Benefits Service Privacy Notice

How we use your personal information 

At West Somerset Council we take your privacy seriously and will only keep and use your personal information for reasons that the law requires or allows.  We are a data controller for the personal information we hold about you in relation to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reductions.  In order to comply with data protection legislation we want to be sure you understand how we use this information.
The purposes for which your data will be used are:-
  1. Ensuring that you receive the correct amount of Housing Benefit
  2. Ensuring that you receive the correct amount of Local Council Tax Reduction
  3. Recovering any overpaid Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction
  4. Assessing any Discretionary Housing Payments or Council Tax Reductions that we may be able to pay to you.
  5. Preventing and detecting fraud and error within the benefit system 
We are able to do this because legislation says we must do it and the processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligations.  There are very many different regulations covering the administration of Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Reductions.  The main rules are contained in;
  • Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
  • Social Security Administration Act 1992
  • Social Security Act 1998
  • The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 (as amended)
  • Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001
  • Local Government Finance Act 1992.
  • Local Government Finance Act 2012
  • The Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (England) Regulations 2012
This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
We are required by law to hold and use some of your information for:
  • Administering the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction schemes.
  • Preventing and detecting fraud and error within those schemes or other areas.
We may share your information with;
  • Other agencies involved in the processing of benefits (this would typically be the Department for Works and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or the Valuation Office Agency).
  • Other councils or organisations as part of the national fraud initiative.
  • Your landlord, in limited circumstances only.
Otherwise, we will only share your data if you ask us to, or if the law requires or allows us to.
We only keep this data for the time specified in our retention schedule or as required by law. 
Your personal data is processed (including storage) within the European Economic Area only.
Data protection law provides you with certain rights, however not all of these rights will be available to you in all situations, particularly where we process your information as part of one of our statutory duties.  Where we are under a legal duty to use data for a particular purpose you will not have the right to prevent it being used in that way.  A full list of the rights you may have, under data protection law, is given in our main privacy statement at the top of this webpage.
If you wish to complain about how your personal information has been handled by West Somerset Council then please contact the Data Protection Officer at in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied you can submit a formal complaint to the Council via our online complaints form.
Finally you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, Tel: 0303 123 1113 or you can visit their website at