We are committed to treating you with respect and openness as outlined in our Supporter Promise.
- Who we are
- How we collect information about you
- Information we collect and why we use it
- Sharing your Information
- Keeping your information safe
- How long we hold your information for
- Your rights
- Withdrawing your consent
1. Who we are
Hear Us are Croydon’s Mental Health Service Users Group. We are entirely service user run and for 16 years we have been an integral part of Croydon’s Mental Health Services. The Hear Us Welfare Benefits Project was set up 5 years ago in response to a growing need for extra support to help the most vulnerable of our service users to claim the benefits they are entitled and access services. Hear Us and our Welfare Benefits Project are committed to protecting your personal information and making every effort to ensure that your personal information is processed in a fair, open and transparent manner.
We are a “data controller” for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 and (from 25 May 2018) the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“Data Protection Law”). This means that we are responsible for, and control the processing of, your personal information.
2. How we collect information about you
Everything we do, we do to ensure that we can give you the best support from our project with your benefits.
We collect information from you in the following ways:
- When you interact with us directly: This could be when you are directly supported by our project or otherwise provide us with your personal information. This includes when you phone us, visit our website, or get in touch through the post, or in person.
- When you interact with us through third parties: This could be if you have been referred to us by a health or social professional or even a friend or family member
- When we interact with third parties: This could include contacting relevant professional bodies to obtain supporting evidence or other information needed to support you with your case.
3. Information we collect and why we use it
Before we are able to record any information about you or take copies of any documents that may be relevant to your case YOU MUST OPT IN and give consent for us to have this data by filling out a Data Protection Consent Form.
Please be aware that if you don’t give consent for us to store and process your data, by signing a Data Protection Act Consent Form, it may prevent us from being able to give you the best support with your case.
Personal information we collect includes details such as your name, date of birth, email address, postal address, telephone number and information about your health, and personal experiences. You will have given us this information whilst being supported by our project.
We will only use this information:
- To support you. (this may include sharing information with professional bodies relevant to your case E.G: DWP, SlaM and Croydon Council)
- To update you with important information about your case.
- To keep a record of your relationship with us.
- For the purposes of quality monitoring or evaluating the services we provide, in which case we will use anonymised data for statistical monitoring.
- To Invite you to participate in surveys or research projects about particular issues.
4. Sharing your Information
The personal information we collect about will be used by our staff (and volunteers) at Hear Us so we can support you.
Hear Us may, however, share your information with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP), the Council, SlaM and other relevant professional bodies when necessary to support you with your benefits. We will not pass on your details to anyone else without your express consent, by signing a CONSENT FORM, except in exceptional circumstances. Examples of this might include anyone reporting serious self-harm or posing a threat to others or children or contacting us and sharing serious issues such as physical abuse or exploitation.
We may disclose your information if required to do so by law (for example, to comply with applicable laws, regulations and codes of practice or in response to a valid request from a competent authority);
5. Keeping your information safe/ who can access your information.
We take looking after your information very seriously. We’ve implemented appropriate physical, technical and organisational measures to protect the personal information we have under our control from improper access, use, alteration, destruction and loss. This includes keeping electronic information is protected with encrypted password and restricted for use only by the staff and volunteers of our Welfare Benefits Project and keeping physical information in locked cabinets or secured storage boxes kept in a securely locked storage area.
6. How long we hold your information for
We only keep it as long as is reasonable and necessary for the purpose of providing you support from our project, this may involve keeping information after claims have been decided and/or issues have been resolved. We may consider it necessary to retain your data for years after your case has been resolved; we may feel it is necessary to do so as it may be helpful for future benefit claims or when certain benefits are up for renewal. If we feel it is no longer necessary for us to hold any/all information about you we may decide to erase your data both physically and electronically. Before we do so we will inform you of our intentions and explain why we have decided to erase your data in writing.
7. Your rights
You have various rights in respect of the personal information we hold about you – these are set out in more detail below. If you wish to exercise any of these rights or make a complaint, you can do so by contacting
- Access to your personal information: You have the right to request access to a copy of the personal information that we hold about you, along with information on what personal information we use, why we use it, who we share it with and how long we keep it for.
- Right to object: You can object to our processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground.
- Consent: If you have given us your consent to hold and use personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.
- Rectification: You can ask us to change or complete any inaccurate or incomplete personal information held about you.
- Erasure: You can ask us to delete your personal information where it is no longer necessary for us to use it, you have withdrawn consent, or where we have no lawful basis for keeping it. You also have a right to take information we hold about you if you withdraw consent for us to hold it but don’t want us to destroy it.
- Portability: You can ask us to provide you or a third party with some of the personal information that we hold about you in a structured, commonly used, electronic form, so it can be easily transferred.
- Restriction: You can ask us to restrict the personal information we use about you where you have asked for it to be erased or where you have objected to our use of it.
8. Withdrawing your consent
As stated in the “Your Rights” section of this policy, you have the right to withdraw your consent and ask us to erase/destroy physical and electronic data we hold about you. Please consider that the data we hold about you may be useful for future claims and/or the renewal of benefit claims and if you have asked us to destroy the data we will not be able to use it should you return to us for the above or any other reasons.
To find out more about this policy and how we look after your personal information, contact us: