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Homelessness service privacy notice

Data Protection legislation sets out when we are lawfully allowed to process (collect, use, and keep) your data. This notice tells you about how your information will be stored, collected, and shared when you contact our homelessness service, and especially when you make an application for help as a homeless person.

The Data Protection Act 2018, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679, and the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018

The laws we work to give us powers to do certain things and Data Protection legislation sets out when we are lawfully allowed to process (collect, use, and keep) your personal data (information about you) to do this.  This notice tells you about how your information will be stored, collected, and shared when you contact Leicester City Council’s homelessness service, and especially when you make an application for help as a homeless person.

Leicester City Council (LCC) (We) need to make enquiries and obtain, hold, and share information in order to complete our statutory homeless duties to you.  Even if no statutory application is made, we will sometimes assist with advice and referrals for support or accommodation.

Activity we may undertake, as proportionate and appropriate, when you contact us

1. Carrying out enquiries to any individuals, agencies statutory and non-statutory bodies both now and in the future (and hold this data on file, and share this data where appropriate) for the purpose of:

  • Helping to resolve your housing problem/s (including referrals to Support services or temporary accommodation providers. This may be a Council team, or an external organisation commissioned by, or in partnership with, the Council.)
  • Helping to resolve your housing-related problem/s which may mean you are at risk of becoming/remaining homeless.
  • Assessing any application for housing and any possible application for homeless assistance under the Housing Act 1996 and any support needs (including your health, financial and employment needs).
  • Assessing any possible duty under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 where a decision might be reached on any application that a housing accommodation duty is not owed or has been owed but has come to an end, or if you are a single person any assessment under adult social care legislation.
  • To protect the public funds administered by the Council for the prevention and detection of fraud.
  • To safeguard if the information received indicates any matters that may indicate you, or a member of your family, are at risk of harm.

Information may be obtained and also shared.  This could be with landlords; individuals; with any Council Department (including Benefit Services and Social Services); Government Department or Agency; Police; Hospital; Doctor; School and also suppliers of Gas, Water, Electricity, Digital Communications, Satellite TVs, Mobile telephones and landlines; voluntary sector bodies including bodies providing debt advice and support.  This list is not exhaustive but that we will only seek or share information when it is appropriate and lawful.

We have a responsibility to ensure that information held about individuals is obtained fairly and lawfully and that the information held is accurate. Therefore, one purpose of us undertaking enquiries will be to verify the information you have provided as part of your homeless application, to prevent fraud and ensure our statutory duties are undertaken properly and fairly.

We will hold information for a standard 6-year period starting at closure of your application. We will only hold information for longer or shorter than this if there is a legal reason for doing so.

Credit checks

We have advised you that we may undertake a credit search.  This will leave an enquiry footprint with the credit reference agency we search. These are for your protection so that you may see who has been searching your credit report. These footprints are not the same as those recorded by lenders when you apply for credit and do not affect your credit score.

The agency we use is Equifax UK and their search results are the combination of several pieces of data from many sources, such as the County Courts, the local Electoral Register, and in some cases lenders themselves. These agencies are responsible for the accuracy of the information they have submitted about you.  

Equifax’s address is: Equifax Ltd, Customer Service Centre, PO Box 10036, Leicester, LE3 4FS.

Legal bases we process data

We have the following legal bases for processing the above mentioned, but evidence of your understanding of this will be useful when approaching other agencies to make it clear to them that you know about what is occurring with your personal data:

Article 6 GDPR

  • processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation (duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 and provisions under the Children Act 1989 outlined above) to which the controller is subject;
  • processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;
  • processing is necessary to perform a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law as outlined above.

Article 9 GDPR

  • processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject as outlined above.

Article 10 GDPR

  • The DPA 2018 will provide a lawful basis to process criminal offence data.


2. Contacting you by designated mobile phone number/address/e-mail address

You have provided us with contact information that we will use to stay in touch with you throughout.  You must inform the Council immediately if there is a change to your email contact address or mobile phone number.  You must also inform the Council immediately if there is a change to your address.

3. Data may be shared with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - MHCLG (previously known as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) as part of the help we provide to you.

Sharing with MHCLG - Why is your information being shared?

How is your information being used? Will it affect you?

The sharing of data is for research purposes only and aims to provide central government departments, local public services and delivery partners with valuable information about the cycle of homelessness and its impact on outcomes, as well as the impact and cost benefit of interventions and services targeted at reducing homelessness. The information should be useful to inform future service reform and investment decisions.

The data will include personal identifiers, but it will not affect your benefits, services or any treatment that you get. Your information will be anonymised in published research findings and handled with care in accordance with the law. 

Data sharing is necessary to observe the effectiveness of Homelessness Programmes and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 on a wide range of different outcomes that it aims to affect, spanning the remit of different Government Departments; and to control for household and individual characteristics.

This data-share will improve the evidence base for homelessness and be used to inform policy and investment decisions across government and local public services. In particular, it will aid and improve understanding of how households and individuals cycle in and out of homelessness over time and across the country; how homelessness impacts on a range of outcomes for individuals and household members, in particular young people; whether Homelessness Programmes and the 2017 Act improve outcomes for households and individuals; and the long term outcomes for those accommodated in response to covid-19. The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government will use the data gathered to provide local areas and other government departments with aggregate-level findings on the following:

  • the characteristics of individuals and households who are homeless;
  • historic problems (e.g. health problems, levels of offending over previous years, whether members have experienced entrenched worklessness); the fiscal costs associated with these;
  • individuals/households before and after intervention; and assessments of effectiveness, covering a range of outcomes

Additional sharing with MHCLG (and ONS on behalf of the MHCLG)

specific only to people who were rough sleeping or at risk of rough

sleeping during and after the COVID-19 Spring lockdown

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is undertaking an evaluation of the support provided to people sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough during and after the COVID-19 national lockdown. MHCLG is responsible for housing in England.

MHCLG are commissioning an independent research organisation to carry out the research.

What is this research?

MHCLG would like to find out:

  1. How well services work for people who were homeless or sleeping rough in ending homelessness and rough sleeping for them;
  2. What the benefits are for people receiving these services; and
  3. How services can best help people address the wider issues which can accompany homelessness and rough sleeping.

For this, MHCLG want the researchers to collect information directly from people who have received support, about their history, and experiences of homelessness and housing. This will be done through telephone interviews.

What personal information is being shared?

Leicester City Council will share your personal information with the researchers so that they can use it to select people to be part of the study. If they select your details, they will contact you and invite you to take part in an interview. If they don't select your details, they will be deleted within 1 month of the final selection being made and by March 2021 at the latest. The Local Authority has this information because it is responsible for homelessness in Leicester City and holds information on people who are being helped. This information will include your name, date of birth and contact details, such as address, email address and telephone numbers (where these are held). Information on your nationality will also be shared so the researchers know that they might need to contact you in a language other than English. They will use your address or email address to write to you about the research and your mobile number to call you, if you have one.

You will receive a £10 voucher as a thank you for taking part in an interview.

In the interview you will be asked for more personal information, such as your age, gender and your ethnicity, and whether you have spent time in prison or in hospital. This information will help MHCLG understand if services work better for some people than others. It will be up to you whether you answer these questions.

Any information you provide during the interview will be kept strictly confidential, unless a researcher thinks that you or someone else is at risk of harm.  Your personal information may also be used to link your interview answers to interview answers you may have already given to MHCLG to help with earlier research on homelessness.

If you agree to do the first interview, you will also be asked if you agree to being contacted again in the future. If you agree, researchers will use your mobile number to get in touch with you and invite you to take part in more interviews. When you are contacted again you can choose whether or not to take part in another interview. You may be asked to do 3 more interviews. You will receive a voucher each time you complete an interview.

If the researchers can’t contact you directly about taking part in another interview, they will ask for help from the council. This may include Leicester City Council sharing your updated contact details with the researchers.

If researchers are still unable to contact you, they will ask the council to provide some information on your housing situation. This may include information on stays in hospital or prison.

You can choose to complete the interview without agreeing to take part in any further interviews and you don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to.

Agreeing to join interview answers to other information

MHCLG is doing another similar research project on homelessness and rough sleeping, but instead of interviews, it uses information collected by Government Departments. This information will be held by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of MHCLG.

It will include information about:

  1. homelessness applications made to the council
  2. contact with the criminal justice system
  3. drug and alcohol services received
  4. benefits received
  5. health services used

This research is likely to include information on your use of public services and benefits. If you agree, your personal information (name and date of birth) and your interview answers will be shared with ONS so that your interview answers can be used for this other research project and linked to information on your use of public services and benefits.

You can take part in the interviews even if you don’t want your interview answers to be linked with this other information.

What will happen to the results of this research? 

Aggregate level results of this research will be published, e.g. the characteristics of the people helped. MHCLG will publish reports on the gov.uk website. You will not be identified in any research report.  

What happens to my personal information if I can’t be contacted

at all and don’t participate in any interviews?

When the Local Authority shares your personal information, they will also share the number that is unique to you that they hold with information about your housing and homelessness applications. This information is also held by MHCLG with the same unique number (this is referred to as the H-CLIC data - Homelessness Case Level Information Collection). If the researchers can’t contact you at all, they will delete your personal information after 6 months, but keep your unique number. This will be used to collect information about everyone who MHCLG wanted to be part of the research but weren’t, to see if they are different to the people who did do interviews. The researchers will not know whose information they are looking at.

What lawful basis are MHCLG using to process my data (including personal data)?

Data Protection legislation sets out when we are lawfully allowed to process your personal data.  The personal data which MHCLG and Leicester City Council will process will include special category personal data and may include criminal offence data.

The following specific pieces of legislation will allow the lawful processing of personal data.

Article 6 GDPR

  • The processing is necessary for MHCLG to perform a task in the public interest or for official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

Article 9 GDPR

  • 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 employment and social security and social protection law in so far as it is authorised by Union or Member State law or a collective agreement pursuant to Member State law providing for appropriate safeguards for the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;
  • processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.

 Article 10 GDPR

  • The DPA 2018 will provide a lawful basis to process criminal offence data (as required by Article 10 GDPR).

Data security and data storage

All your information will be kept safely and securely. The council will only share your personal information in a way that is secure and the researchers have very clear instructions from MHCLG about how to keep your data safe, what it can be used for and when it will be deleted. The personal information of those who take part in the interviews will be stored until March 2023 at the latest, after which this will be securely deleted. If the researchers do not select your details they will be deleted within 1 month of the final selection being made and by March 2021 at the latest.

Your personal data will not be sent outside of the EU for the purposes of data processing.

Automated decision-making

We will not use your data for any automated decision making.

What if I change my mind about the interview?

If you change your mind about completing an interview, you can let the researchers know. They will delete your answers if they haven’t already been used for the research. Interview answers are expected to be used 4-8 weeks after an interview. You can also tell them to delete your personal details, which they will do within 1 month. This won’t affect your legal rights or the support you receive.

You will be sent the email address/mobile number by text, email or post after the interview has finished and reminded that you can contact the researchers to let them know you have changed your mind.

What are my rights?

Your personal information (names, dates of birth, addresses) will not be kept longer than needed for the research and it will not be used for anything else. It will be held securely and kept in accordance with the law.

If you are unhappy with how your personal information is handled, you can complain about this matter to the Independent Information Commissioner.  You can contact the Independent Information Commissioner at:

  • ico.org.uk/livechat
  • Helpline number 0303 123 1113
  • Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

You also have the right to object to the use of your personal information for this research, the right to obtain a copy of your personal information (name, address etc) and the right for it to be changed if it is wrong, by contacting MHCLG’s Data Protection Officer at dataprotection@communities.gov.uk  or at the below postal address: MHCLG Data Protection Officer, 2 Marsham St, Westminster, London SW1P 4DF

For more information about any part of this notice, please contact Housing Options at: housingoptions@leicester.gov.uk.

To exercise your data protection rights and to request a copy of the information the Council holds about you, please write to:

  • Write to us at: Information Governance & Risk, Legal Services, 4th Floor, Rutland Wing, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ
  • Email us at: Info.requests@leicester.gov.uk