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Welcome to
West Somerset Council

Privacy Statement

Fair Processing Notice

West Somerset Council is registered as a ‘data controller’ under the Data Protection Act as we collect and process personal information about you.
The Council is registered for Data Protection purposes with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Our registration is shown below:

Registration Number: Z4582842

We process and hold information your information in order to provide public services. This notice explains how we use and share your information. Information may be collected on a paper or online form, by telephone, email, CCTV or by a member of our staff, or one of our partners.
We will continually review and update this privacy notice to reflect changes in our services and feedback from service users, as well as to comply with changes in the law.

How the Council uses your information

The council is committed to compliance with Data Protection legislation. Keeping your personal information accurate and secure is a vital part of providing efficient services to you.

The council will only use the information it holds about you for the purpose you provided it except in the circumstances outlined in this notice. It will also only collect the minimum information necessary to fulfil that purpose.

When you provide information you will be told what it will be used for and whom it will be shared with. However, you need to be aware that the council is required to share your information, on occasion, between different sections of the council and with other agencies to help reduce crime or investigate fraud. An example of this is in reducing Benefit fraud and involves the council sharing Council Tax, Electoral Registration and other licensing and registration data to ensure that claimants are not claiming illegally.

The council also works closely with other councils and community organisations and often needs to share information with them in order to deliver your services. However, the council will not supply these organisations with your information unless it is satisfied that equal measures are in place to protect the information from unauthorised access. The council will also not supply your information to any organisation for marketing purposes without your prior consent.

The council has a responsibility to promote social wellbeing and works in partnership with other councils and agencies such as the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, the voluntary services and the Health Service in order to preserve life, reduce accidents, reduce crime and disorder and improve health.

To promote this social wellbeing the council may need to share your personal and sensitive information with other councils and partner agencies.

What is Personal Data?

Personal Data is information that relates to a living individual who can be identified either:

  • from the information
  • from the information combined with any other information which is already in the possession of, or likely to come into the possession of, the person or organisation holding information.

The information includes any expression of opinion about the individual, and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual. Personal data will therefore cover basic details such as name, address, date of birth and telephone numbers.

The council must always comply with the 8 Principles of Data Protection when handling your personal information. These principles state that data must be:-

  • fairly and lawfully processed
  • processed for limited purposes
  • adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • accurate and up to date
  • not kept for longer than is necessary
  • processed in line with your rights
  • secure
  • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
What is Sensitive Personal Data?

Certain data is also categorised as ’Sensitive Personal Data’, for example:

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • physical or mental health or condition
  • sexual life
  • offences (including alleged offences)
  • religious or other beliefs of a similar nature

The law says explicit consent should be sought to before using your Sensitive Personal Information. Usually your consent will be sought when you make an application for council services.

Why does the council collect and retain Personal Data?

In order to provide you with efficient and effective services the Council needs to collect personal data. The council may also need to share your personal data with other service providers who are contracted to carry out services on their behalf.

These providers are obliged to keep your personal details secure and use them only to fulfil your service request. The council will process the information you provide in a manner that is compatible with the Data Protection Act and in particular aims to comply with the principles stated above. The Council will use information about you for the provision of services and specifically for the following:-

  • for all law enforcement, regulation and licensing, criminal prosecutions and court proceedings which the council is obliged to undertake
  • all financial transactions to and from the council including payments, grants and benefits; where monies are due or outstanding the  council reserves the right to use all the available information at its disposal to protect public funds.

Your information will only be held as long as necessary and will be disposed of in a secure manner when no longer needed. The periods for retention of information are specified in the council’s Retention Schedule.

Sharing information with other partner agencies

The council has a responsibility to promote social wellbeing and to work with other councils and partner agencies such as the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, the voluntary services and the Health Service in order to preserve life, reduce accidents, reduce crime and disorder and improve health. To promote this social wellbeing the council may need to share your personal and sensitive information with other councils and partner agencies.

The sharing of sensitive personal data where your consent has not been directly secured will only occur in order to promote community wellbeing for example in saving life, reducing crime, reducing accidents and improving health and will be on a “need to know” basis.

Sharing information with the Cabinet Office

This authority is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for; auditing, or administering public funds, or where undertaking a public function, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Cabinet Office is responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise.

The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice.

View further information on the Cabinet Office’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information.
 

Telephone Calls

Ordinarily we will inform you if we record or monitor any telephone calls you make to us. This will be used, to increase your security, for our record keeping of the transaction and for our staff training purposes.

E Mails

If you email us we may keep a record of your contact and your email address and the email for our record keeping of the transaction.

CCTV

Two Public Space CCTV systems are in operation in Minehead and Watchet and are operated to provide public reassurance; to assist in the maintenance of community safety and to prevent and detect crime. The service is provided by a partnership between Minehead Town Council, Watchet Town Council, West Somerset Council and the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

See our CCTV webpage for more information.
 

Our Website 

Disclaimer

While every care has been taken in the compilation of the information on our website, West Somerset Council will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of inaccuracy or error within these pages.
West Somerset Council does not endorse any external linked sites and is not responsible for their content.< /p>

Email terms and disclaimer

Please note the following point in relation to emails sent to and sent by West Somerset Council. Any email including its content may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation and used by West Somerset Council for reasons of security and for monitoring internal compliance with its email policy. Email blocking software may also be used.

Data Quality

West Somerset Council is committed to the highest standards of quality of information.
If you are aware that there are any errors in the information provided please notify us by emailing customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk

Information about West Somerset Council and our Website

Our privacy policy covers West Somerset Council and its website. Should you have any queries about the site, you can contact us by emailing customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file that is sent to your browser from a web server and then stored onto your computer's hard drive. They are used to store information about you on your computer.

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most Web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, your browsing experience may be reduced.

For more information about cookies go to the All about Cookies website.

Accessing West Somerset Council's Website

You can access our website home page and browse our site without disclosing your personal data to obtain information about West Somerset Council services and activities.

What personal information do we collect?

To use our online services we will ask you to register your name, email address and other relevant personal details. We will also collect information from you if you complete any other forms on our site or if you contact us with comments or specific requests.
 

Collecting information automatically

In order that we can improve our online services we will collect information about your visits to www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk. These statistics do not contain personal data and cannot be traced back to an individual.
This site uses cookies in order to provide a service to visitors. No personal data is stored in cookies and cookies are not used in order to provide advertising. Cookies are used for the following purposes:

  1. to allow users to log in to the web site
  2. to check that cookies can be set and therefore determine whether a user is able to log in
  3. to store a reference to form data that is stored on the web server
Google Analytics and Cookies

Google Analytics is Google's free web analytics tool that helps website owners understand how their visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics collects information anonymously, and much like examining footprints in sand, it reports website trends without identifying individual visitors.
Analytics uses its own cookies to track visitor interactions. The cookies are used to store information, such as what time the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before, and what site referred the visitor to the web page.
To disable this type of cookie, some browsers will indicate when a cookie is being sent and allow you to decline cookies on a case-by-case basis. In addition to declining cookies, you can also install the Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on in your browser, which prevents Google Analytics from collecting information about your website visits.

Learn more about the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on and other Google Analytics privacy information on Google.com.

Disclosure

We will only use personal information you send us for the purposes for which you provide it.
We will only hold your information for as long as necessary for these purposes and will not pass it on to any other parties, except where required to carry out our duties and functions as a local authority.
All employees and partners who may have access to your personal data are obliged to respect the confidentiality of your personal data.
All your communications to us are protected against unauthorised access by third parties.

Confidentiality/Security

All the personal data stored on this website is recorded in a secure database.
All our employees and data processors, who have access to, and are associated with the processing of personal data, are obliged to respect the confidentiality of our visitors' personal data.

Further Information

If you require further information about the use of your data or wish to make a subject access request your personal data held by The Council please contact:

The Data Protection Officer

West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 4QA