a lawful basis for collecting and using personal data in order to comply with its legal obligations.
- Article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR gives the Council a lawful basis for collecting and using personal data where it is in the exercise of official authority vested in the Council.
- As the Council has to ascertain whether an exemption or discount applies, we may also ask you at times to provide personal data known as ‘special categories’ of information under Article 9 (1) of the GDPR. An example of this is information relating to your physical or mental health, medical needs or disability.
- Article 9(2)(g) gives the Council a lawful basis for collecting and using personal data where the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest and the associated condition under the Data Protection Act 2018 is ‘Statutory etc and government purposes’ under Schedule 1, Part 2, Paragraph 6.
The Council is also obliged to collect certain pieces of personal information in order administer Business Rates, Council Tax, Business Improvement District Levy, Housing Benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Council Tax Support Scheme for 2023/24, Discretionary Housing Payments, Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and process on line payments etc. under one or more of the following pieces of legislation:
- Local Government Finance Act 1992
- The Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004
- Social Security Administration Act 1992
- Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
- Energy Bills Price Act 2022
Storing this information
The Council will protect your information and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t.
The Council will usually keep personal information in line with retention guidelines for local authorities and not keep your information for longer than is necessary.
When the Council no longer has a need to keep it, it will delete or destroy it securely.
The Council may monitor and record electronic communications (website, email and telephone conversations) for a number of reasons. For example, staff training, records of conversations for the detection, investigation and prevention of crime. We will inform you if your call is being recorded or monitored.
Emails that the Council send to you, or you send to us, may be retained as a record of contact and your email address stored for future use in accordance with our record retention schedules.
If we need to email sensitive or confidential information to you, we may perform checks to verify the correct email address and may take additional security measures.
Who we share this information with
The Council will not normally disclose or share sensitive or confidential information without your explicit consent.
For example, in order to facilitate the effective provision of service and support to tenants of One Vision Housing the Council will share personal information which has been gathered as part of the Housing Benefit assessment process provided the One Vision Housing tenant has consented to the use of their data.
The Council has a duty to protect public funds it administers and may use information held about you for all lawful purposes, including and not limited to the prevention and detection of fraud, matching Council Tax data with electoral registration records and protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.
However, there may be certain circumstances where we would share without consent, such as where we are required to do so by law, to safeguard public safety and in risk of harm or emergency situations. Only the minimum information for the purpose will be shared.
We share information with:
- Civica online payments - the Council and Civica will ensure that the information you provide when making Online payments is used for no other purpose and is not disclosed to a third party, other companies or individuals unless required to do so by law for the prevention of crime and the detection of fraud.
- Enforcement Agent companies employed by the Council for the purposes of collecting money owed to the Council or tracing the whereabouts of debtors.
- Southport Business Improvement District (BID) – the Council will provide BID the name of each non-domestic ratepayer and the address and rateable value of each hereditament which is occupied, or (if unoccupied) owned, by the ratepayer in the geographical area of the Business Improvement District. The Council and BID will ensure that the information you provide is used for no other purpose than developing a Business Improvement District proposal and maintaining an accurate and up-to-date BID register.
- The Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI), which is a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. The Council is required by law to participate in this Government initiative which allows for information to be used for cross-system and cross-authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud.
- The Office for National Statistics, which is responsible for the collecting, analysing and disseminating statistics about the UK’s economy, society and population. The Council is required by law to participate in the provision of data for this purpose.
- Other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/administering public funds, such as HM Revenue & Customs, the Police, disclosures required by law and for the performance of any of the Council’s statutory duties.
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - the law allow the DWP to share information about its customers with the Council for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction purposes, so that the Council can work out the correct amount of benefits and support to award. The DWP - to data match Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme details with information held by credit reference agencies. Data matching is where records held on one computer system are compared electronically with records on one or more other systems. The DWP may compare computer records about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme with information on computer systems used by the credit reference agencies to identify possible fraud or error.
- The DWP makes use of a credit reference agency to carry out data matching for each Council. This is to identify people who are living with a partner but who have not told the Council this. The contract makes it clear that no electronic 'footprint' will be left on individual customers' credit accounts. This means that the data matching will not affect people's credit ratings.
- The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Sefton Council has a data sharing agreement in place for administration of the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding.
- TransUnion Credit Reference and Tracing Agency - data is used by the Council for and calculation of discounts for Council Tax.
- Inform CPI who is a third party working for or on behalf of the Council – providing the Council with Revenue Forecasting, combatting fraud & Business Rates Retention Software which also helps increase and maintain our rating list.
- Other service areas within the Council where the law allows for example, keeping the electoral roll right and the licensing private rented properties.
We also pass your information to third party printing services; to produce paper bills and letters. These suppliers only use your data on our instructions. They won’t use it for any other reason, will look after it in the same way, and will destroy any personal data they hold as soon as it is no longer required.
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.
Transfers to third countries and safeguards
The Council does not usually transfer personal information overseas. Any contracts with providers who might host personal information abroad have appropriate clauses to ensure adequate technical and organisational security measures are in place by the provider.
What we ask of you
- Please give us accurate information
- Tell us as soon as possible about any changes to your personal circumstances
- Tell us if you notice mistakes or inaccuracies in the information, we have about you
This helps us keep our information reliable and up-to-date.
Requesting access to your personal data
Under data protection legislation, you have the right to request access to information that we hold.
To make a request for your personal information contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 0345 140 0845 (9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Friday. We are closed weekends and Bank Holidays)
- We offer an appointment-only service from Southport One Stop Shop, now based in The Atkinson in Cambridge Arcade, Southport (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm)
- Visit Bootle One Stop Shop, 324 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3ET (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- Use our online contact form https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/contactform (this will be forwarded to the appropriate service area for a response which may take a few days).
You also have the right to:
- object to processing of personal data that is likely to cause, or is causing, damage or distress
- prevent processing for the purpose of direct marketing
- object to decisions being taken by automated means
- in certain circumstances, have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed and
- right to data portability in certain circumstances
- The right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority (the Information Commissioner’s Office)
If you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data, we request that you raise your concern with us in the first instance. Alternatively, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/
If you would like further information about this privacy notice, please contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer at: email@example.com
Sefton Council Code of Practice for Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) Services
(Updated April 2023)
Sefton Council uses the services of external firms of Enforcement Agents in the recovery of outstanding arrears of Sundry Debt/Other income, Housing Benefit Overpayments, Council Tax, Business Rates, Business Improvement District Levy (BID levies) and Parking Fines.
From 6 April 2014 bailiffs were replaced by Enforcement Agents.
This Code of Practice for Enforcement Agents replaces the Sefton Code of Practice for Bailiffs dated August 2013 and reflects the changes required under the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007and subsequent regulations.
The main objective for an Enforcement Agent, together with the Council, is to provide an effective and efficient Enforcement service in the collection of debt.
This Code of Practice has been drawn up in an endeavour to achieve the very best practice in the conduct that is expected of our Enforcement Agents.
Failure to comply with the requirements of this Code of Practice and the relevant legislation may result in the Council terminating with the services of the firm of Enforcement Agents.
You can find the full code here. The Code of Practice is currently being updated and will be available to view shortly.