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Revenues and Benefits Services privacy notice

How we use your information in relation to Revenues and Benefits Services

This privacy notice tells you what to expect when Harlow Council collects personal information in relation to your use of Harlow Council’s Revenues and Benefits services.

Purpose of processing and legal basis for processing your personal information

The billing, collection and enforcement of local taxation and other miscellaneous debts as well as the assessment and payment of Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support is the statutory responsibility of the council.

In order to enable Harlow Council to carry out its duty it is necessary for us to collect personal information from you to include your name, address, contact details and other personal information to support any application for a reduction in Council Tax or business rates or assessment of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

Who we share your information with

We work with a range of other organisations to either store personal information or help us deliver our services to you. We may also share your personal information when we feel there’s a good reason that’s more important than protecting your privacy. As an example, we may share your information in order to find and stop crime and fraud.

Those that we may share your information with are:

  • other Harlow Council services (for example, Electoral Services and Housing)
  • bodies investigating or processing claims
  • public sector agencies (for example, Department for Work and Pensions, Office for National Statistics, HMRC, other local authorities and private sector companies such as credit reference agencies)
  • bodies working to prevent fraud and supporting national fraud initiatives (for example, LoCTA)
  • registered social landlords

Retention period or criteria used to determine the retention period

We will retain your personal information in accordance with the retention periods contained in the council’s records retention policy.

The sources the personal data originates from and whether it came from publicly accessible sources

Personal information originates mainly from the customer, but can be provided by other sources on an individual basis (for example, letting agents, solicitors, landlords, internal departments within the council, or other third parties particularly when a property is occupied or vacated).

Information is also provided by other bodies to assist with the processing of applications for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support or reduction in Council Tax or business rates as well as the prevention of fraud as below:

  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • Valuation Office Agency
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • pension service
  • credit reference agencies
  • other local authorities (Essex County Council)
  • registered social landords

Whether the provision of personal data is part of a statutory or contractual requirement or obligation and possible consequences of failing to provide the
personal data

We have a statutory duty to provide these services to you and we will use and disclose your personal information in the manner described in this privacy notice, therefore the consequences of you failing to provide your personal information is that we can no longer comply with our statutory duty.

The existence of automated decision making, including profiling and information about how decisions are made, the significance and the consequences

The service does not automate decisions or profile its customers.

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated in November 2023.

You can also read the council’s main privacy policy.

How to contact us

If you want to request information about our privacy policy, please contact the council’s Revenues and Benefits Service using their online contact form.

Or write to us at:

Revenues and Benefits
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
Harlow, Essex
CM20 1WG