MHA's Privacy Notice

1. Who is Monmouthshire Housing Association?

Monmouthshire Housing Association is a Registered Social Landlord that manages around 3600 affordable homes in Monmouthshire. We provide support for tenants and residents in various different ways. We also manage the common housing register on behalf of Monmouthshire County Council, Melin, Pobl and Monmouthshire Housing Association. More information about our work can be found on www.monmouthshirehousing.co.uk.

We have over 200 members of staff and 12 Board Members

In order to manage our homes and deliver the services we offer for our staff and customers, it is necessary for us to collect and hold personal information. We are committed to ensuring that we do this securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Under the Data Protection Act, certain personal information is classed as “Sensitive Personal Data”. This is any information relating to

  • The racial or ethnic origin of an individual
  • Their political opinions
  • Their religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • Whether they are a member of a trade union
  • Their physical or mental health or condition
  • Their sexual orientation
  • Their commission or alleged commission of any offence
  • Any proceedings for any offence committed or they are alleged to have committed, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings

MHA try to minimise the amount of “sensitive” personal information we hold about an individual, however because of the nature of the services we provide it is sometimes necessary for us to collect and hold it. We make sure this information is secure at all times and we inform individuals of why we need it and how we will be using it.

 

2. How does MHA collect information?

MHA collects personal information about our customers, staff and Board Members in a variety of ways, including through:

  • our website and sometimes through the use of cookies (for more information about our use of cookies please see the cookies section below)
  • Forms – including application forms for housing and job application forms
  • References eg from previous landlord or employer
  • Sign up process when a customer has been allocated one of our homes
  • meetings and conversations
  • Surveys and consultations
  • Relevant information given by other agencies eg Housing Benefit, DWP, The Police, Fire Service, Social Service, The NHS
  • Credit Agencies
  • A complaint made about one of our customers by a third party
  • CCTV cameras
  • Telephone recordings system

 

3. What information do we collect and hold and why do we need it

Applying for a home.

As a Registered Social Landlord we have a duty to allocate our homes in accordance with our Allocations Policy. To make sure that we allocate homes to the right applicant we collect and hold a range of different information including information relating to; family, health, current living conditions, financial situation.

We also need to ensure that the homes we let are affordable and suitable for each applicant therefore we collect certain information which will enable us to carry out affordability assessments for the individual. This may include information about; salaries, benefits, outgoings, debt.

Managing a tenancy or leasehold

Once a customer has been allocated a home with us we require further information which will enable us to manage the tenancy or leasehold eg collect rent and service charges, provide repairs and maintenance and consult on matters affecting them. This may include bank details, benefit entitlement, information on others living at the property.

For the safety of our staff and other customers it is sometimes necessary for us to hold information on current and past behaviours and any criminal convictions. For example, if necessary we may put alerts on our systems that would advise staff to visit customers in pairs.

Providing support

We aim to support our customers in various different ways including:

  • Ensuring their care needs are met
  • Advising and supporting on financial and benefit matters
  • Helping them get into employment through, training, gaining skills and experiences

In order to ensure we provide the adequate support we will collect information which will help us understand their current situation and what needs or ambitions they have. This will often include sensitive personal information.

Resolving neighbour disputes, anti-social behaviour and other issues within the community

If a customer contacts us with a complaint about a neighbour or concerns about activity within their community we will ask for information that will enable us to investigate the issue fully. This may include witness statements from other individuals, information received from the police, CCTV footage.

Applying for a job and working for MHA

If applying for a job with MHA, all applicants will need to fill out an application form. The information provided is used to assess the applicant’s suitability for the post and ensure the individual is not discriminated against.

MHA collects and holds information about its employees such as sickness records, minutes of supervision meetings, training attended etc. This is to ensure their safety and wellbeing in the workplace and manage performance and personal development.

For certain post we will also carry out DBS checks.

Performance and Continuous Improvement

Individuals have the right to complain to MHA about the level of service they have received. We investigate each complaint therefore personal information about individuals could be considered and held in a complaint file.

In order to make sure that we provide the highest possible services, it’s important that we hold the right information about our customers and that the information we hold is up to date. We send out surveys periodically and ask customers to provide us with specific information about themselves and their household. Some of the information we request will be sensitive personal information but if the customer does not wish to provide this information, we will respect this.

 

4. CCTV

For the safety and security of residents and staff, CCTV cameras are installed in our office and some of our blocks.

We sometimes install CCTV cameras in areas where a high number of anti-social behaviour is reported.

Signs will always be erected close to the cameras to advise customers that they are there.

 

5. Call Recording System

MHA records all of our external telephone conversations.

The recordings are then used for training and monitoring and are also used to investigate complaints made by customers or staff.

We do not record your card details when you supply them over the phone for us to take payments. Our system automatically stops recording when we log into the bank screens to take your details.

 

6. Security of information

MHA has an information security policy.

Information held electronically or on paper are stored securely with appropriate controls and higher levels of security around sensitive personal data. The controls will be appropriate to the nature of the personal data and the level of associated risk.

Controls include:

  • Paper records will be stored in lockable offices or cabinets
  • Access to information is restricted on a role basis
  • Strong passwords are set for both network and system access
  • Regular password changes are be enforced
  • Mobile devices are provided to staff where possible to avoid taking hard copies of information out of the office

Periodic checks carried out to test the effectiveness of the security controls.

 

7. Sharing personal information

Usually we will not disclose personal information without consent but we may share information with contractors, third parties and other agencies we work with, including Local Authorities , Social Services, Police, other landlords and other agencies when MHA believes it is in your or the public’s interest to do so, or as required by law.

In particular please be aware,

  • Current or forwarding addresses may be shared with utility companies and Council Tax offices to ensure billing details are correct
  • If you default upon any tenancy condition, information about you may be provided to authorised debt recovery agencies to enable them to recover the debt. This may affect future applications for tenancies, credit and insurance.
  • We may discuss your financial situation, rent payments (including any arrears) and any claims made for welfare benefits with; an external debt advice agency, welfare rights advisor, the DWP or the local authorities to make sure that benefits are paid correctly

 

8. Gaining access to the information we hold on you

Individuals are entitled to receive a copy of the personal information and sensitive personal information an organisation holds on them.

To obtain this information from MHA, individuals must make a “Subject Access Request” in writing (letter or e-mail), which states what information they require. A fee of £10 is also payable before the request can be processed.

MHA will aim to provide the individual with as much information as is possible, however it will not always be possible to provide all of the information requested as it might disclose the identity of another individual who has not consented to the information being shared.

 

9. Use of Cookies by MHA’s Website

A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things, e.g. remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website.

They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.

MHA uses a small number of cookies, primarily for Google Analytics, which collects anonymous data on how many people visit our site, which pages are the most popular etc. The use of cookies on our site may expand in future as more personalised features are added.

Cookie Types

‘First party’ cookies are set by the website you’re visiting and only that website can read them.

‘Third party’ cookies are set by someone other than the owner of the website you’re visiting. 

‘Session’ cookies are temporary pieces of information which are erased once you exit your Web browser window or turn your computer off. Most websites use a session cookie that stores a single id, a bit like ‘ab23cd34253dec234’.  This cookie is also destroyed when you close your browser.

‘Persistent’ cookies are more permanent pieces of information that are placed on the hard drive of your computer and stay there unless you delete the cookie. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for a number of reasons, such as retrieving certain information you have previously provided, helping to determine what areas of the website you find most valuable, and customising the web site based on your preferences. 

Cookies We Use

The tables below explains the cookies we use and why.

Table

First Party Cookies

Cookie

Type

Expiry

Linked Info

Functions

CFID

Persistent

2 hours

Username

When a user logs in, maintains authentication state. Not currently live on MHA website.

CFTOKEN

Persistent

2 hours

JSESSIONID

Session

Session end

 

VOPECRA

Persistent

Never

Anonymous

Remembers when a user has elected to accept cookies.

 

 

Third Party Cookies

Cookie

Name

Type

Expiry

Functions

Google Analytics

_utma

Persistent

2 years

These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors use our websites. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, where visitors have come to the site from and the pages they visited.

Click here for an overview of privacy at Google.

_utmb

30 mins

_utmc

Session end

_utmz

6 months

Google Translate

googtrans

Session

Session end

Stores your chosen language (if you decide to change it from English). This means that you do not have to select your chosen language every time that you load a new page.

Click here for an overview of privacy at Google.

 

Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.allaboutcookies.org.

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Our advisors are available Monday-Thursday 9am-4:30pm and Friday 9am-4pm. Thank you.