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Kent Homechoice Privacy Notice

Kent Homechoice is the partnership of Local Authorities and Housing Associations that provide social and affordable housing in Kent.  It is a choice-based lettings scheme for all council and housing association homes in Kent.

We need to process personal data to deliver our services to you:

  • To assess whether you are eligible and qualify for the housing register
  • To determine your level of housing need
  • To determine what type and size or property you are eligible to bid for

We are committed to treating your information securely and confidentially in line with data protection law.

It is important for you to read this notice in full to understand what information we hold about you, how we may use it and your rights under GDPR.

We keep our privacy notice under regular review, and we will place any updates on this website.  If you would like to receive a hard copy of our privacy notice, or a copy in an alternative format please contact your Council.

Detection and prevention of fraud

The personal information we have collected from you may be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. It is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement, provide false documents or to purposely withhold information reasonably required. If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services. 

National Fraud Initiative (NFI)

As part of the council's fraud prevention and detection activities, the council participates in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). The data matching exercise is run by the Cabinet Office.

Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or benefits records of a body, against other records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. The data is usually personal information. The data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is 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 processing of data in a data matching exercise is carried out Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under data protection legislation or the GDPR.

All bodies participating in the Cabinet Office’s data matching exercises receive a report of matches that they should investigate, so as to detect instances of fraud, overpayments or underpayments and other errors, to take remedial action and update their records accordingly.

Further information on the National Fraud Initiative and the data sets used

Who is responsible for the processing of my data?

Each Kent district council, borough council and housing association will be their own controller under GDPR responsible for compliance with data protection legislation, where they determine the purposes and means of how your data is collected, used, and shared.  This privacy notice is the overarching notice for the services and processing undertaken by Kent Homechoice as a partnership. 

Each controller in addition will have their own privacy notices located on their website which can be viewed by the links below.

Ashford Borough Council Privacy Notice
Canterbury Council Privacy Notice
Dartford Borough Council Privacy Notice
Dover District Council Privacy Notice
Folkestone & Hythe District Council Privacy Notice
Gravesham Borough Council Privacy Notice
Maidstone Borough Council Privacy Notice
Medway Council Privacy Notice
Sevenoaks District Council Privacy Notice
Swale Borough Council Privacy Notice
Thanet District Council Privacy Notice
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council Privacy Notice
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Privacy Notice

What information do we collect about you and how is this used?

We will collect personal information when you submit your housing application as this enables us to make a full assessment of your housing needs and determine whether you qualify, if you are eligible and what size and type of property you would be best suited to.

Most information we hold will be collected from you, but we may also obtain this from third parties such as doctors, other health professionals or a previous landlord.  Your details may have also been provided to us by a family member.

We will also store details of your ‘contacts’ which are be added as a separate record and linked to your profile once you are on the housing register.  This may include personal data of:

  • Support workers
  • GPs
  • Probation Officers
  • Social workers
  • Health visitors
  • Employer
  • Next of Kin

To prioritise and assess housing applications we may ask you some or all of the following question types:

What do we ask

Why do we need to know this

Name, telephone number and email address

So that we can verify who you are and contact you

To see if you already have an application

Create your housing register account

Provide verification and security using two factor authentication

To correspond with you

Date of birth

To help us to work out what properties you are eligible for

Gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation

The Public Sector Equality Duty requires that we ask these questions in order to:

Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act. Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

Disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity

To work out the size and type of property that you would be best suited to.

Address History and who you pay council tax to

To work out if you have a local connection

Previous landlord details

We may need to ask your landlord for a reference to support your application

Whether you have pets

Some properties will have a no pets policy

Joint applicants’ details

To work out what size of property you are eligible and to find out whether they have any other housing applications registered

Household member details

To work out what size and type of property you are eligible for

National Insurance Number

To check for duplicate applications

Employment details

To work out if you have a local connection via your employment

Whether you receive child benefit

We ask you this as if you do not receive child benefit then we may not be able to register you to be housed with this child as they should be living with the person that receives child benefit

Whether you are an approved foster carer

To work out the size of property you require

Information about your child/children

We record children’s basic information including their name and date of birth.  We need to know the number of children in your household to ensure that a property would not result in overcrowding

Citizenship questions

To work out whether you are eligible for social housing

Medical questions

We will only ask for medical information where your medical situation is affected by the housing that you are currently living in.

Local Connection details

This helps us to work out if you have a local connection with an area via a family member

Details about your current home

This helps us to work out your banding and the type of property you need

Details about rent arrears and reasons for loss of previous homes

We need to know if you have rent arrears or have lost a home previously as a result of anti-social behaviour as some Council policies will restrict the properties that you are able to bid on

Whether you own or have previously owned property

To work out whether you are eligible for social or affordable housing

Whether you are related to any staff member from the Kent Homechoice partnership

Because we may need to seek senior officers authority before a property offer can be made

Financial Questions

Some properties will be less affordable than others and this information will help us to work with you to determine which properties are affordable.

 

Provision of some of the information requested by us is part of a ‘contractual requirement’. Without this information, we will be unable to accept an application for services. For example, we cannot see if you are eligible for a tenancy or check that an application is not fraudulent without being able to verify your identity. Please speak to us with any concerns.

Where enquiries relate to household members, it is in our legitimate interests to know who you wish to live with you and to check that accommodation offered is adequate for current and near future needs of the household.  We also need to make those aware that we hold and process their personal data in accordance with this notice.

What is the lawful basis for processing your information?

Our lawful basis for processing your personal data is (depending on our processing activity):

  • GDPR Article 6. 1.(b) Contract
  • GDPR Article 6. 1.(c) Legal Obligation
  • GDPR Article 6. 1.(e) Public Task

As processing also includes special category and criminal offence personal data, the additional conditions for processing are:

  • Article 9(2)(g) – processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest. This is supplemented by DPA 2018 section 10(3) & Schedule 1, Part 2, paras 6(1) and (2)(a)  - processed for reasons of substantial public interest.
  • Article 9(2)(j) – processing is necessary for archiving, research, or statistical purposes.
  • Criminal convictions and offences - where processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest - (UK GDPR Article 10 as supplemented by DPA 2018 section 10(5) & Schedule 1, Part 2, paras. 6(1) and (2)(a))

How will we protect information about you?

We will apply appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure your personal information is secure. For example, we have systems in place to ensure that access to personal information is restricted to authorised individuals on a strictly need-to-know basis.

When we need to share personal data with our contractors and third-party suppliers, our relationships are governed by our contracts with them which include strict data sharing and confidentiality protocols.

To help us ensure confidentiality of your personal information we will ask you (and any of your representatives) security questions to confirm your identity when you call us and as may be necessary when we call you. We will not discuss your personal information with anyone other than you, unless you have given us prior written authorisation to do so or where we have received a clear verbal instruction from you (as a one-off circumstance).

Who will we share your information with?

We may share information that you provide with other organisations such as floating support providers, occupational therapists where it is considered that their services may be of benefit to you and when you have given us permission to do so. When sharing information, we will comply with all aspects of data protection law.

Where the information is of a sensitive nature, for example about your health, we will generally obtain consent from you prior to sharing this information, unless we are required or permitted to share this by law.

Where ‘sharing’ is in our ‘legitimate business interests’, we may share your information without seeking your consent first. This may be with:

  • Debt and money management advisors
  • Other Local authority teams such as social services, environmental health and benefit agencies.
  • Utility companies (and their representatives) and Council Tax Departments to ensure billing details are correct.
  • Police and other relevant authorities (e.g. Department of Work & Pensions, Probation Service, HM Revenue and Customs) in relation to the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders or the collection of tax or duty.
  • Agencies committed to protecting public funds and/or preventing fraud in line with the National Fraud Initiative.  More information on the work undertaken is available from the Cabinet Office.
  • Other statutory organisations e.g. social services and health authorities as necessary for exercising statutory functions.

We may also share information when required by law for example when ordered by the Court or to protect an individual from immediate harm.

How long will you keep my data?

Kent Homechoice will keep your information no longer than necessary for the purposes in which it was collected or allowed by law.

We have document retention schedules which sets out how long we keep different types of information for. This is based on National Housing Federation guidance, legal requirements, our purpose for processing and best practice.

Please contact your Council if you would like more information.  You can also find out further information on your council’s websites.

The right to be informed

Through the provision of our privacy notices, we will be open and transparent about how and why we use your personal information.  If you require any further information, or clarification on anything detailed within this notice you can get in contact.

The right of access

You have a right to ask us what personal information we hold about you and to request a copy of your information. This is known as a ‘subject access request’ (SAR).

You can make a SAR by letter, email or over the phone.  We will require further information from you such as what information are you specifically wanting, and if necessary, we will ask that your request is accompanied by proof of identity such as a driving licence or birth certificate (a scan or a photo is acceptable)

If you are seeking to obtain specific information (e.g. about a particular matter or from a particular time period), it helps if you clarify the details of what you would like to receive in your request.

If someone is requesting information on your behalf they will need written confirmation from you to evidence your consent for us to release this and proof of ID (both yours and theirs).

We have 30 days within which to provide you with the information you’ve asked for (although we will try to provide this to you as promptly as possible), in some cases where a request is complex, we may extend by 1 to 2 months.  If this is necessary you will be informed of this and the reasons for our extension.

For a SAR request contact your Local Authority directly via the following email addresses:

Ashford Borough Council - foi@ashford.gov.uk
Canterbury City Council - dataprotection@canterbury.gov.uk
Dartford Borough Council - dataprotection@dartford.gov.uk
Dover District Council - dataprotection@dover.gov.uk
Folkestone & Hythe District Council - Information.Officer@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk
Gravesham Borough Council - gdpr@medway.gov.uk
Maidstone Borough Council - dataprotectionofficer@maidstone.gov.uk
Medway Council - data.protection@medway.gov.uk
Sevenoaks District Council - data.protection@sevenoaks.gov.uk
Swale Borough Council - sar@swale.gov.uk
Thanet District Council - foi@thanket.gov.uk
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council - foi@tmbc.gov.uk
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - dataprotection@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

The right to rectification

You can ask us to rectify your personal data if it is inaccurate or incomplete. Please help us to keep our records accurate by keeping us informed if your details change.

The right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’)

The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. Generally, you have the right to have personal information erased and to prevent processing:

  • Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed
  • When you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing
  • The personal data was unlawfully processed (i.e. otherwise in breach of the GDPR)

This is not an absolute right, and we would need to consider the circumstances of any such request and balance this against our need to continue processing the data.

The right to restrict processing

In some circumstances you can ask us to restrict processing, for example:

  • Where you contest the accuracy of your personal information, we may restrict the processing until we have verified the accuracy of the personal data.
  • If we’re processing your data on the grounds of legitimate interests (as detailed earlier), and whilst we consider whether our legitimate grounds override those of yours.
  • When processing is unlawful, and you have opposed erasure and requested restriction instead.

The right to data portability

If the situation arises where it would be helpful for you to move, copy or transfer personal data we hold about you, across different services, you may be able to ask us to do this. Please contact us to discuss.

The right to object

You can tell us if you object to our processing of your personal data:

  • Based on legitimate interests.
  • processing based on the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling)

Where the objection is for the processing your personal data for the performance of a public interest task, we must stop processing your personal information unless we can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your interests, or, the processing is for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

You can ask us to review any decisions that are determined by automated means. You can also object to our use of your personal data for profiling.

For further information you can contact the Kent Homechoice Partnership Manager, c/o Dover District Council, White Cliffs Business Park, Dover, Kent CT16 3PJ.  You can also email your council directly using the email address provided in this privacy notice.

For independent advice about data protection, privacy, e-privacy and data sharing issues, or to raise a complaint about our processing of your data you can contact the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF or at ico casework@ico.org.uk or by phone on 0303 123 1113.

The website address is www.ico.org.uk