DPA – HB Data used for other purposes

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    Our auditors have just audited our parking services (bear with me). The report recommends that before unpaid parking debts are written off, the HB database should be checked for current address details etc to help recovery.

    Our Application Form declaration (along with the customer agreeing to data sharing between Govt departments etc) also requires them to agree to us using the information on the form in connection with other Council Business.

    The auditor feels that this would allow us to use the data in this way, but we feel uncomfortable with this because the customer does not have the option to ‘opt out’ of us using the data. Its one thing to use it to administer Council Tax, or to aid in the provision of Council Housing, but fine collection is a different sphere of business.

    What do people think? are we allowed to do this?




    From the guidence manual

    Access to information within LAs
    8.90 Information given by, or held about, a member of the public should be used only for the purpose for which it was obtained or given. LAs are expected to make information given to them for HB or CTB purposes available to those officers within the LA who need it to administer or audit claims for benefit. LAs may use HB or CTB information for other purposes (eg to assess entitlement to free school meals) but only if the claimant consents. This is specified on the claim form.


    So we [i:57dff0303b]could[/i:57dff0303b] use the information but would have to have an ‘opt-in’ question separate from the main declaration (?)


    That is how I read it. Thinking back to all the exchange of info issues around Supporting People back in 2003, claimants defiantly had to “opt in” and that was info being shared for “nice” purposes.


    Julian Hobson

    No diffiniative reply unfortunately. I think there are all sorts of concerns here not least of which is s123 of the SSAA 1992.

    However if you work for the Isle of Eigg Borough Council and as well as being Chief Exec have Benefits admin and parking charges as some of your duties, how could you ignore the information you would know. This might sound like a really silly thing to say but, why should the size of the authority dictate the extent to which knowledge we have about our customers is shared ?

    Many LA’s are looking at CRM systems to “manage” the customer experience. Obviously any LA that has a CRM system will be able to attribute (for example) a parking debt to a customer at the time it occurs and it will be linked to the address known to the LA. When the HB dept get notification of a change of address all the services associated with that customers will come with it and will in effect be in the Info sharing loop.

    Makes a nonsense of s123 doesn’t it ?


    From A13 2003 – Not quite the same, but the principals still apply.

    Transfer of information during “live running” from April 2003
    7 Given that HB will be a “passport” to the remission of support charges after April
    2003, Supporting People (SP) authorities will from time to time want to confirm
    whether a grant applicant is in receipt of HB. They may also want any information
    on income and capital you may hold on unsuccessful HB claims, in order to assess
    whether there is entitlement to partial remission of support charges.

    8 Following further legal advice, we are providing new guidance on these live running
    issues. Our previous advice was that legislation did not permit the transfer of HB
    information after the initial conversion of the THB cases, and that from April 2003
    you must therefore obtain the consent of the claimant, before passing any
    information to SP teams. Lawyers have now advised that Section 94 of the Local
    Government Act and the Scottish equivalent do permit an ongoing flow of
    information from HB to SP sections (subject to paragraphs 11 to 13 below).

    9 Consent however, still remains an essential part of any exchange of information
    from April 2003, because the legislation provides for only a one-way flow of
    information, from HB to SP. It does not permit SP teams to approach you for
    information without the claimant’s consent.

    10 SP teams must therefore obtain the informed consent of the claimant before
    approaching HB sections for information. When asking for HB information therefore
    (by whatever means: clerical or IT interface) they must:
    • confirm that consent has been obtained
    • set out clearly what information is required


    [size=9:b4e7d9a7b9](Wonders why there are no hits on Google for Isle of Eigg Borough Council)[/size:b4e7d9a7b9]


    My current LA is considering the use of a debtor tracing system for Council Tax and Benefit overpayments. The software shares information with Revenue & Customs, other LAs and various other agencies.

    The software is part funded by the DWP. The Information Commissioner wrote to the company involved, esentially accepting that the product may breach the DPA but that they would only consider individual complaints.

    A geen light to the LAs to break the law and get a slap on the hand if the traced person discovers how they were traced (not very likely)

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