Legal Services privacy notice

We understand that your privacy is important to you and it’s important to us too.

Legal Services provides services directly to the various departments of the council.  We cannot act on behalf of members of the public, nor provide you with legal advice.  However, there are certain matters for which you require legal documents or information from the council and Legal Services will provide this.

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when Legal Services collects and processes your personal information.

How we collect your personal information

Most of the time, your personal information will be collected by the relevant council department and shared with us so that we can provide them with the legal service they require. 

However, there are circumstances in which you may provide us with your personal information directly – for example, if you wish to apply for a deed of postponement, you need to offer your property back to the council prior to selling on the open market (also known as the council’s right of first refusal or pre-emption right), or you wish to obtain a certified copy of your lease. 

We may also be provided with your personal information from your legal representatives who you have appointed to act on your behalf to provide you with professional legal services.

Why we need to collect your personal information

As legal representatives of the council, we are instructed by its various departments to take certain legal action on its behalf.  This could be for a variety of matters including issuing court proceedings or acting for the council in the sale of property, among others.

We will collect and process your personal information for the following purposes:

  • to allow us to exercise, establish or defend legal claims on behalf of the council
  • for the performance of a contract to which you are a party (for example, your lease or tenancy)
  • to take steps (at your request) to enter into a contract with you (for example, you are purchasing a council property under the Right to Buy process)
  • to provide a service you have requested (for example, processing your application for a deed of postponement)

Unfortunately, if you do not wish to provide your personal information to us, we may be unable to provide you with the service you require or to comply with our statutory duties.

In the majority of cases, we will not require your consent to process your personal information. However, where your consent is required we, or our instructing department, will contact you to obtain it.

What personal information we collect

The information we collect will depend on the matter for which we are instructed or the service you have requested.

For example, if you are purchasing your property under the Right to Buy process we will require the Home Ownership department to provide us with your name, address, completed forms, verified identification and so on to allow us to comply with the legal requirements for the buying and selling of property.

For other matters, we may only need your name, address and details of your preferred method of contact (such as email address).

There may be circumstances where you provide us with your sensitive personal information (such as information about your religion, race, mental or physical health and so on) when we have not sought to collect it – where this is the case, your personal information will be treated confidentially, kept secure and will not be shared with any other parties unless you specifically ask us to do so, except where we have a legal obligation to share it.

Who we will share your personal information with

As mentioned above, we act as legal representatives to the various departments of the council.  Therefore, where you provide us with your personal information directly, we may share this with the relevant department to obtain its instructions on how to proceed or to provide it with sufficient details of the action we have taken on its behalf.

We will also share your personal information with other departments where it is necessary in order to provide the service you have requested. For example, we will share your name and any other relevant personal information with other departments in order to obtain the personal information that you have requested under a subject access request.

Where we are instructed to issue court proceedings on behalf of the council, your personal information may be shared with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

We will not share your personal information with any other parties, except where we have a legal obligation to do so.

How long we keep your personal information

As a matter of principal, all personal information will be held securely and will only be retained for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which it was provided.

Where it is no longer necessary to hold your information, it will be securely destroyed.

More detailed information on our retention periods is available in the council’s records retention policy (pdf)

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated in July 2020.

How to contact us

If you want to request information about our privacy policy, please contact us by email to admin.legal@harlow.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can write to us at:

Legal Services
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
Harlow, CM20 1WG

For more information on how we collect, use and protect personal information generally, details of the council’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) and the council’s role as a data controller, as well as your rights as a data subject, read our main privacy notice