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Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby general_questions » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:24 pm

A client claims Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from a local authority in England.

During the completion of the forms the applicant states that the local authority is not to contact the claimant’s employer without the express consent of the applicant.

Local authority then contacts claimant’s employer revealing private and confidential details about the applicant to the employer.

Has the local authority broken any law(s) by revealing details without the applicant’s expression permission?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby dls » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:19 am

I doubt (but am not quite clear) that the applicant can impose such a condition on the application.

The Council probably has the right to contact the employer. Whether anything was disclosed which should not have been disclosed depends upon just what was disclosed.

The Council may have done better by rejecting the applications.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby general_questions » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:59 pm

dls wrote:I doubt (but am not quite clear) that the applicant can impose such a condition on the application.

The Council probably has the right to contact the employer. Whether anything was disclosed which should not have been disclosed depends upon just what was disclosed.

The Council may have done better by rejecting the applications.



Hello David.

Thank you for your reply.

I DOUBT (BUT AM NOT QUITE CLEAR) THAT THE APPLICANT CAN IMPOSE SUCH A CONDITION ON THE APPLICATION.

My contention would be that since the council has raised no objection to its inclusion they have, by default, accepted it.

THE COUNCIL PROBABLY HAS THE RIGHT TO CONTACT THE EMPLOYER.

This is equivocal.

Does anybody know of any such right? If YES - exactly where is that right enshrined in law?

WHETHER ANYTHING WAS DISCLOSED WHICH SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED DEPENDS UPON JUST WHAT WAS DISCLOSED.

I believe the facts show, at this point in time, that the council chose to release, without the consent of the individual concerned, “personal sensitive data” and that by choosing to do this, the council is in direct breach of the Data Protection Act.

How / where is, “personal sensitive data” defined?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:21 pm

Take me to your lizard...
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby 3.14 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:25 pm

general_questions wrote:
Does anybody know of any such right? If YES - exactly where is that right enshrined in law?

Most laws don't enshrine these things in law. They do the opposite. They forbid things and if it is not forbidden then it can be done.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby Boo » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:39 pm

general_questions wrote:During the completion of the forms the applicant states that the local authority is not to contact the claimant’s employer without the express consent of the applicant.


^ This may be like waving a red rag to a bull.
They are the suspicious type...

Have a look at the HB1 form & see whether they state "we have the right to approach x & y during the decision process" < not exact wording!

Has the claimant been previously investigated for HB fraud?
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby general_questions » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:43 pm

Hairyloon wrote:https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/key-definitions/


An extremely helpful posting thank you.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby atticus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:01 pm

If you are applying for a benefit that is subject to assessment of means, you should expect that small details such as your income will be verified.

There are exceptions to the Data Protection Act for purposes such as detection of crime.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby dls » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:31 pm

My contention would be that since the council has raised no objection to its inclusion they have, by default, accepted it.


Very unlikely to succeed. It is not a process of negotiation. If you apply, they are free to investigate, and indeed have a duty to do so.

What is sensitive personal data?
"Sensitive personal data relates to specific categories of data which are defined as data relating to a person?s racial origin; political opinions or religious or other beliefs; physical or mental health; sexual life; criminal convictions or the alleged commission of an offence; trade union membership."

Pleas note that there is no prohibition of disclosing sensitive personal data - only tighter controls.
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Re: Local Authority In Breach Of Any Law(s)?

Postby b1969 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:53 am

And also note that a person's consent is not necessarily required to disclose personal data, sensitive or otherwise, and lack of consent is not necessarily a bar to doing so.
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