Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service Privacy Policy

At Western Isles Citizens Advice Service, we collect and use your personal information to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect citizens in Scotland.

We only ask for the information we need, let you decide what you're comfortable telling us, and explain why we need it. We also treat it as confidential.

When we record and use your personal information we:

  • only access it when we have a good reason
  • only share what is necessary and relevant
  • don't sell it to anyone

We handle and store your personal information in line with the law. If we need to record any sensitive information, we will get your consent to do so. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting Western Isles Citizens Advice Service on 01851 705727 or

Who's responsible for keeping your personal information safe?

Citizens Advice Scotland and Western Isles Citizens Advice Service are both responsible for keeping your personal information safe and making sure we comply with data protection law. This means we are 'joint data controllers' for your personal information.

Each local Citizens Advice Bureau is an independent charity and along with Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), is a member of the Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (SACAB). This means we use your information for monitoring purposes, our research and campaigning work and to keep improving our service for citizens in Scotland.

Working on your behalf

When you give us authority to act on your behalf, for example to help you with a Universal Credit claim, we’ll need to share information with that third party. Who we will share information with will depend on your enquiry and your consent to share with third parties but we commonly share information with the local Council, Department for Work and Pensions, your GP/health professional and your local housing association. We will only share information that you consent to us sharing and only with third parties that you consent to us sharing it with.

What happens if you visit our website?

When you browse our website, we collect 'cookies' to help us understand more about how our site is used by visitors, and to develop and enhance our services to you.

A 'cookie' is a bit of information kept on your computer. It tells us things like what device you're using and what pages you click on.

We use cookies to:

  • track aspects of user visits, including the length of a user's visit, their browser, geographic location and the use of the search facility on this website
  • remember users selected contrast and/or text resizing style preferences for this website
  • record a user's video preferences for our videos viewed on this website.

When we would use your information without your permission

At times we might need to use or share your information without your permission. If we do, we'll always make sure there's a legal basis for it. This could include situations where we have to use or share your information:

  • to comply with the law, called 'legal obligation' - for example, if a court orders us to share information
  • to protect someone's life, called 'vital interests' - for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at the bureau or one of our outreaches
  • to carry out our aims and goals as an organisation, called 'legitimate interests' - for example, to create anonymous case studies and statistics for our national research
  • for us to carry out a task in the public interest or for our official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law, called 'public task' - for example the Consumer Service
  • to carry out a contract we have with you, called 'contract' - for example, if you're an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you
  • to defend our legal rights - for example, to resolve a complaint that we gave the wrong advice

What are my rights?

You have rights under data protection law that relate to the way we process your personal data. More information on these can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website. If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please contact Western Isles Citizens Advice Service on 01851 705727 or

Your rights include:

  • the right to access the personal information that we hold about you
  • the right to ask us to correct any inaccurate personal information we hold about you
  • the right to ask us to erase any information we hold about you, although this will only apply in certain situations due to us processing your data on the basis of ‘legitimate interests’
  • the right to restrict our processing of the personal information we hold about you. This will only apply in situations such as:
    • you are disputing the accuracy of the information we hold
    • where we no longer need to use the information but it is needed for legal claims
  • the right to receive personal information, which you have provided to us, in a structured commonly used and readable format

What we do with your information

First and foremost, your information will be used to provide you with advice. This also includes us sharing anonymised statistical data that we can use for research purposes to show the value and impact of our service to funders and others who are interested in our work, such as external auditors who want to make sure we are giving you high quality advice. We may also use it to refer you to any specialist services out with SACAB. A record of your case will be kept on our secure electronic case management system and when necessary and relevant paper documentation will be kept in a case file in a secure filing cabinet.

Our services are also subject to external audit by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB). They check that we are providing you with the highest quality of service and are allowed to access your information (if randomly selected) under the legal basis of ‘public task’.

How we handle your personal information depends on how you interact with us. Specific policies relating to the following are available on request:

  • If you get advice from a debt adviser
  • If you have a Pension Wise appointment
  • If you get advice on any other topic from an adviser
  • If you want to make a complaint about our service
  • If you have been contacted to help with research, campaigns or news
  • If you use our website

Your data is collected through a consent and data protection form which is completed before or during your appointment. If you do not consent to us keeping your data we will record your contact anonymously but will be limited in what information we can provide you with and we will not be able to act on your behalf in any way.