Who we are
We are a Local Authority established under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 and have our Headquarters at Newtown St Boswells, Melrose, TD6 0SA. You can contact the Customer Advice & Support Service by email or by calling 0300 100 1800.
Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted using the contact details as set out above or by email.
How we will use your information
We will use your information to determine if you are entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. We are entitled to collect and use this information under our statutory duty to provide this service to you provided for under the Social Security Administration Act 1992; Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992; The Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Regulations 2021.
If you do not provide us with the information we have asked for then we will not be able to provide this service to you.
Other than to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction, we may use your information for the following purposes:
- To help decide if you are entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment
- To help identify if you could be affected by the benefit cap
- Financial Assistance with Care Charges and Housing Support Costs
- To help identify people who may be eligible for certain benefits (Attendance Allowance, Adult Disability Payment, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment, Carer’s Allowance, Child Disability Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Early Learning and Childcare (ELC2), Employment and Support Allowance, Free School Meals and Clothing Grant, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Universal Credit, Retirement Pension, State Pension Credit, Widowed Parents Allowance, Winter Fuel Payment) and to encourage, assist or advise people to make claims for them
- To help identify people who may be affected by welfare reform changes (Universal Credit)
- To help identify people who may be affected by the cost of living crisis
- To help identify if you are entitled to housing support services
- To help prevent and reduce homelessness
- To help identify if you are entitled to any government grant
- To ensure your Council Tax liability is correct.
Information you have given us about other people
We sometimes need information about people other than the person, or partner of the person, that has applied for a benefit to work out what that person is entitled to. For example, where a person makes a claim for Housing Benefit, we need income information about non dependants who live in the same household to work out how much non dependant deduction will be made.
If you have provided anyone else's details on this form, please make sure that you have told them that you have given their information to us. We will use this information to assess your own entitlement to this service. We may contact them for further information to assist with this. If they want any more information on how we will use their data they can visit our website or email us .
Who we may share information with
Your information will be accessed by our staff who need to do so in order to provide the service described above. We are legally obliged to safeguard public funds so details will be checked internally for fraud prevention and verification purposes and may be shared with other public bodies for the same purpose.
Personal data provided for applications for services administered and/or provided by us may be shared with, or obtained from the following organisations (in addition to any other disclosure required by a Court of Law or in response to a valid request by, normally, a law enforcement agency):
- Staff employed to administer Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Discretionary Housing Payment
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- Social Security Scotland (SSS)
- Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC)
- Cabinet Office
- An external company who are paid to administer Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction on behalf of the local authority (e.g. Civica on Demand)
- External companies who deliver services to enable your Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Discretionary Housing Payment claim to be processed, for example by supplying an online claim form service
- Civica UK Limited
- NEC Software Solutions UK Limited
- The Police
- Sherriff Officer (of persons required to repay an overpayment)
- Employers (of persons required to repay an overpayment)
- Other Council Services
- Other Local Authorities
- Internal and external auditors
- Our External Printers - Xerox Business Services and Digital Printing Solutions & CFH Docmail Ltd.
- Translation & interpreting services when required. These include:
- Language Line
- Alpha Translating and Interpreting Services LTD
- Scottish Borders Interpreter Agency
- Contact Scotland – BSL
- Royal Blind – Scottish Braille Press
Your information may also be shared and analysed internally in order to provide management information, inform service delivery reform and similar purposes to meet our duty to achieve best value and continuous service improvement.
In general we do not transfer personal data outside either the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) and on the rare occasions when it does so we will inform you. We will only transfer data outside the UK and the EEA when it is satisfied that the party which will handle the data and the country it is processing it in will provide adequate safeguards for personal privacy.
Automated Decision Making
We use information received from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and His Majesty's revenues and Customs (HMRC), in relation to changes to DWP benefits which are in the process of payment or have just been awarded, which can automatically amend a claimant’s entitlement. Some of the data provided by the DWP through their automated transfer to local authority systems is imported electronically into our core benefits system. Claims are then reassessed without human involvement. Notification letters to customers and landlords following these re-assessments are also generated automatically.
Details of new rent levels are received from registered Housing Providers and are updated automatically into our core benefits system. The automation is used for consistency and the efficient processing of claims. It also helps to ensure that your current details are used so that you receive the correct amount of benefit / support.
How long do we keep your information for?
We only keep your personal information for the minimum period necessary. Sometimes this time period is set out in the law, but in most cases it is based on the business need. The information you have provided will be will be retained for the current financial year plus five more years.
You have the right to request access to any personal data held about you by us. You can also request that we restrict the use of your information or even object to any further processing. You can do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer using the contact details provided above. We will respond to your request within 30 calendar days.
For more information on your rights please visit our website or if you would like a hard copy of this information, please contact us using the contact details provided above.
How to raise a complaint
We aim to directly resolve all complaints about how we handle personal information. If your complaint is about how we have handled your personal information, you can contact the Data Protection Officer by email or by telephone on 0300 100 1800.
However, you also have the right to lodge a complaint about data protection matters with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), who can be contacted by post to:
Information Commissioner's Office
You can contact the ICO by phone on 0303 123 1113 or you can visit their website for more information.
If your complaint is not about a data protection matter you can find details on how to make a complaint on our website.