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Privacy Notice

 Solon South West Housing Association: Privacy Notice for residents

Your contact with Solon generates records including personal information, some of which may be sensitive and all of which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998.  We respect residents’ privacy. This privacy notice sets out Solon’s approach to data protection and privacy, and how we ensure this is protected.
 

How we collect personal information

Solon collects information in a variety of ways including application forms and questionnaires, telephone conversations, the website, contracts, through ongoing contact and correspondence with you and with other support agencies which relate to you, and also from people associated with you such as family, friends and neighbours. We may also have CCTV cameras in public areas in some properties to record events.

It is important that you tell us if any of the personal information you have given to us changes so that we can keep this up to date or discuss it with you.

If you provide us with personal information relating to members of your family or your associates we will assume that you do so with their knowledge and consent.

What information we collect, hold and use

When you apply to us for housing, we request information so we can understand your housing needs and assess your application. This may include references from other landlords, your mortgage lender (if you own/have owned your own home), the police and probation services, support workers, social workers, mental health workers and credit reference agencies. 

If you become a Solon resident, we also need bank details, benefit and council tax information. We may also get regular feedback from our contractors about appointments with you and other aspects of our routine contact with you. We will often record information when you contact us or use our services and we will note any action taken, for example logging repairs, so that we know what has happened to enable us to tackle future problems more effectively.

We may take pictures at residents’ parties, meetings and other events, and these may be used in newsletters, annual reports, brochures or on the website or Facebook and they may appear in local newspapers.  Whenever we take pictures we will always ask you for your written permission and give you the choice whether or not to be included in a photograph.

Who the personal information relates to

We collect and hold personal information about: 

Residents - This includes current, former and potential residents who live in our properties or access our support and other services, together with members of their families and people associated with them. 

Visitors - Visitors to our offices or.  

Anyone - who makes an enquiry to Solon.

Anyone - who makes a complaint to Solon.

How we use our records

We keep records to enable us to: 

  • Assess applications for housing and then allocate housing and provide tenancies.
  • Manage housing and tenancies including collecting the rent and any service charges.
  • Provide a repairs and maintenance service.
  • Offer support, advice and help with debts and benefits.
  • Provide support services where needed by residents including vulnerable residents.
  • Keep in contact with residents, invite you to events etc.
  • Prevent and detect crime and resolve disputes.
  • Prevent and detect fraud and money laundering.
  • Promote safety and the quiet enjoyment of houses and estates.
  • Discuss services with residents to identify improvements.
  • Provide information about services requested by you.
  • Promote equal opportunities and fair treatment for all residents.
  • Develop new products and services to meet the future needs of our communities.
  • Meet our legal obligations to our regulators and funders.

Sensitive personal information

Sensitive personal information is any information consisting of personal information such as racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition, sexual life, employment history, income, allegations of criminal offences and criminal convictions and offences.

The Data Protection Act requires us to minimise our holding and use of sensitive categories of personal information. This means that we will only collect and use it when it is necessary to provide special services, or to deal with special circumstances. Examples include when we receive applications from people with disabilities or with problems such as substance abuse, when there are anti-social behaviour issues involving actual or alleged criminal activity or when residents need access to care services. 

We will tell you when we need to collect and process sensitive personal information and how we will use it, including who we may need to share it with. In most cases, we will usually need to get your agreement to this. 

Direct marketing

We may occasionally wish to provide you with information about events, services and other information which may be useful to you.  We will send this by post, email or contact you by telephone. You can let us know at any time how you prefer to be contacted or if you do not want us to contact you with this information.

We will never provide any of your personal information to other companies for their marketing purposes. 

Protecting and sharing information

Your personal information will be kept secure and confidential. Our staff only have access to your personal information when and if they need to have it to provide the service to you.  We may share information with contractors, or agencies we work with, such as local authorities, social services, police, other social landlords and others when we think it is in your interest or in the public’s interest to do so.  We will also disclose information as required by law. 

In particular, please be aware that: 

  • Current or forwarding addresses may be shared with utility companies and Council Tax offices to ensure billing details are correct.
  • If you default on any tenancy or licence conditions, information about you may be provided to authorised debt recovery agencies, to enable them to recover the debt. This may affect future applications for tenancies, credit and insurance.
  • We may discuss your financial situation, rent payments (including any arrears) and any claims made for welfare benefits with an external debt advice agency, welfare rights advisor, a council’s housing benefit department or housing advice and homeless prevention team to ensure that benefits are paid correctly.
  • We may pass data about your rent payment record to credit reference agencies. This will enable them to assist other organisations to assess your financial standing if you apply for products and services.
  • We may pass your contact information to a third party to conduct surveys and research on our behalf which allow us to gather feedback and improve the services we offer you. The third party will always be bound to strict terms and conditions outlined by us and will not share your data with other organisations. Should you choose not to participate in the surveys the third party will securely destroy your data.
  • We may share your National Insurance number to verify your Universal Credit application and manage these payments.
  • We may also share your National Insurance number in order to prevent and investigate tenancy and right to buy applications fraud.

National Fraud initiative

Solon may occasionally participate in the National Fraud initiative (NFI) data matching exercise carried out by the Government. Our participation in NFI assists in the prevention and detection of fraud against Solon and other public sector organisations.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one organisation with records held by another to see how far they match. This is usually personal information.  Data matching allows fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The use of data in this way is carried out with statutory authority and therefore does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Your rights under the Data Protection Act

You have the right to obtain access to your own personal information we hold about you at any time so you are aware of and can check whether we are holding and using it lawfully. This is called a ‘subject access request’ and it should be made in writing (including via email or social media), including providing proof of your identity and address.

Solon will provide a copy of this information free of charge, unless a request is unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive. We may also charge a reasonable fee to comply with requests for further copies of the same information.

Information will be supplied within one month of receipt of the request.  This can be extended by a further two months where requests are complex or numerous. However, we will write to explain why the extension is necessary within the first month.

We can refuse to respond where the request is unfounded or excessive but where we do so, we must explain to you informing you of your right to complain to the supervisory authority (the Information Commissioner) and to a judicial remedy within one month.

You have the right to have your personal information corrected if it is inaccurate or incomplete. We will respond to this within one month, extendable by two months where the request for rectification is complex.

You have the right to ask for the deletion or removal of personal information where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing and if it is causing or likely to cause substantial damage or distress.

You have the right to restrict processing of personal information in certain circumstances for example when you contest the accuracy of the information, or object to processing.

In certain circumstances you have the right to data portability so you can obtain and reuse your personal information for your own purposes across different services.

In this case, we must respond without undue delay, and within one month. This can be extended by two months where the request is complex or we receive a number of requests.

You have the right to object to the use or processing of your personal information in certain circumstances, including use for direct marketing.

Changes to our privacy notice

This privacy notice will be updated to reflect changes either to the way in which we operate or changes to data protection legislation. We will bring any significant changes to your attention but to make sure that you keep up to date, it is recommended that you look at this notice regularly. 

Contacting us         

Please contact the Corporate Services Assistant to make any requests in relation to your rights, or if you have any other queries about the Data Protection Act or Solon’s Data Protection Policy:

Solon South West Housing Association Limited, 1 Newfoundland Court, St Paul Street, Bristol, BS2 8AN   e.mail: gavin_murphy@solonswha.co.uk

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