Privacy policy

1. Aim of policy

In order to help provide you with the best and most appropriate service, we need you to help us by providing us with your detailed information.

We begin the process of collecting information about you, and if appropriate your family, when you apply to us either directly or through one of our Choice Based Letting partners.

We appreciate that some of the information you give us will be very sensitive including details about your health and any disabilities you may have. Because the information you provide us is very personal we take your privacy & confidentiality very seriously.

We aim to keep your information as up-to-date as possible so that when your needs change over time, the services we provide you can change to reflect these different needs. We will also ensure we make every possible effort to fulfil our obligations under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We will keep your personal information secure and only keep it as long as we need to, although please bear in mind we are legally obliged to keep some records for an extended period of time, such as housing benefit payment details, before it’s safely destroyed.

2. Who is responsible for your data?

Our Privacy Policy applies to all the personal data that Onward Homes collects and uses.

References in this Privacy Policy to “Onward Homes”, “we”, “us” or “our” mean Onward Homes Limited (a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (31216R), regulated by the Homes & Communities Agency (No. (4649).

We control the ways your personal data are collected and the purposes for which your personal data are used by Onward Homes and are the “Data Controller” for the purposes of the UK GDPR and UK Data Protection Act (2018).

3. What personal data do we collect about you?

When using the term “personal data” in our Privacy Policy, we mean information that relates to you and allows us to identify you, either directly or in combination with other information that we may hold.

Your personal data may include, for example, your name, your contact details, information relating to your tenancy (e.g. your Tenancy Reference Number) or information on how you use our website and online services or how you interact with us.

We collect some personal data from you, for example when you first apply for a property, use our website or contact us. We may also receive your personal data from our contractors/suppliers who provide services to you on our behalf and our partners Agencies.

We may collect and process the following categories of information about you:

• Your name and contact details for use across the organisation and by our contractors/suppliers;
• Detailed personal information, such as:
o Bank details
o Benefits
o Caring responsibilities
o Contact details of individuals who you want us to communicate with on your behalf
o Date of birth
o Education details
o Employment details
o Family details
o Financial information (such as income, expenditure details)
o Lifestyle & social circumstances
o National identifiers (such as National Insurance Number)
o Nationality
o Reference information
o Relationship status
o Safety & security details
o Visual images, personal appearance and behaviour
o Your particular needs and preferences, and how you use our services so that we can understand them better

Special Categories of Personal Data

In the course of providing services to you, we may collect information that details your racial or ethnic origin, physical or mental health, religious beliefs or alleged commission or conviction of criminal offences.

Such information is included within the “Special Categories of Personal Data” under the UK GDPR. We only collect this information where you have given your explicit consent, it is required in relation to legal matters, it is necessary for legislative purposes, or you have deliberately made it public.

If you do not provide or allow us to process special category personal data, this may mean we are unable to provide all or parts of the services you have requested from us.

4. How and why we use your personal data

We use your personal data for the following purposes:

1. Assessing your application to us for housing, checking your right to rent and to administer housing waiting lists
2. Managing your tenancy contract, and contacting you about your housing needs including:

• Your support needs, so we know how we can assist you before and during your tenancy;
• Details relating to the repair and maintenance of your property;
• Records of payments for the services provided to you;
• Feedback from our contractors/suppliers, about their appointments with you;
• Details about complaints about our service or other individuals, accidents or incidents involving you or your home;
• We may also record factual information whenever you contact us or use our services, so we have a record of what happened.

3. To help you buy part or the whole of your home, including:
• Undertaking affordability checks;
• Assessing credit rating data.

4. To provide security and ensure health and safety:
• We operate CCTV systems, which collect and record images, and are used in accordance with CCTV codes of practice;
• We may hold information about your history, for example, related to offences, if we need it to look after our staff, business or anyone else.

5. To provide additional services, advice and support, including:
• Sharing your name and contact details to allow support services to contact you (the person may be a member of our staff or from another organisation that we will tell you about);
• Care and support requirements, this may also require us holding detailed information about you and your family’s needs;
• Financial problem assitance (we will hold detailed information about your income and financial situation);
• Training or other learning opportunities (we will ask about your employment and learning history).

6. When we process information about you on behalf of another organisation you receive services from:

• We will receive the information we need to provide a service to you;
• We may receive information, or related information, from our partner organisations, your family, friends or neighbours, or public information sources including credit reference agencies or the criminal records bureau.

7. To communicate with you and manage our relationship with you:

• We (including our contractors/suppliers) may need to contact you by telephone, email and/or SMS for administrative or operational reasons e.g. in order to send you confirmation of your property repair bookings, gas servicing and your payments;
• These communications are not made for marketing purposes and as such, you will continue to receive them even if you opt-out from receiving marketing communications;
• We will use your personal data if we contact you after you have sent us a request, filled in a web-form through our website or contacted us on social media;
• Your opinion is very important to us, so we may send you an email or SMS to seek your feedback;
• We will use the communications you exchange with us and the feedback you may provide in order to manage our relationship with you as our customer and to improve our services and experiences for other customers.

8. To personalise and improve your customer service experience

• We may use your personal data in order to tailor our services to your needs and preferences, and to provide you with a personalised customer experience e.g. if you inform us about your disabilities;
• We may use your personal data to evaluate your preferences, such as how we contact you. Some of these contacts may be automated, however we will ensure that any such processing of this kind does not have any legal or similarly significant effect on you;
• We may also collect information on how you use our website, which pages of our website you visit most, which online services you use, in order to understand what you like. We may use this information to tailor the content and services and, if you have agreed to receiving marketing communications, to send you relevant messages;
• If you are in the process of making a request under your account and you leave our website before your request has been completed, we may contact you in order to help you easily complete your request or make payment;
• Your name and contact details for customer satisfaction surveys, newsletters and service information;
• Voice recordings for quality management;
• With your written consent, your name, photo, video or story could be used for brochures, advertising,press releases or internal news stories;
• Your comments about our service or our suppliers’ services.

9. To inform you about our news and service that may be of asssitance

• We may send you marketing communications for similar products or services, if you have indicated that you are happy to receive these, for example when you apply for a property, and you do not express a wish to not receive such communications;
• If you are happy to receive marketing communications, we will provide you with news and information from us such as work/training opportunities, useful local services and new developments that you may be interested in;
• If you are happy to receive marketing communications, we may send you communications promoting our partners’ similar products and services;
• Where you have positively opted in to receiving any marketing communications the details will be explained to you at the time;
• If you do not want to receive marketing communications from us, you can simply tell us so by clicking the relevant box before making your application. You can also choose to opt out from receiving marketing communications at any time, by clicking on the relevant unsubscribe link at the bottom of any marketing related email you may receive from us;
• If you prefer, you can also call our Customer Service team and express your preference to not receive marketing communications (Tel. 0300 555 0600) or send an email to with the subject title “Unsubscribe” and details of the marketing received.

10. To fulfil our administrative purposes and support our business interests

• The business purposes for which we will use your information include accounting, billing and audit, credit or other payment card verification, fraud screening, safety, security and legal purposes, statistical and marketing analysis, systems testing, maintenance and development.

11. To comply with our legal obligations

• For example, our obligation to provide your information to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) & HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

5. Your Privacy Rights

The UK GDPR provides all UK citizens with specific privacy rights. Onward Homes is committed to upholding these rights and takes its responsibilities regarding our customers privacy very seriously.

These include, your rights to request that Onward Homes:

• Responds to your Subject Access Requests and confirm what personal data we hold about you, if any, and for what purposes;
• Where we require consent (special category information only), allow this to be withdrawn, however you should be aware that by withdrawing consent Onward Homes may no longer be able to provide you with services that relate to the information you are no longer consenting to us processing;
• Corrects any inaccurate or incomplete personal data which Onward Homes holds about you;
• Provides you with a copy of your personal data for you to move elsewhere;
• Stop processing your personal data, whilst an objection from you is being resolved;
• Permanently erase all your personal data promptly, and confirms this has been done, although there may be reasons why we may be unable to fulfil your request;
• Responds to your objections about any automated decisions made about you using the personal data you’ve provided.

If you have questions in relation to exercising any of your privacy rights, please contact Onward Homes Data Protection Officer in the first instance at

If, for any reason, Onward Homes does not address your request, or fails to provide you with a valid reason why it is unable to do so, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to make a complaint. They can be contacted via their website or by telephone 0303 123 1113.

6. Security of your personal data

Onward Homes are committed to taking appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your personal data against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage. When you provide your personal data through our websites or online portal, this information is transmitted across the internet securely using appropriate strength encryption.

As detailed in this Policy, we may in some instances disclose your personal data to third parties. Where Onward Homes does disclose your personal data to a third party, we require that third party to have appropriate technical and organisational measures in place to protect your personal data; however in some instances we may be compelled by law to disclose your personal data to a third party, such as the Police, and have limited control over how it is protected by that party.

The information that you provide us will be held in our systems, which are located on our premises or those of a contractually appointed third party. We may also allow access to your information by other third parties who act for us for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy or for other purposes approved by you. Your personal data may be accessed by and processed outside the UK – Where this occurs we require that appropriate safeguards are in place.

We will retain your personal data for as long as we need it in order to fulfil our purposes set out in this Privacy Policy and in order to comply with appropriate laws and standards.

7. Sharing your personal data

On occasions it’s in everyone’s best interests for us to share some of the information we have about our customers with other organisations. This may be to provide additional services, to fulifil a legal obligation or to ensure you get the best service possible, for example we will forward your details on to utility companies to ensure that you’re supplied with energy and water in your home and charges are directed correctly.

If you decide to leave your property without paying or arranging to pay any arrears you are in we may decide it’s necessary to share your details with a Debt Collection Agency to help us recover our money.

We may also provide some details to our contractors/suppliers, so they can contact you if your property is in need of repair or scheduled for improvement work, to arrange a suitable time to visit.

In exceptional circumstances we may feel it’s necessary to provide your details to the Police or the Local Authority Social Services Department where there has been a case of criminal activity, we have concerns for any individuals health and safety or we have been made aware of potentially anti-social behaviour.

In the event you do leave us and move to a new landlord we might be contacted for a reference and may provide some of your details to them.

We’d like to stress that under no circumstances do we ever sell or pass on your information to business or organisations so they can get in touch with you directly either by phone, email or in writing in order to sell you their products or services.

Listed below are the categories of third parties we may share some of your personal information with. Where required, we will ensure that any information sharing is supported by UK GDPR compliant contract or there are appropriate information sharing protocols in place.

• Advocacy partner organisations
• Banks and Financial Service providers to process secure payments;
• Charities & Voluntary Organisations
• Choice Based Letting Partners
• Contractors and suppliers who:
o Provide services to you, or who provide services on our behalf;
o Enable Onward Homes meet their compliance responsibilities e.g. Gas Servicing, Fire Safety, Asbestos Management;
o Undertake repairs or improvements to your property & neighbourhood;
o Provide Technology & Telephony software, services & equipment;
o Manage out-of-hours service calls;
o Provide printing and mailing services
• Credit Reference Agencies for rental tenants, such as Experian as part of the Rental Exchange. You can read the Rental Exchange Privacy Policy here.
• Debt Collection Agencies
• External Auditors
• Insurance companies
• Mediation partner organisations
• Organisations that support Onward Homes and the services we provide including
o Local Authorities
o Other housing providers
o Statutory agencies
o Support organisations
• Probation Services
• Professional Advisors & Consultants
• Solicitors
• Social Welfare organisations
• Survey & Research organisations
• Training providers or learning institutions
• Utility companies
In some cases we may also have a duty to disclose your information by law to:
• Central Government Departments
• Courts & Tribunals
• Statutory agencies
• Local Authorities
• Organisations who support crime prevention or detection, the prevention and detection of fraud, and for the purposes of the National Fraud Initiative
• Other Registered Providers of Social Housing
• Partner organisations whose purposes are compatible with ours
• Members of Parliament or Local Councillors
• Regulators
Onward Homes will not share or disclose your information with anyone who claims to represent you or be acting on your behalf unless we have verified you have appointed them or they are acting in some recognised official capacity.

8. Updates to our Privacy Policy

We may make changes to our Privacy Policy from time to time. Any updates to the Privacy Policy will be published on our website where we will publish a new version of this Policy.

9. Contact information

Any questions or requests regarding this Privacy Policy should be addressed to Onward Homes Data Protection Officer at

Linked documents: Data Protection Policy
Date implemented:
Policy lead: Andy Paton, Data Protection Specialist, Business Assurance
Approved by: Executive Team
Approved on:
Next review date: May 2023
Reference number: PRIV01
Version: 3
Document replaces: Version 2