Access to council tax data and GDPR

I am hearing concerns that we may no longer be able to carry out yearly mail-outs using the names and addresses collected by Council Tax departments due to the new GDPR.

Given that we lobbied successfully for this information to be shared many years ago, I still believe it is in the wider public interest for this information to be shared.  However given the new legislation, how are you overcoming this issue in your borough?

Forums: 
FOI, data protection etc

I checked the mail out issue out with our Records Manager in our Information Governance Team and he confirmed that we can definitely continue to process Council Tax data for this purpose i.e. mail outs (and contacting owners of empty property, generally).(

He advised that the legal basis definitely applicable for this is  ‘Task in the public interest under authority vested in the controller’

This is also born out in the ICOs Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)*  in particular Article 6 - the ‘Lawful basis for processing’ section, specifically under basis:

(e) ‘Public task’. i.e. the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.  (i.e. S85 of the Local Government Act 2003)

It is S85 of the LGA (Vacant dwellings: use of information obtained for council tax purposes) which permits LAs to use C tax information to be used for both:

(a) identifying vacant dwellings, or

(b) taking steps to bring vacant dwellings back into use.

(see act for full wording)  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/26/section/85

However, our Records Manager did say that (in accordance with GDPR) we would need to document/lodge our legal basis for using this data in contacting owners on a ‘Data Privacy Impact Assessment Form’ (DPIA) and it would also be a good idea to include a privacy statement detailing this in our mail out letters themselves.

Obviously this has already been discussed on the EHN website and this is what I used to initially start my investigations into this with our own council.

I hope this helps but let me now if you have any questions,

Patrick.

*ICO Guide Useful links

Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/

Lawful Basis for processing
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/

Public Task
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/public-task/

Patrick Gordon
Empty Property Officer
Private Sector Housing
Brighton & Hove City Council