Council Tax - Privacy Notice
Who the Council is and what the Council does
The Council is a data controller under the Data Protection Legislation as the Council collects and processes personal information about you in order to provide Council Tax services and meet our statutory obligations.
The Council maintains databases to ensure efficient and effective billing, collection and recovery of Council Tax.
This notice explains why the Council asks for your personal information, how that information will be used and how you can access your records.
We also use information to improve our services so that they are more appropriate to people’s requirements. We recognise that your personal information is important to you, and we take our responsibilities for ensuring that we collect and manage it proportionately, correctly and safely very seriously.
On 3 February 2022, the government announced an energy rebate to help with the rising energy costs. This includes a £150 Council Tax energy rebate payment for households that are liable for Council Tax in Bands A-D in England payable after April 2022.
We use personal information to award payments to:
- Confirm residency at the property (sole/main residence)
- Verify bank account for payments to be made.
Any questions regarding our privacy practice should be sent to:
Data Protection Officer (DPO)
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices, Witney OX28 1NB
Tel: 01993 861194
Why the Council needs your information and how the Council uses it
In accordance with prevailing legislation, Local Authority Tax collectors are obliged to levy and collect taxes. The legislation that requires Local Authorities to collect and administer tax from its residents is as follows, the list is not exhaustive:
- The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
- The Local Government Finance Act 1992
- Local Government Act 2003 – section 85.
The Council uses your information collected for purposes of administering Council Tax setting up your account for billing purposes, processing discounts, exemptions etc.
The lawful basis for processing your information are:
- GDPR Article 6(1)(a) - the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes
- GDPR Article 6(1)(c) - processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligation to which the Council is subject
- GDPR Article 6(1)(e) - processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest in the exercise of official authority vested in the Council.
What type of information is collected from you
You will usually have to pay Council Tax if you are 18 or over and own or rent a home.
In order to administer our services the Council collects the following information from you:
- telephone number
- National Insurance Number
- Occupancy Status (such as how many adults reside in the property)
- Information relating to household income (including state benefits)
- Information relating to household expenditure (including rent charges)
- bank details for invoicing / payments
The Council will only ask for personal information that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. 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.
Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)
Information may be shared with other services at our partner Authorities such as Housing Benefit and the matching of Council Tax data with Electoral Registration records. It may also be shared with other agencies in accordance with prevailing Data Protection Legislation for the detection and prevention of fraud and crime.
Under section 85 of the Local Government Act 2003, information gathered as part of the Council Tax billing process will be shared with the Housing Department for the purposes of bringing empty homes back into use.
By law the Council must give out some information if the Council is asked - for example by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs.
Empty property/second home owner information may be shared with the Homes for Ukraine Team (see Homes for Ukraine Privacy Notice) so they can send information to the property owners about the Homes for Ukraine Scheme for the purpose of bringing empty properties into use and thus providing accommodation to our Ukrainian refugees.
The Council is required by law to participate in National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercises. Housing benefit and council tax reduction information may be provided to the Cabinet Office for NFI purposes and will be used for cross-system and cross-authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud. We will also share information with the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The Council will also use the information for the purpose of performing any of its statutory enforcement duties. It will make any disclosures required by law and may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/ administering public funds. The Council may share the details with other organisations that handle public funds and assist in the processing of other benefits.
Your personal information may be converted ('anonymised') into statistical or aggregated data in such a way that ensures that you cannot be identified from it. Anonymised data cannot, by definition, be linked back to you as an individual and may be used to conduct research and analysis, including the preparation of statistics for use in our reports.
How long the Council keep your information (retention period)
Council tax has retention schedules in place to ensure that information is only held for as long as it is needed. We will not keep your information for longer than is required to by law. Your information will be disposed of in a controlled and secure manner in accordance with the Council’s Policy.
How the Council protect your Information
All the information the Council collects is stored securely on our IT system and manual filing systems. The Council has strict procedures for the way this is done. Any and all information about you is treated as confidential and with respect. There are also clear rules and guidance about storing, recording and sharing information which staff receive training on.
The Council will not transfer your personal data outside the EU without your consent.
The Council has implemented generally accepted standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personal data from loss, misuse, or unauthorised alteration or destruction.
Please note however that where you are transmitting information to us over the internet this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure.
If you use your credit or debit card to make payments, the Council passes your card details securely to our payment processing partner as part of the payment process. The Council does this in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Security Standard, and doesn’t store the details on its website. The information you give to the Council when using our online payment system will only be used for the recording of your payment.
The Council will notify you promptly in the event of any breach of your personal data which might expose you to serious risk.
You have rights under the Data Protection Legislations:
- to access your personal data
- to be provided with information about how your personal data is processed
- to have your personal data corrected
- to have your personal data erased in certain circumstances
- to object to or restrict how your personal data is processed
- to have your personal data transferred to yourself or to another business in certain circumstances
- to be told if the Council has made a mistake whilst processing your data and the Council will self-report breaches to the Commissioner.
How you can access, update or correct your information
The Data Protection Legislation allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Council Tax data along with all other personal records.
If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection Officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of our records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
The accuracy of your information is important to us to be able to provide relevant services more quickly. The Council is 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 the Council holds is inaccurate or out of date, please provide information via the online portal, email us or write to us at:
Revenues and Benefits Service
West Oxfordshire District Council
Council Offices, Witney OX28 1NB
If you would like to know more about how the Council uses your information, or if for any reason you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described here, please tell us. Contact the Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about data protection please visit: www.westoxon.gov.uk/about-the-council/council-data-and-access-to-information/data-protection/
If you are concerned about the way the Council is handling your personal information you can contact the Information Commissioner (ICO): https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
The Council reserves the right to update this privacy notice from time to time by publishing a new version on our website.