Fair Processing Statement

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    Hi – I have been advised that we need to be sending a “fair processing statement” to all non dependants where we are “assuming” an income due to the claimant not providing actual evidence of income. I have some concerns about how to deal with any resulting enquiries from the non dependants and from any claimants wanting to know why we have revealed the existence of a claim to their non dependants – has anyone had any experience of this and if so, can you give me some process pointers on dealing with these queries


    who told you this?


    Surely you mean writing to the claimant? I’m not even sure you should be writing to a non-dependant regarding another person’s claim.


    Why would it make any difference what kind of income – real or assumed – the non-dep has? You are holding personal data about the non-dep in any case where there is a non-dep and so you must process the data fairly and all the usual subject access rights will apply.

    Interesting point actually. Should the fair processing notice that you typically find on HB claim forms specifically mention family members and non-deps? Is it sufficient that this notice is only sent to the claimant? How can these people exercise subject access rights if they don’t even know they are a data subject? Is that in itself unfair processing – to hold personal data about someone without them knowing? Section 7(1)(a) of the Data Protection Act seems to require that any individual about whom you hold personal; data should be told.

    The assumed income raises a further issue I suppose, which is whether it is necessary as a matter of fair processing to have some sort of indicator that clearly identifies the assumed income as a notional system override and not a purportedly accurate amount. Is it unfair to record income of £999.99 without a little flag that says “not really – it’s just to make the system apply the maximum non-dep deduction”

    My guess would be that the Information Commissiner would regard any complaint by a non-dep or family member about this sort of thing to be just about the most trivial they have ever received, but that’s only my guess.


    “Is that in itself unfair processing – to hold personal data about someone without them knowing?”

    Non-deps and family members wouldn’t be the only people affected here – what about private landlords, employers, ex-partners, childminders, joint tenants, appointees, friends and relatives who support those pesky nil-income claimants…

    Sounds like you’d be opening a large can o’ worms if you started notifying everyone you hold data about.


    Thanks for all of the feedback – I’m REALLY scared now…..I’m torn between what we maybe shoud be doing and the backlash that could be associated with opening that gigantic “can ‘o worms” – does anyone actually send these statements out to anyone other than the claimant then? Any “best practise” advice would be gratefully received :~


    This sounds like a request from a DPA/FOIA officer or somesuch, asking you to inform non-claimants that you hold some information about them and maybe explain why you have this information.

    It seems unnecessary to me, since the information held will usually be fairly minimal. To be honest it seems like it might be a colossal waste of time.

    That said, if you can spare the staff, I don’t see why you couldn’t draw up some very basic letters like:

    Dear [non-dep]

    I am writing to inform you that the Council holds the following information about you

    -Assumed income

    The reason we hold this information is that it is required to determine a claim for HB/CTB.

    As a data subject, you have the right to access this information under the Data Protection Act. If you would like to make a request under the Act, please contact our DPA officer.

    Personally, I’ve never heard of a “fair processing statement” until today :p


    Hi Michael – you and me both actually (fair processing statement – wot!!) I see your point with the letter but one of our concerns is that by doing this, we would be notifying the non dep etc that there is a claim for HB/CTB in existance and the actual claimant may not want their son/daughter/non dep knowing that they have made a claim – doesn’t that contravene the claimant’s rights under the Data Protection Act? I feel a bit like a hamster going around on a wheel – wish I’d never heard of the flipping fair processing wotsit now and was still in blissful ignorance…. :((

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