Privacy Statement for people referred to food banks via Help Through Hardship

Personal Information

When you are referred to a food bank for help through the Citizen’s Advice Help through Hardship service, the Trussell Trust will keep some information about you. This is personal data because it is about you as an individual, and it can be linked to you. The Trussell Trust is responsible for looking after your personal information, known as the data controller. The Trussell Trust is a data controller registered with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office registration number Z279027X.

Keeping your personal information safe is very important to us. We are committed to complying with privacy and data protection laws and being transparent about how we use personal data. We have policies, procedures, and training in place to help our team understand their data protection responsibilities and follow the principles of data protection.

We have a nominated member of staff who serves as our Data Protection Lead. If you have any questions regarding our privacy practices, please email [email protected]

The Trussell Trust supports a network of over 1,300 food bank centres throughout the UK which together make up the Foodbank Network. With the exception of Brent Foodbank, food banks within the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network are independent charitable organisations collecting personal information for their own use and therefore have their own privacy policies and are registered separately with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

What personal data do we hold?

We will keep the data that is on your foodbank voucher(s) including your name; address; and year of birth; information about your household, including the number of other adults and children living with you; and the reason you were referred. We will also keep a record of who gave you the foodbank voucher; where you give permission any dietary requirements; and a phone number so the food bank can contact you about any support available.

Your Help through Hardship adviser (or BSL interpreter) may have also asked you about your ethnicity. We use this information to help us to better understand if we’re meeting the needs of different groups in our communities. This is sensitive personal information and we need your permission to hold it. You can choose not to provide this information and it won’t affect the help you receive in any way. If you provide this information, it cannot be seen by others and once you collect your parcel this information is anonymised (so that it can’t be linked to you).

What is your data used for?

We only ask for information about you that we need. The reasons we need your information include:

1. To provide you with the help and support you’ve requested.
2. To report on the reasons why people need our help and the support we’ve provided.
3. If you’ve needed help from the food bank more than once, we use this information to understand if you need other help, such as help maximising your income. In this situation the food bank may be able to offer support directly or, with your permission, refer you to another organisation who can help.

Does the food bank have a right to your data?

Under UK Data Protection law, we need a lawful basis for using your personal information. We have a legitimate interest to use information you provide to offer you the help you’ve
requested, and to evidence why people needed our help, and the support we’ve given.

In some situations we need your consent to use your information. For example, where you agree to providing a phone number so the food bank can contact you about any support available, or where you give your explicit consent for us to hold information about your ethnicity.

Who can see your data?

Your personal information is only seen by people who need to do so for food bank reasons. It is not used for any other purpose. Your information is accessible to authorised people from the Trussell Trust and the food bank you visit. If you go to a different food bank in the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network, then authorised people from both food banks will be able to see your information – including your visits to the other food bank(s).

Agencies who refer you to a food bank using an online system called e-referral can see information about you and your visits to the food bank. If an agency with access to e-referral
performs a successful search for someone with your name and postcode, they can see the date you accessed help, but they can’t see any more detail, like your address or why you needed food bank help unless they refer you.

Your personal information is stored in a secure database. The Trussell Trust uses trusted suppliers to help run and manage the system. Where the Trussell Trust works third parties, we have contracts and agreements in place to ensure your information is kept safe. See more information about how the Trussell Trust protects your information.

The Trussell Trust uses your information for statistical, research and monitoring purposes to campaign for a future where no one needs to use a food bank.

How long will your data be kept?

Your personal information kept for six years after the date you last received a food parcel. After six years, identifiable information about you, like your name and address, are removed from the database. This is known as anonymisation as the data can no longer be linked to you. We keep this information so we can effectively report on how the need for food banks has changed over time. We also need to show we have acted properly as a charity and used people’s donations in the right way.

What rights do you have?

  • Under UK Data Protection legislation you have several rights, including to:
  • Ask us for a copy of your personal information. There are some exemptions, which mean
    you may not always receive all the information we process.
  • Tell us to change or correct your personal information if it is incomplete or inaccurate.
  • Ask us to restrict our processing of your personal data or to delete your personal data if
    there is no compelling reason for us to continue using or holding this information.
  • Receive from us the personal information we hold about you which you have provided to
    us, in a reasonable format specified by you, so that you can send it to another
  • Object, on grounds relating to your specific situation, to any of our processing activities
    where you feel this has a negative and disproportionate impact on you.

To exercise your rights please contact [email protected]