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 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.

When you use our website, we collect a type of data called cookies which tell us what you're clicking on. Find out more about how we use cookies.

Who's responsible for keeping your personal information safe?

Citizens Advice Southampton and The national Citizens Advice charity and local 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.

Citizens Advice Southampton is an independent charity, and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity.

If you've accessed Citizens Advice Southampton

Our privacy policy will tell you most of what you need to know about what happens to your personal information.

If you’ve given your personal information to another local Citizens Advice, you could check their privacy policy too as there might be some extra information around how your data is stored or shared. If you want to do this, you can contact them directly or check their website.

What we do with your information

How we handle your personal information depends on how you interact with us.

When you get advice from an adviser

Using our the advice pages of our website

When you make a complaint about our service

When you make 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.

We collect your information from you 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.

National Citizens Advice has their own policy about how they collect, use and store your information. Contact the local Citizens Advice and ask to see their policy - or check their website.

What information we ask for

So we can help you with your complaint, we 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.

How we use your information

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.

Contact us about your data

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

Send us a message at:

If you want to make a complaint

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.

When we use your information without permission

In most cases, we'll get your permission to collect, use, and store and share your information.

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 have to use or share your information:

  • to comply with 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