Confidentiality and Data Protection
Tamar believes that all residents have a right to their privacy. We know that some of the things you tell us are very sensitive and that your information should be treated accordingly. You have the right to expect Tamar and its staff to treat what you say to us as confidential. As a result, Tamar will not:
- Pass on your address or phone number to anyone, without your permission.
- Discuss your rent account with anyone else without your permission.
- Discuss any compliant you make about anti-social behaviour with the person you are complaining about without your permission. However, sometimes it is obvious who has made a complaint, and we can’t stop people making assumptions.
- Tell the Police or other agencies about any complaint you make without your permission.
- Discuss sensitive things with you in the open office. Instead you will be offered a private interview.
The only exceptions to these rules are:
- Where Tamar is legally obliged to pass on information.
- Where Tamar must pass on the information in order to provide you with a service. For example, passing on your phone number to our contractors.
- Where the safety of a resident or staff member is at risk by not passing on information.
- Where you have left a Tamar property owing money in which case information may be passed on to a debt collection agency.
- Where we are asked for a resident’s details by a utility company. This includes providing them with a forwarding address if you leave without clearing your account.
We treat confidentiality very seriously. It is a disciplinary offence for any of our staff to give out your information without your permission and without good reason.
The Data Protection Act
The Data protection Act 1998 makes sure that we look after the information we hold about you. We take this very seriously and we want to explain how we handle your information and the rights you have in relation to that data.
How do we gather information about you?
Most of the information we hold about you comes from you, for example when you filled in your original application and signed up to your tenancy. We will also have any letters you have sent to us and any feedback forms you have completed.
Other information comes from other agencies who may be involved with your case, such as the Police or Social Services.
What information do we hold?
We only hold information that we need to provide you with services. Most of this is very ordinary, such as your name, phone number, date of birth and who lives at the property. Other information can be more sensitive, such as medical needs, employment details, financial information or support needs.
We hold some of this information because we can better meet your needs and provide you with services. We use it to manage your rent account, answer your enquiries, deal with complaints, meet our legal obligations and help you access other agencies.
Sometimes we need to share information with other organisations for practical reasons, for example to give you support or help, or because we are dealing with antisocial behaviour that you are causing.
We also regularly share information with the Police where there are allegations of anti-social or criminal behaviour. We may also share information with debt collection agencies if you move, leaving a debt or if you do not pay a repair recharge.
Who can see my information?
The information we hold is only available to the staff who deal with your case. Our staff are trained to deal with confidential information and it is a serious disciplinary offence if it is used inappropriately.
You have the right to see any of the information we hold about you. There is a small charge for this and you will need to make a formal application.
Once we have received your fee we will provide you with the information within 40 days. However, you should bear in mind that we will not provide you with information that was provided to us by other people. For example, we won’t show you the details of any complaints made about you by other residents.
If you are unhappy with the way we are using information about you, you have the right to ask us to stop using it. However, in some circumstances we may not be able to comply with your request.
What information we hold about you?
The most common types of information held about you are detailed below.
Your name, phone number, e-mail address, date of birth, previous addresses, forwarding address, gender, next of kin, marital status, bank details, financial details, housing benefit details, employment details, National Insurance Number, health needs, disabilities, ethnic origin, anti-social behavior, violent incidents, domestic violence, risks to children or others and other agencies you are involved with.
However, we may hold other types of specific information about you.