This page includes mhs homes' full privacy policy and notice. We understand that sometimes it's hard to find what you want from documents like this, which is why we've made this page clear and easy to read for everyone.

This page includes:

The mhs homes group which includes: mhs homes ltd, mhs community charity ltd, Heart of Medway Housing Association Ltd, Chatham Maritime K1 Construction Ltd, Chatham Maritime K1 Development Ltd, mhs commercial services ltd and Lord Kitchener Almshouse Trust, generates records from our contact with you, including records of some personal information which is subject to the Data Protection Act.

To explain our approach to Data Protection, our privacy notice covers the following areas:

How we collect information from you

We collect information from you in a range of ways and at a number of different times.

These include:

  • via our website (see information we collect via our website and our Cookie Policy page)
  • on forms, tenancy agreements, and contracts;
  • through our on going contact with you;
  • in some cases CCTV images;
  • recording calls to and from our 01634 565333 phone number.

What do we collect?

When you apply to become an mhs customer, we request and hold on file any information necessary to assess your application including: (as appropriate but not limited to) references from other housing providers/private landlords, your mortgage lender (if you own/have owned your own home), the Police, the Probation Service, support workers, social workers, mental health workers and credit reference agencies.

If you provide us with personal information relating to members of your family or your associates we will assume that you do so with their knowledge and their consent to the collection and processing of the information.

It is important that you notify us of any changes to your personal information.

Who we collect personal information about

Customers - this includes current, former and potential customers who live in our properties or access our support and other services, and could also include their family and people associated with them.

Staff - this includes current, former and potential staff, as well as Board and Committee members, apprentices and volunteers.

Anyone who makes a complaint or enquiry and visitors to our website and offices.

How we use personal information

We collect, process, share and securely store personal information in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We collect and process personal information to allow us to allocate and manage homes and to improve services.

Sensitive personal information

Under the Data Protection Act certain personal information is classified as “sensitive”. Sensitive data is information relating to physical or mental health, gender, religious or philosophical beliefs, political opinions, membership of a Trade Union, allegations of criminal offences and criminal convictions and offences. We minimise holding and using sensitive categories of personal information but, given the services we provide, there are times when we use it, for example when providing accommodation for disabled people, people with substance abuse problems, when resolving neighbourhood disputes involving alleged criminal activity or when helping someone to access care services.

When we collect specific sensitive data we will notify you of how we will use it, including who it may be shared with.

Job applicants and our current and former staff

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 18 months after the recruitment exercise has been completed, it will then be destroyed or deleted. We retain de-personalised statistical information about applicants to help inform our recruitment activities, but no individuals are identifiable from that data.

Once a person has taken up employment with mhs we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with mhs has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.

Complaints and enquiries

If you make a complaint or enquiry we may collect and store personal information in relation to it. We will keep your information secure and use it only for the purpose it was collected. When the complaint is resolved or the enquiry is completed, we will retain the information in accordance with our retention schedule and then destroy it.

CCTV

Some of our properties have CCTV in external public areas to deter crime and promote public safety by helping to identify and prosecute criminal offenders. You can ask for a copy of any CCTV images taken of yourself by making a 'subject access request'. See accessing your information.

Information we collect via our website

When you visit this website we collect standard internet log information, such as your IP address, host name, browser type and operating system.

This information may be used to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our website, so we can improve your experience of viewing the site. We may also use this information for other purposes deemed reasonable and necessary. See our cookie policy for more on the information we collect from you when you visit our site

The notice is limited to this website only. If you follow a link to an external site, we recommend that you check the privacy notice of that site before giving any personal details.

Live chat

Our live chat service is in place to help website visitors get answers to any questions they may have.

We only ask for your name, email address and address to help provide the best possible service to visitors. These questions are optional.

Any information discussed over live chat is secured and encrypted by the provider, Live Chat.

As a user of our live chat service, you take full responsibility for any information you provide to us.

View Live Chat's privacy policy.

Sharing your information

Your personal information will be kept secure and confidential. Usually we will not disclose personal data without consent but we may share information between the mhs homes group of companies, with contractors or third parties and other agencies we work with, including local authorities, social services, the police, other social landlords and other agencies when mhs homes believes it is in yours or the public’s interest to do so, or as required by law.

In particular, please be aware:

  • Current or forwarding addresses may be shared with utility companies and Council Tax offices to ensure billing details are correct.
  • If you default upon any tenancy/licence conditions information about you may be provided to authorised debt recovery agencies, to enable them to recover the debt. This may affect future applications for tenancies, credit and insurance.
  • We may discuss your financial situation, rent payments (including any arrears) and any claims made for welfare benefits with; an external debt advice agency,
  • Welfare rights advisor, the housing benefit department or the local authorities housing advice and homeless prevention team to make sure that benefits are paid correctly.

Access to your information

You have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you. The only exception to this is information (such as from a third party) that is considered exempt or confidential under data protection legislation.

If you want to see what information we hold about you, you can do this by completing the Subject Access Request (SAR) form available on our website or by emailing or writing to us. We charge a £10 fee towards the cost of administration. Once we’ve received your request and £10 fee we’ll respond within 40 days. We may require proof of your identity and address – we will let you know this when we receive your request. There’s more information on the SAR Form on our website.

You can request to see any of the information that we may hold about you, including CCTV images, but the more specific you can be about what you require, the quicker we can respond to your request. If you are requesting CCTV footage please specify the time, date and location of the footage, and supply a clear photograph so that we can find you on the footage.

Email communications opt-out

If we hold your email in our database, occasionally we will send you emails about the following: account and service updates, events and information, news and surveys. You can unsubscribe at any time by completing our email unsubscribe form.

My Account

The My Account service is provided to our customers to manage their account with us. It is encrypted using SSL security and the data contained is hosted by mhs homes.

Data matching

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information.

Computerised data matching allows fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation.

No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

We intend to participate in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data matching exercise carried out by the Audit Commission.

Our participation in NFI will assist in the prevention and detection of fraud against mhs homes and organisations within the public sector.

We will participate on a voluntary basis and provide the Audit Commission with particular sets of data for matching as set out in the Audit Commission’s guidance.

The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice.

Further information on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information is available here. For further information on data matching at mhs homes, contact Andrew Pert on 01634 354081.

Security of information

For further information on how we maintain the security of your information, please see our Data Protection Policy.

Changes to our privacy notice

This privacy notice will be updated to reflect changes either to the way in which we operate or changes to the data protection legislation. To make sure that you keep up to date, we suggest that you revisit this notice from time to time.

How to contact us

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this statement, information we hold about you or our overall approach to data protection and confidentiality.

Email: enquiries@mhs.org.uk

Telephone: 01634 565333

Write to us: mhs homes Ltd. Broadside, Leviathan Way, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4LL