How we use your information
Aberdeen City Council collects and maintains information about you and your household in order to administer Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Educational Benefits and Entitlements (where applicable) within Aberdeen City. This information can include your name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number, financial information, including bank details for you and your partner (if applicable), contact details for you and others in your household, any forwarding address or details of any other addresses you have lived at in Aberdeen City.
We keep this information on our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction assessment system and on our imaging and workflow system (which holds electronic copies of documents relevant to your claim or application).
We will use the information to make you liable (if appropriate) for Council Tax. We will also use this information to assist in the recovery of Housing Benefit over payments. To streamline the awarding of entitlements, as well as using the information to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, we now use the information you provide in our consolidated claim form to assess and award (if applicable) educational entitlements and benefits (Free School
Meals and School Clothing Grants) to relevant members of your household.
We have a duty to protect public funds we administer and may use information held about you for all lawful purposes, including the prevention and detection of fraud, matching Council Tax data with electoral registration records and protecting public funds in investigating misuse of public money.
This includes information that you have provided to us as part of the claim for Housing Benefit or application for Council Tax Reduction process, as well as information from a variety of different sources, including private landlords, housing associations, other local authorities, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), HMRC and other Council departments, including Council Tax records for your household.
What else we use your data for
Other than to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, we may use your information for the following purposes:
- To help decide if you are entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment.
- To help identify if you could be affected by the benefit cap.
- To help identify people who may be eligible for certain benefits (Attendance Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment, Carer's Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Retirement Pension, State Pension Credit, Widowed Parents Allowance, Winter Fuel Payment) and to encourage, assist or advise people to make claims for them.
- To help identify people who may be affected by welfare reform changes (Universal Credit).
- To help identify if you are entitled to housing support services.
- To help prevent and reduce homelessness.
There are other services across the Council who may ask you if they can check your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction records. These services will always ask for your consent to do this, which you do not have to provide, though this will mean that you will have to provide other evidence of your eligibility.
Who we share your data with
If you have a private landlord or rent your property from a housing association, we will normally only share information about your award of Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction with them where you have provided us with consent to do so. The exception to this is if you are more than 8 weeks in rent arrears then your Housing Benefit payment will be sent directly to your landlord. If this is the case, your landlord is entitled to be provided with limited information about your Housing Benefit claim, and we will provide this without your consent.
We share information with the DWP, HMRC and a variety of other organisations all as required or allowed by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may also share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.
On behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland, Audit Scotland appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of Aberdeen City Council. Audit Scotland currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We provide sets of data to Audit Scotland for matching for each exercise. These are set out in Audit Scotland's instructions, which you can find on the Audit Scotland website.
The use of data by Audit Scotland in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority, normally under its powers in Part 2A of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection law.
Data matching by Audit Scotland is subject to a Code of Practice. You can also find this on the Audit Scotland website.
Audit Scotland are also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises. Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information.
Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified but the inclusion of personal data within a data matching exercise does not mean that any specific individual is under suspicion. Where a match is found it indicates that there may be an inconsistency that 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 exercise can also help bodies to ensure that their records are up to date.
For further information on Audit Scotland's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, please see the full text privacy notice on the Audit Scotland website or contact:
Revenues and Benefits
Business Hub 16
Aberdeen City Council
How long we keep your information for
We currently keep your information without limit of time where you are part of a household which is currently in receipt of, or has previously been in receipt of, Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction (formerly Council Tax Benefit). We will also keep information about you where you have been part of a claim/ application for Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction (formerly Council Tax Benefit) which has not been successful.
We have a project underway to implement deletion of Housing Benefit / Council Tax Reduction (formerly Council Tax Benefit) information where the award has been cancelled, there are no outstanding Housing Benefit over payments, no ongoing appeals and/or no ongoing fraud investigations. Information will only be deleted where these circumstances have been met and the information is older than the current financial year plus six years. The full range of circumstances where we will keep or delete information is being decided as part of this work and will be detailed here on completion of the project.
Aberdeen City Council is the Data Controller for information about you that we use to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction. You have rights to your data, including the right to ask for a copy of it. See more information about all of the rights you have. You also have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They are the body responsible for making sure organisations like the Council handle your data lawfully.
Our legal basis
Wherever the Council processes personal data, we need to make sure we have a legal basis for doing so in data protection law. The Council understands our legal basis for processing personal data in relation to administering Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Educational Benefits and Entitlements as Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation. This is because we are required by the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (Section 134) and the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 to administer Housing Benefit, and by the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (Section 139) (as amended) to administer Council Tax Reduction. We are required by Section 53 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, as amended by the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007 to take steps to make sure that anyone who is entitled to a free school lunch receives one, and have a duty under Section 54 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 to make provision for appropriate school clothing for pupils require it.
In administering these schemes, we are also likely to process special categories of personal data. The Council understands our legal basis for doing so as Article 9(2)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation, because processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of social security law.