When you get advice from an adviser


We’ll get your permission by asking you to either:

  • Give agreement over the phone – if you call our advice line
  • Sign a paper consent form
  • Tick a box online

Before we ask for your permission, we’ll always explain how we use your information.


What information we ask for

We’ll only ask for information that’s relevant to your problem. Depending on what you want help with, this might include:

  • Your name and contact details – so we can keep in touch with you about your case
  • Personal information – for example about family, work, financial circumstances or health conditions exacerbated by the cold, for us to work out the best options available to you and get you the help you need
  • Details about services you get that are causing you problems – like an energy supplier
  • Details of items or services you’ve bought, and traders you’ve dealt with
  • Information like your gender, disability or ethnicity for project monitoring and reports to funders

If you don’t want to give us certain information, you don’t have to. For example, if you want to stay anonymous we’ll only record information about your problem and make sure you’re not identified.

If you’re using our advice line or support services and you’ve been referred to us from another advice charity, they’ll send us your information using a referral form or via our advice line. They’ll get your permission before sending us your information.


How we use your information

The main reason we ask for your information is to help solve your problem.

We only access your information for other reasons if we really need to – for example:

  • For training and quality purposes
  • To investigate complaints
  • To get feedback from you about our services
  • To help us improve our services

All advisers and staff accessing data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.


Understanding people’s problems

We use some information to create statistics about who we’re helping and what problems are the most common. This information is always anonymised – you can’t be identified.

We share these with funders, regulators, government departments and publicly on our blogs, reports, social media and press releases.

The statistics also inform our policy research or media work.


When we share your information with other organisations

With your permission, we might share your information with other organisations to help solve your problem or to monitor the quality of our services.

Organisations we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law.


Sharing information to solve your problem

If you ask us to act on your behalf we might need to share some of your information with other organisations – we’ll always tell you when we do this.

If we refer you to another organisation for more advice, we might share information about your problem with them so they can help you more quickly.


If we’re concerned about yours or someone else’s safety

If something you’ve told us makes us think you or someone you know might be at serious risk of harm, we could tell the police or social services – for example if we think you might hurt yourself or someone else.


Storing your information

Whether you get advice face to face, over the phone or by email, our adviser will log all your information, correspondence, and notes about your problem into our secure client management system run by Microsoft.

Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems.

We keep your information for 6 years and then anonymise it. This means that you can no longer be identified from it. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

Our customer database system is hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK.

To the best of our knowledge our trusted partners store their data securely within the European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law.


If you contact us for email advice

If you contact us for advice your email will be stored in our email system run by Microsoft and saved on our secure client management system run by Microsoft.

Emails between you and your adviser are stored within the Environment Centre’s office email system.


Get in touch with us about your data

You can contact us at any time and ask us:

  • What information we’ve stored about you
  • To change or update your details
  • To delete your details from our records

Please contact us at enquiries@environmentcentre.com


If you want to make a complaint

If you’re not happy with how we’ve handled your data, you can make a complaint.

You can also raise your concern with the Information Commissioner’s Office.