Personal information charter

Our personal information charter contains the standards you can expect when we ask for, or hold, your personal information. It also covers what we ask of you, to help us keep information up to date.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) needs to collect and handle personal information about you so that we can provide services for you. Our personal information charter tells you the standards you can expect when we ask for your personal information. It also includes what we ask you to do to help us keep your information up to date.

If we ask you for personal information, we will:

  • make sure you know why we need it
  • only ask for what we need
  • make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • keep it securely
  • let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services
  • ask you to agree to us sharing your information where you have a choice
  • only keep it for as long as we need to
  • not make it available for commercial use (such as marketing) without your permission

In return, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes, such as a new address

This helps us to keep your information reliable and up to date.

Ask for a copy of the information we hold about you

To ask for a copy of the personal information DWP holds about you, please use our request for personal information form. You can write to us instead but you must use our form if you are asking for information on behalf of someone else. Requests for personal information are sometimes called ‘subject access requests’.

We will not charge you for this service.

If you write, please include a description of the information you want (for example Jobseeker’s Allowance records) and tell us your:

  • full name
  • full address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number

Where to send your request

Take or send your request by post to the office you usually deal with or your nearest office – usually a Jobcentre Plus office. Please do not send your request by email.

When you should get our reply

We will send you the personal information you have asked for as soon as we can. This will be within 40 days from when we get your request, as long as your request gives us enough information to identify you and the information you ask for.

Understanding the information we send you

Read our guidance on understanding DWP abbreviations to help you understand the information we send you.

More about how we collect and use information

DWP collects information to deal with:

  • social security (including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Local Welfare Provision)
  • child support
  • employment and training
  • promoting financial planning for retirement
  • policy relating to occupational and personal pension schemes

The information we collect about you depends on the reason for your business with us, but we may use the information for any of these purposes.

We may check information we collect about you with other information we have.

We may get information about you from other people and certain other organisations.

We may share information with certain other organisations such as:

  • other government departments
  • local authorities
  • private-sector bodies, such as banks and organisations that may lend you money

We will only give information about you to someone outside DWP if the law allows us to.

We may share your information for a number of reasons, including to:

  • check the accuracy of information
  • help people with particular difficulties, such as troubled families
  • help people get or stay in work
  • help people get education and training to improve their chances of getting work
  • support people with independent living, including home help and respite care
  • prevent or detect crime
  • check payments for services
  • protect public funds in other ways
  • use for research or statistical purposes

DWP administers Vaccine Damage Payments jointly with the Department of Health. Read about how we collect and use information about Vaccine Damage Payments.

Changes to this charter

If our charter changes, we will update this page. Check this page to make sure you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it and the circumstances we may share it with other organisations.