Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your personal information
The government is putting in place a range of extra support and measures to help individuals and businesses affected by Coronavirus.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is responsible for implementing some of these measures which may involve changes to the way that your personal information is processed by the department. We may also be asked to share your personal information with other government departments and organisations in order to help provide targeted support to individuals and businesses.
While some of these measures will be carried out quickly due to the evolving nature of the current situation, MHCLG will always take appropriate account of the requirement to meet its data protection obligations, as set out in this charter.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published advice for individuals about how and when organisations can use your personal information during the coronavirus pandemic and how to keep your information safe in the data protection and coronavirus information hub area of its website.
If you have any concerns about how MHCLG is handling your personal information, you can email the department’s Data Protection Officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personal information charter and privacy notice
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) sometimes needs to process personal information about you so that we can provide services for you, carry out our associated public functions, and comply with applicable laws and regulations. These public functions include:
- driving up housing supply
- increasing home ownership
- devolving powers and budgets to boost local growth in England
- supporting strong communities with excellent public services
MHCLG knows how important it is to protect your privacy and to comply with data protection legislation and any new laws. As such, we will not give your personal information to anyone, including government departments and their agencies, local authorities, the police or any other public or private sector bodies, unless we have informed you at the point of collection and/or have lawful authority to do so.
Our personal information charter explains what you can expect when we ask for, hold, or in any way process your personal information. It also covers:
- what we ask of you to help us keep information up to date
- how you can request a copy of the personal information we hold about you
- how you can report a concern
The processing of your personalinformation is governed by data protection legislation including the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018) and other relevant legislation.
When we ask you for personal information, we ensure that you are provided with the information you are entitled to have under law via a concise privacy notice. This will include:
- informing you why we need it and what we are going to do with it ensuring we only ask for what we need and don’t collect too much, or irrelevant information
- protecting it and ensuring sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
- informing you of any other recipients or categories of recipients that we will need to share it with when there is an identified need and it is lawful to do so
- telling you how long we are keeping it for ensuring we don’t keep it longer than necessary
- informing you, where applicable, how to tell us if you object to us processing your information and how to tell us if the information we hold about you is not correct or you want us to erase it
- telling you how to ask us what personal information we hold about you
- how to contact us and our Data Protection Officer
- letting you know how to complain to the Information Commissioner if you are not satisfied with the way we process your information
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 keep your information reliable and up to date.
Keeping personal information
We will keep your personal information generally only for as long as is needed to provide you with a service or conduct our business in accordance with our functions and our records management policy as describe in the privacy notice provided to you. However, there may be times when we may need keep it for longer to meet other legislative requirements, or to answer requests for information from ongoing or impending statutory inquiries.
Sharing information with others
Any personal information you provide will be held securely and processed in accordance with data protection and other relevant legislation. We may disclose your information to other organisations so that we can carry out our functions, or to enable others to perform theirs. Generally, you will be informed of this in the privacy notice provided to you. Other organisations include, but are not limited to:
- other government departments and agencies
- local authorities
- police and other law enforcement agencies
- courts and other judicial bodies
- fraud prevention bodies
- organisations we appoint to process information on our behalf and under our instruction
MHCLG will have a formal agreement in place to ensure that any information about you that we pass to a third party will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the data protection legislation.
How to ask for your personal information
Under data protection legislation you have the right to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning you is being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal information and other information about the processing.
In certain circumstances we do not have to give you the information you have asked for. For example, if it relates to preventing or detecting crime.
To ask for personal information held about you by MHCLG, please contact the Knowledge and Information Access team using the contact details below.
Knowledge & Information Access Team
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2nd floor NW, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
When you write to us to access your personal information you must provide the following:
- confirmation of your identity: a copy of your passport, full driving license or birth certificate (please do not send original documents)
- confirmation of name and address: a copy of your full driving license, a copy of a recent utility bill, bank or credit card statement, pension or child benefit book (or similar official document which shows your name and address)
- if you are writing on behalf of someone else, a signed declaration from the person you are acting for indicating that they have asked you to make an application on their behalf
If possible, you should also send:
- details of all addresses you have used in previous correspondence with MHCLG, including email addresses (if applicable) so that we can search our systems
- any information that might help us in locating the information in which you are interested (this might include details of any contacts you have had with MHCLG at any time, and details of why you think we will hold information about you)
Once we receive all the above information, MHCLG has one month within which to respond to your request. This may be extended by up to 2 months in complex cases.
MHCLG does not keep records of individuals as a matter of routine and if you have had no previous dealings with the department, it is unlikely that we will hold information about you. If, however, you have reason to believe that we do hold information about you, please indicate any contacts or dealings you have had with the department in the past, so that we can locate anything that is relevant.
Reporting a concern
When we process your personal information, we will comply with the law, including data protection legislation. Should you feel that your information is being processed in breach of data protection law or other legislation, you can report your concern to our Data Protection Officer using the contact details provided above, or contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at:
Telephone: 030 3123 1113
You can also visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website
Below is a general MHCLG privacy notice that covers, for example, correspondence that the department has received. For more specific processing a more detailed individual privacy notice will be issued. This privacy notice has been created to be understandable and concise. It does not include exhaustive detail about what information we hold, every organisation MHCLG shares information with, how the information is collected or how long all information is kept.
1. The data controller
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the “data controller”. This means that we are responsible for determining what personal information we collect about you and use, why and how (the ‘purpose and manner’).
2. Why we are collecting the data
When we ask for your personal information, we promise only to ask for what we need, and to make sure you know why we need it. If it includes contact details, we will also tell you anything else that we may use it to contact you about and whether you can say no. If you do then say yes to us contacting you about other things, you can withdraw your consent at any time.
Sometimes we do not ask for your personal data, but we might obtain it by using dedicated online tools that monitor social media activity in the topic areas of interest to us. Social media posts often include publicly available personal data. We anonymise social media data when we share information about online activity found by online listening tools.
3. Why we are legally allowed to process your data
The reasons that we can use to collect or use your personal information are set out in law. Most of the time, the lawful basis for us processing your personal information under data protection legislation will be because it is necessary for our work as a public body (the processing is necessary for the performance of a task in the public interest - (Article 6(1)(e) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation).
When we collect and use your personal information under any other lawful basis, we will let you know which part of data protection law we are using.
4. Sharing your data
We will usually let you know if we are going to share your personal data with other organisations. You can ask us for details of agreements we have with other organisations for sharing your information.
If you write to us on a subject that is not our policy area, and the response needs to come from another government department, we will transfer your correspondence, including the personal data, to that department.
Sometimes, we may be legally obliged to provide copies of personal information to other organisations. For example, to provide information to the police, or to a public inquiry. We might not be always able to tell you that we have shared your information in this way.
Sometimes we may share your personal information with a third party organisation outside of MHCLG where we appoint that organisation to process information on our behalf and under our instruction as a ‘data processor’, (e.g. for the purpose of conducting effective analysis of responses to a public consultation exercise). We will ensure that any information that is shared and used in this way will continue to be managed and protected in accordance with strict data protection requirements.
We won’t make your personal information available for commercial use without your specific permission.
We anonymise social media data when we share information about online activity found by online listening tools.
5. Keeping your data
We will only keep your personal information as long as we continue to have a lawful basis to do so. This will usually mean that it is still necessary for our work as a public body. This will be decided by our ongoing business need and any laws or government policies that affect how long we keep it. We have a “retention schedule” that sets out how long we will keep different types of information for.
6. Your rights
The data we are collecting is your personal data, and you have rights that affect what happens to it. Generally, you have the right to:
(a) know that we are using your personal data
(b) see what data we have about you
(c) ask to have your data corrected, and to ask how we check the information we hold is accurate
(d) ask to have your data deleted where the lawful basis for us collecting and using your personal information is the ‘consent’ you have given to that
(e) complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (see below)
7. Sending data overseas
We will not usually send your data overseas. If for some reason we do, such as storing data on computer servers that are not in the UK, we will ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place.
8. Automated decision making
We will not normally use your data for any automated decision making. If we need to do so, we will let you know.
9. Storage, security and data management
Your personal data will be stored securely and will be protected to make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t.
You can ask us for details of our instructions to staff on how to collect, use and delete your personal data.
What we ask of you
So that we can keep your personal information reliable and up to date, please:
- give us accurate information
- tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes, such as a new address
Complaints and more information
When we ask you for information, we will keep to the law, including the UK General Data Protection Regulation, the Data Protection Act 2018 and any new legislation coming into force.
If you are unhappy with the way the department has acted, you can make a complaint.
If you are not happy with how we are using your personal information, you should first contact email@example.com.
If you are still not happy, or for independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing, you can contact:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 030 3123 1113