Privacy Policy

At Citizens Advice Southampton we collect and use your personal information to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect people's lives. We have a ‘legitimate interest’ to do this under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation.

We only ask for the information we need. We always let you decide what you're comfortable telling us, explain why we need it and treat it as confidential.

When we record and use your personal information we:

  • only access it when we have a good reason
  • only share what is necessary and relevant
  • don't sell it to anyone

We handle and store your personal information in line with the law – including the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

At times we might use or share your information without your permission. If we do, we’ll always make sure there’s a legal basis for it. This could include situations where we must use or share your information:

  • to follow the law, called 'legal obligation' - for example, if a court orders us to share information
  • to protect someone's life, called 'vital interests' - for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office
  • to carry out our aims and goals as an organisation, called 'legitimate interests' - for example, to create anonymous case studies and statistics for our national research
  • for us to carry out a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law, called 'public task' - for example the Consumer Service
  • to carry out a contract we have with you, called 'contract' - for example, if you're an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you
  • to defend our legal rights - for example, to resolve a complaint that we gave the wrong advice

Who's responsible for keeping your personal information safe?

Citizens Advice Southampton is an independent charity and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity. The Citizens Advice membership agreement requires that the use of your information complies with data protection law.

Citizens Advice Southampton and the national Citizens Advice charity are both responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we comply with data protection law. This means we're a 'joint data controller' for your personal information.

You can check the main Citizens Advice policy for how we handle most of your personal information.

If you've accessed Citizens Advice Southampton

Staff at Southampton Citizens Advice will record your personal information on a secure national Casebook computer system. We will get your permission to hold your information either by giving verbal consent over the phone (and we will record that permission has been gained) or by signing a permission and consent form.

Apart from the Casebook system, we hold some basic information, for example, your name, on our cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 system. 

Tell an adviser if you’re worried about your details being on a national system. We’ll work with you to take extra steps to protect your information - for example by recording your problem without using your name.

Sharing information with organisations

With your permission, we might share your information with other organisations so we can:

  • help solve your problem - for example, if you ask us to contact your creditors, we might need to share your name, address and financial details with them
  • refer you quickly to another organisation for more advice, if relevant
  • monitor the quality of our services 

Organisations we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law. They'll have their own privacy policies for how they handle your information and keep it safe.

When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with third parties.  For example: the Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office and HMRC.

If you are referred to, or from, a local partner agency via the secure Refernet system, your information will be stored on that system for a year. After a year, your information will be deleted.

Local partner organisations we share information with include: CLEAR; No Limits; Rose Road Association; Age UK Southampton; the Environment Centre; Southampton City Council Welfare Right Team; Southampton Advice & Representation Centre (SARC) and Southampton Voluntary Services.

We do not share your personal information with our funders.

Contact Citizens Advice Southampton about your information

If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our Chief Officer. You can contact us to:

  • find out what personal information we hold about you
  • correct your information if it’s wrong, out of date or incomplete
  • request we delete your information
  • ask us to limit what we do with your data - for example, ask us not to share it if you haven’t asked us already
  • ask us to give you a copy of the data we hold in a format you can use to transfer it to another service
  • ask us to stop using your information

Telephone: 023 8022 3659 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)


You can also find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Making a complaint about our service - our privacy policy

If you make a complaint, we collect personal information from you so we can help deal with your complaint.  This might be in person, by phone, email, or letter - depending on how you complain. If someone contacts us on your behalf about a complaint we'll get your permission before we log any of your information.

So we can help you with your complaint, we will need to know:

  • your name
  • one way we can get in touch with you - email, phone or address
  • details of the complaint

You don't have to tell us, but we'll also ask you about your:

  • address
  • phone number
  • email
  • problem - for example, whether you wanted help with debt or housing

If you tell us you've a disability or support need, we'll also make a note of that so we can help you access our services. If your complaint is about advice you received, we might need to look at the information we've recorded about your problem.

We use the information you give us to deal with your complaint.  We'll only access your information for other reasons if we really need to - for example:

  • for training and quality purposes
  • to include anonymised complaint statistics in internal reports
  • All staff accessing data have done data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

When we share your data

If your complaint is about our service and if we are unable to resolve the issue, we might refer your complaint to someone at National Citizens Advice there who will look into it. We'll only do this with your permission.

If you escalate your complaint to an external independent adjudicator, we'll share your complaint information with them.  If your complaint involves an insurance claim, we might share details of your complaint with our insurer, ADS.

Storing your information

We'll store your information securely on our internal systems - sensitive data will be password protected.

We keep your data for 6 years. If your complaint is serious or involves an insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

You can contact us at any time and ask us:

  • what information we've stored about you
  • to change or update your details
  • to delete your details from our records

If you're not happy with how we've handled your data, you can make a complaint. You can find out more about your data rights on the Information Commissioner's website