Privacy policy

FirstStop Advice will convey its policies on Data Protection and Privacy to the public by including the following document on its websites. A printed version will also be available through the Advice Line, by request.

Who we are

FirstStop Advice is an independent, free service offering advice and information for older people, their families and carers about housing and care options in later life. It is led by the charity Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) working in partnership with other national and local organisations.

The partnerships that make FirstStop Advice possible are based on a contractual agreement between EAC and each partner which requires that they work to defined quality standards and have privacy/confidentiality policies which are acceptable to EAC. The partnerships enable FirstStop Advice to provide the best service to each client, drawing on the expertise and types of service offered by all partners.

It is fundamental to the FirstStop Advice model that clients should not need to tell their story again if referred between partners, and so a ‘referral’ will normally mean forwarding a client’s ‘record’ to another partner. EAC and all its contracted partners therefore undertake:

  • to ensure to the best of its ability that the privacy policy detailed below is adhered to by all FirstStop partner organisations
  • not to refer a client to another partner without his/her explicit permission; and
  • to ensure that the client understands that referral involves transfer of data to another partner, and has also given explicit permission for this.
  • Why and how do we collect data

    Personal Information

    You may at times be asked to supply personal information when contacting FirstStop by telephone, email or via the FirstStop websites. This may include sensitive personal information where it is necessary to provide you with the service you require. Personal information is anything which enables us to identify you in some way, such as your name and a postal or email address. If you supply such information, we are legally bound by the Data Protection Act 1998 to ensure that such information is only used for the purpose for which it was requested and also to ensure that the data is held securely. This information will be shared on a routine, systematic basis within our local partner organisations in accordance with our Code of Practice.

    General

    We may collect and record information in order for us to understand more about how our services are used and in turn to make sure that the services reflect your needs. In order to do this we may send cookies to your PC. A cookie will contain information that allows us to recognise that you have used the site before, but will not contain any other personal data. You can disable this function within your browser but this will affect your ability to use the search functions.

    Survey
    We may write to you to ask you to fill in a questionnaire or survey or to complete one whilst on-line. The data collected by the questionnaire or survey will only be used for the purpose stated on the form. You may also be given the opportunity to add your address details to our databases so we can contact you in the future. We will only use this information to contact you, if you give us your permission to do so. We will always do our utmost to honour this commitment.

    Requests for information

    If you make a request for further information via the FirstStop  website, the data will only be retained on the Web Servers as long as necessary in order to respond to your query. It will then be transferred to our internal database where it will be used to improve FirstStop’s services and our response to your needs.

    Data is not retained on the web servers. Personal information provided to FirstStop whether by post, telephone or via websites will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purpose of providing the necessary services to you and to meet our legal obligations.

    If you have requested information via post or telephone, unless otherwise specified, you will be deemed to have given your consent to use your personal data to respond to your initial query / request. We will retain that information in order to respond to any further requests for information, advice or guidance.

    If we write to you, each letter will have a data protection statement and an 'opt out' clause giving you the opportunity to have your personal data removed from our data collection systems.

    Confidentiality

    FirstStop may on occasion suggest you contact other specialist organisations for assistance with your enquiry. Where this is the case, we will give you the contact information for that agency so that you may contact them directly. We will not pass your personal data to any other agency/organisation without your express permission.

    Links

    FirstStop websites may include links to other sites, not owned or managed by FirstStop. We cannot be held responsible for the privacy of data collected by websites not managed by FirstStop.

    Who we share information with

    Subject to a client’s permission a FirstStop partner may share information with another partner, subject to the undertakings detailed under ‘Who are we’ above.

    Occasionally, a FirstStop partner may work with other organisations or companies to send you information on other ways in which you can benefit from your contact with FirstStop and /or support the work of FirstStop. However, we will not simply add your name to another organisation’s database. We will always seek your written permission first.

    Security

    All possible steps will be taken to maintain effective security for the whole of the computer system as outlined in our full Data Protection Policy, available on request. Please note that information transferred over the internet can never be guaranteed up to be 100% secure.

    FirstStop may use the services of an Internet Provider, which for financial or technical reasons these may be sited outside the European Economic Area. Use of data by the Internet Service Provider on behalf of FirstStop is regulated and safeguarded by both international procedures and the observation of legal agreements to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

    Discussion Boards

    Any communication that you transmit to, or post on, any public area of the site including, but not limited to, any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like, is, and will be treated as, non –confidential and non proprietary information.

    When entering the discussion forum, you agree not to, post, disseminate, distribute or otherwise transmit any defamatory, offensive, infringing, indecent or otherwise unlawful or objectionable material or information.

    FirstStop will not be responsible for the posting by any user of any defamatory, obscene or otherwise unlawful material.

    Access to your information

    You may request a copy of any personal information which FirstStop holds about you. Please write to the Data Protection Officer, FirstStopCare Advice, 3rd floor, 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP. The Data Protection Act allows First Stop to make a reasonable charge (currently £10) for supplying this information but we will not normally impose a charge.We will reply within 20 days of receipt of your request. It will help us to locate your records more easily if you can tell us something about the nature of your contact with FirstStop Care Advice.

    Notification of change of Privacy Policy

    Any changes to this policy will be posted immediately on the website

    A paper-based copy of our policy is available on request.