Who we are and what we do
The Gateshead Housing Company is responsible for managing the Council’s housing stock and dealing with Council tenants and leaseholder issues as well as undertaking day to day repairs and planned maintenance programmes. We also manage the Housing Options Team providing advice and assistance on housing and homelessness issues. We collect and recover income for the Council’s housing stock and for households in temporary accommodation. We also facilitate the Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) which is a means-tested grant for home adaptations to Council and private properties across Gateshead.
Why we need your information and how we use it
The processing of this information is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation primarily under the Housing Act 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to which we are subject.
We take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to administer your Housing account and to provide services you have requested from us. We follow the principles of Data Protection legislation, as well as respecting people’s rights to confidentiality and privacy. Personal data can include information supplied to us such as:
- asking people to fill in their names, addresses and health information on an official form, either online or in paper form;
- recording and retaining the calls customers make to a call centre, although we do not do this as a matter of course, and on occasions when we do this customers will be advised in advance.
We share your information with Gateshead Council or third parties / sub-contractors who deliver services on our behalf.
Under the Data Protection Act 2018, individuals have a right to access and receive a permanent copy of all their personal information which The Gateshead Housing Company holds.
For further information on how your information is used, how we maintain the security of your information and details of how to submit a request please see the Data protection and Subject Access Requests page of our website.
Using your personal information
Personal information which you supply to us and information about other household members* may be used in a number of ways, for example:
- to make housing decisions
- for fraud prevention
- for audit and debt collection
- for statistical analysis
* When you provide information about household members we assume that you do so with their full knowledge and consent.
We may share your information with, and obtain information about you from, credit reference agencies or fraud prevention agencies. Information provided by you may be put onto a housing register and shared with other organisations to prevent fraudulent claims. We will not disclose any information to any company outside of The Gateshead Housing Company or Gateshead Council except to prevent fraud, or if required to do so by law.
Information we hold about you and how we use it
- We keep financial records about the amount of money you have paid us, any amounts outstanding and action taken to recover money you owe.
- We hold names and dates of birth, photographic ID and information about your previous housing circumstances to assess housing applications and help prevent tenancy fraud and illegal subletting.
- We hold contact details for you so we can communicate with you, and to keep you informed about other services we offer which may be useful to you
- We record information about your needs and requirements to ensure our services are accessible; that we take account of any support needs in our dealings with you; and to improve our communications with you.
- We record information to assist us in delivering housing management services including reports of anti-social behaviour; complaints; change in circumstances.
- We hold information about residents from Council and private sector properties to facilitate Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) applications, including Occupational Therapist reports.
- We may hold recordings of your telephone calls to us, as some calls to our contact centre and lettings are recorded for training and monitoring purposes so we can ensure we are delivering a good service. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased.
- We may capture your image on our CCTV systems if you visit an estate, office or community facility which is covered by this facility. Any recordings will be held in accordance with our corporate retention policy before being erased. This data may be shared with the Police in relation to the prevention or detection of crime or fraud.
- We may carry out market research and customer satisfaction surveys to help us to monitor our performance and to improve our services to our customers.
Generally the information we hold will have been provided by you (on application or enquiry forms or when we communicate with you), but we may also hold information provided by third parties / sub-contractors where this is relevant to your housing circumstances (e.g. from social workers and health professionals, doctors and occupational therapists).
We will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. In accordance with the Housing Act 1988, 1996, and 2004, the Homelessness Act 2002 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. In some cases, you can refuse to provide your details if you deem a request to be inappropriate. However, you should note that this may impact on our ability to provide some services to you.
Processing of your personal information will be undertaken in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018. Access to personal information is restricted to authorised individuals on a strictly need to know basis. We will treat your personal information fairly and lawfully and we will ensure that information is:
- processed for limited purposes
- kept up-to-date, accurate, relevant and not excessive
- not kept longer than is necessary
- kept secure
We are committed to keeping your personal details up to date, and we encourage you to inform us about any changes needed to ensure your details are accurate. To help us to ensure confidentiality of your personal information we will ask you security questions to confirm your identity when you call us. This may also be necessary when we call you.
How long we keep your information
We will only hold your records during the period of our relationship with you and for a set period afterwards to allow us to meet our legal obligations including resolving any follow up issues between us (for example if you live in one of our properties we will hold information about you for the duration of your tenancy. If you move, and are no longer a resident we will usually keep records about you for up to 12 years).
The InformationAssetRegister lists the retention periods, who we will share this data with and legal basis for processing the information.
Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)
When sharing information we will comply with all aspects of the Data Protection Act. Where necessary or required, we may share your personal information as follows:
- with our contractors, in order to undertake repairs, maintenance or improvement works
- with third party service providers and sub-contractors, in connection with services performed on our behalf. For example if we use a research company to carry out a resident satisfaction survey, if we use a mailing house to distribute our newsletters, or if we use a sub-contractor to carry out repairs to a property.
- our relationships with such providers are governed by our contracts with them which include strict data sharing and confidentiality protocols.
- with landlords, housing associations and trusts, in connection with tenancy references and associated enquiries.
- with community partners in connection with the delivery of co-ordinated local services.
- with utility companies (and their representatives) and Council Tax Offices, to ensure billing details are correct.
- with credit reference agencies and debt collection agencies, in connection with some housing applications and in relation to any outstanding charges.
- with local authorities and government departments, as necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions.
- with police and other relevant authorities (e.g. Probation Service, Department of Work & Pensions, HM Revenues & Customs) in relation to the prevention or detection of crime and fraud; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders and the assessment or collection of tax or duty.
- with other statutory organisations, e.g. social services and health authorities, as necessary for exercising statutory functions.
This list is not exhaustive as there are other circumstances where we may also be required to share information e.g. in order to meet our legal obligations. We will use all information held by us for the purposes of law enforcement, regulation and licensing, criminal prosecutions and court proceedings.
How to opt out
You have the right to opt out of The Gateshead Housing Company receiving or holding your personal identifiable information in certain circumstances.
There are occasions where service providers will have a legal duty to share information, for example for safeguarding or criminal issues.
The process for opting out will depend on the specific data is and what it relates to. For further information, please contact the Gateshead Housing Governance and Risk team by email at DataProtection@gatesheadhousing.co.uk.
Business Intelligence, profiling and automated-decision making
Profiling means any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a person, to analyse or predict aspects concerning that person’s economic and health situation, reliability, personal preferences and interests etc.
We may use your information from the different services that you engage with to create a single view and profile of you, which will help us to better understand your specific needs and ensure we are providing the right and efficient services to you in accordance with your needs, as well as ensure that we hold one accurate record of your basic personal data across all our services; such as your name, DoB, address, email address, change in circumstances etc.
Profiling will be carried out only when it is necessary in order to provide you with the service you have agreed to receive or where the company has a statutory obligation or where to the law allows. However, we will notify you where we would do this and where required we will seek your consent.
Protecting your information
Any information held by The Gateshead Housing Company about individuals is held securely and in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018.
The Gateshead Housing Company is committed to protecting its service users’ personal data. We have measures in place to ensure that our staff, partners and suppliers look after your information in line with good practice and the law. These follow the rules and practices known as Information Governance (IG).
The information security measures we’ve put in place include:
- following good Information Governance practice and the law when it comes to collecting, handling and giving access to information
- training staff in their data protection responsibilities
- putting processes in place to ensure good Information Governance practices for information we collect, hold or handle in both manual and electronic forms
- access to your information is only given to those who need to know and where it is necessary
- information will not be held for longer than required and will be disposed of securely
- we encrypt all our electronic devices and sensitive information that is transmitted is encrypted
How you can access, update or correct your information
The Data Protection law gives you the right to apply for a copy of information about yourself. This is called a ‘Subject Access Request’.
The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. We are working to make our record keeping more efficient. In the meantime, if you change your address or email address, or if any of your circumstances change or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please email us at email@example.com.
Your information choice and rights
Where we use your personal data for other purposes other than what you have consented or where we have to fulfil a statutory obligation, or where the data protection law allows, then we will let you know so that you can make an informed choice about how your information is used.
If you do not want your information to be used for any purpose beyond providing the services you have agreed to receive, such as; sharing it with our partners for service delivery planning or improvement of services or for Business Intelligence, profiling research or statistical purposes (in such instance only minimum and necessary, anonymised or pseudonymised data will be used), you can choose to opt-out of this.
However, if you opt out or withdraw consent from certain processing of your information, we may not be able to deliver certain services to you. For example; if you do not consent to provide your information to Home Office to check eligibility for receiving housing, then this will affect the decision we make with regards to your entitlement to receiving Housing.
You may not be able to object to your information being used, held, or shared under certain circumstances. For example, where have a duty to safeguard a vulnerable person, or the prevention and detection of crime, or where we are required to fulfil our statutory obligations.
Where you would like to withdraw your consent or opt-out of any other use of your information, please write to:
Governance and Risk Lead
The Gateshead Housing Company
Tyne and Wear
Information Commissioner’s Office
The Information Commissioner is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights.
If you would like to know more about your rights under the Data Protection law, and what you should expect from us, visit the Information Commissioner’s website.
If you have any concerns regarding our privacy practices or about exercising your Data Protection rights, you may contact the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 745
If you would like to discuss anything in this privacy notice, please contact:
- Governance and Risk Lead
The Gateshead Housing Company
Tyne and Wear
Tel No: (0191) 433 5308
- Data Protection Officer
Corporate Services and Governance
Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
Tel No: (0191) 433 2113 or 433 2192