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We collect and use information about you only to better help you; to improve our services; and to be able to show that the services we provide are of benefit to society.

We always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us, explain why we need your information and keep it confidential. When we keep something you tell us, we:

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

How will you use my data?

First and foremost, your information will be used to provide you with advice. We also use information in a way that doesn’t directly identify you (for example, to record the types of problem we are dealing with, the areas from where our clients come and so on) so that we can show our funders and our regulator the statistics about who we advise, and that we are acting for the benefit of the public.

Where you have given us your contact details, we may contact you to ask you for feedback on the service you received and your overall experience of South Westminster Legal Advice Centre.

Conditions for Processing Data

We are only entitled to hold and process your data where the law allows us to.  The current law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which we may collect and process your personal data. These include:

Legitimate Interests

The main purpose for our holding your data is to provide you with legal services as you have requested. In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running the Advice Centre and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests.  This may include to satisfy our external quality auditors or our Regulators.

Reasons of substantial public interest

Special category of personal data (ethnicity, religion, health, etc.) is processed for reasons of substantial public interest to ensure equality of opportunity or treatment.

Legal compliance

If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we can pass on details of people involved in fraud or other criminal activity.


In some limited situations, we can collect and process your data with your consent. You will be able to withdraw your consent at any time where this is the case.

When collecting your personal data, we’ll always make clear to you which data is necessary in connection with a particular service.

Where will you store my data?

The record of your case will be stored securely in an electronic case management system used by South Westminster Legal Advice Centre. We are responsible for keeping it safe. As part of considering or working on your problem, we might also make written notes, download copies of your case or send emails containing your information. We will make sure any information is stored securely and only accessed when there’s a good reason by SWLAC staff and volunteers.

How long do you keep records for?

We normally keep records for 6¼  years following file closure. We may keep records for up to 16 years if the advice given could have serious consequences if it was not stored for a longer period.

Why might you share my information? Who will you share it with?

We will generally not share information without your permission, unless required to do so by law or in some very limited situations, such as to protect you or someone else from serious harm.

What if I have a question about how my information has been used?

You can contact us and ask us:

  • what information we’ve stored about you and request a copy
  • to change or update your information
  • to delete your information from our records or withdraw your consent, where this is applicable
  • to stop using your information

If you have any questions about how your information is collected/used, or you are not happy with how we have used your information please contact us.

You can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office to raise a concern about how we have used your information: https://ico.org.uk/