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Universal Cresit And The Data Protection Act

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Tubbycoates | 01:17 Fri 11th Mar 2022 | Law
6 Answers
Hi all,

I'm on Universal Credit.

After so long, they put you on something called a Restart programmme, where an external company try to help you find work. Personally, I think they are pointless, but that's another matter.

I was asked from the outset if I minded the Restart programme being given my phone number. I told them I did, and told them in no uncertain terms not to pass on my number.

I have since found out they have done.

Since I believe this is a blatant breach of the Data Protection Act, what can I do?

I suppose if I complain they will just delete it, but I want more than that.

Do I need to consult a Solicitor?

Thanks in advance.


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While there are specific rules regarding the compilation of phone directories for use by the general public, the Information Commissioner's Office takes the view that they don't apply to 'restricted use' situations. (e.g. if you were to join your local bowls club, that club could include your contact details in their directory of members, sent out to everyone in the club, so that others could get in touch with you to arrange games):

So you might not have any case here. Further, the DPA (together with associated legislation and regulations) doesn't automatically bar any organisation from passing on the data that it holds about individuals. It only requires that such actions must fall within the organisations registration under the Act. It would seem reasonable to me that the DWP should be able to pass clients' details on to relevant partner bodies in order for them to be able to fulfil their functions properly.

So, once again, I doubt that a complaint will get you anywhere. However if you still want to try, this is where you need to start:

I agree with you though about the pointlessness of many of the schemes that are meant to help people get back into work. I've been on the receiving end of some of them myself!
Which company runs Restart in your area?
The companies delivering Restart are called Providers and in the DWP guidance for Providers, it states,

"Data transfer at the start of the Restart Scheme

20.05. When potential Participants are referred to the Restart Scheme, we will send you personal and sensitive information. This data must be securely stored with procedures in place which allow it to be retrieved from your systems. Some or all the data may be forwarded to your sub-contractors. Individual data items are listed here:

(Note: this list is not exhaustive):

full name including title
National Insurance number (NINO)
full address including post code
***telephone number(s) including mobile or area code***[emphasis added]
unique Provider Referral and Payments (PRaP) Referral identifier
client number
start date
end date
basic skills assessment
employment status / previous job dates
aims (free text Field)
job preferences / preferred hours"

That indicates that DWP can let them know your 'phone number(s).

Just stop moaning
Or stop claiming uc.
I k ow someone who benefited from restart give it a go if you do want work
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Thanks all

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