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About Citizens Advice

What is Citizens Advice

‘We help people find a way forward’

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.

That’s why we are here: to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward, whoever they are and whatever their problem.

Citizens Advice is a national charity and also a network of independent local charities across the country that are members of the national Citizens Advice service.

History of Citizens Advice

Founded on 3rd September 1939 – the day war against Germany was declared, as a service to meet the needs of the civilian population in war time.

By 4th September 1939, 200 local ‘bureaux’ had opened (including Wakefield).

By the 1960’s the number of bureaux had reached 416.

In the 1970’s, consumer protection became a big area of work.

In the 80’s and 90’s two recessions and changes to the benefits system generated a large proportion of enquiries about money and benefits.

In 2003, the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux changed its name to Citizens Advice.

In 2021 there were 265 independent local Citizens Advice organisations across England and Wales.

Citizens Advice Wakefield District

Privacy Policy

At Citizens Advice we collect and use your personal information to help solve your problems, improve our services and tackle wider issues in society that affect people’s lives.

We only ask for the information we need. We always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us, explain why we need it and 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

At times we might 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 – for example, if a court orders us to share information. This is called ‘legal obligation’

  • to protect someone’s life – for example, sharing information with a paramedic if a client was unwell at our office. This is called ‘vital interests’
  • to carry out our legitimate aims and goals as a charity – for example, to create statistics for our national research. This is called ‘legitimate interests’
  • for us to carry out a task where we’re meeting the aims of a public body in the public interest – for example, delivering a government or local authority service. This is called ‘public task’
  • to carry out a contract we have with you – for example, if you’re an employee we might need to store your bank details so we can pay you. This is called ‘contract’
  • to defend our legal rights – for example, sharing information with our legal advisors if there was a complaint that we gave the wrong advice

We handle and store your personal information in line with the data protection law.


When you use our website, we will ask permission to collect a type of data called cookies. This lets us know what pages you have clicked on when visiting our website and allows us to analyse web traffic and improve our site to tailor it to our clients’ needs. Allowing cookies does not give us access to your computer or other information about you.

You can accept or decline cookies, however, some browsers may automatically accept them in which case you will need to access your own computer settings and change them to opt out.

Responsibility for looking after your personal information

The national Citizens Advice charity and your local Citizens Advice operate a system called Casebook to keep your personal information safe. This means we are a ‘joint data controller’ for your personal information that is stored on our national computer system. Each local Citizens Advice is an independent charity, and a member of the national Citizens Advice charity.

Your local Citizens Advice will record your personal information on the national system. Staff from different local offices can only access your personal information if they have good reason to do so, for example if you go to them for advice or call the national telephone service. We have rules and controls to stop people accessing or using your information when they shouldn’t.

Tell us if you are worried about your details being on a national system. We will work with you to take extra steps to protect your information, for example recording your enquiry without using your name.

Contact Citizens Advice Wakefield District about your information

If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, you can contact our office.


You can contact us to

  • find out what personal information we hold about you
  • correct your information if it’s wrong, out of date or incomplete
  • request we delete your information
  • ask us to limit what we do with your data – for example, ask us not to share it if you haven’t asked us already
  • ask us to give you a copy of the data we hold in a format you can use to transfer it to another service
  • ask us stop using your information

If you want to make a complaint

If you are not happy with how we have handled your data you can complain.

Please see full details of our complaints policy Complaints Policy

Complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

You can complain to the ICO if you are not happy with how we have used your personal information.

Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113


What information we ask for and why?

We will only ask for information that is relevant to your problem. Depending on what you want help with, this might include:

  • name and contact details (this helps us keep in touch with you if you have an ongoing enquiry)
  • personal information – for example about family, work, financial situation or if you are at risk of harm or vulnerabilities
  • details about your problem

We occasionally ask for details about someone else (like a neighbour or partner) to check for conflict of interest or if we need to protect someone’s life; we will only do this if we have a legitimate interest to do so.

We will always ask for your consent to store information on your health conditions; ethnic origin; religion; trade union membership; sexual orientation (this is categorised as sensitive data).

We may also ask for your permission to record your consent to contact you at a later stage to take part in our Client Experience survey.

You can withdraw this consent at any time by contacting us and telling us what personal information you no longer want us to store.

The main reason we ask for your information is to help you solve your problem. We only access information for other purposes when we need to.

Data protection law lets us do this as long as we either get your consent or we have a legitimate interest. For example, we have a legitimate interest to access your data for

  • training and quality purposes
  • to investigate complaints
  • to get feedback from you about our service
  • to help us improve our services

All staff accessing data have had data protection training to make sure your information is handled sensitively and securely.

Understanding our clients’ problems

We use some information to create statistics about who we are helping and what are the common problems people are facing. We might also use information given to us in our Client Experience survey. This information is anonymised and you can’t be identified.

We share this information with our funders, regulators, government departments, social media blogs and press releases. The statistics also form part of our policy research and campaigning.

When we share your information with other organisations

With your permission we might share your information with other organisations so we can

  • help solve your problem, for example to contact your creditors we might need to share your name, address and financial details with them
  • refer you quickly to another organisation for more advice or support, if relevant
  • help to access certain services, for example food banks or Trading Standards
  • monitor quality of our services

Organisations we share your data with must store and use your date in line with data protection law. They will have their own privacy policies for how they handle your information and keep it safe.

If you need a food bank voucher

We will ask your permission to share information with a local food bank or the Trussell Trust. They will have privacy policies in place and upon request will provide you with this information.

If your adviser applies to the Breathing Space scheme to protect you from your creditors

We will need to share your information with the Insolvency Service if you decide to enter into Breathing Space. The Insolvency Service will store your details and information about your debt on their online Breathing Space system. Your creditors will be able to see your information on the system, but only for the debt you owe to them.

If your adviser submits an application on your behalf to the Debt Relief Order Unit

To submit your application for a DRO we will need to share your details with an official receiver at the Insolvency Service via the online DRO portal so they can process your application.

With your permission, we might need to share your details with

  • creditors – to get more information about your debts
  • credit reference agencies – to get a copy of your credit report
  • employers or benefits offices – to get details about your income

 If you used our debt advice service before January 2019

When you got debt advice from us we might have shared your personal information with our funder, the Money Advice Service. We did this with your permission so they could check the quality of our advice.

From January 2019, a new Single Financial Guidance Body was formed by merging the Money Advice Service, Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service. As a result, The Money Advice Service has transferred your personal information to the

  • Single Financial Guidance Body – if you live in England
  • Department for Communities – if you live in Northern Ireland
  • Welsh Government – if you live in Wales

These organisations must store and use your personal information in line with data protection law – they can’t pass it on or sell it without your permission.

If we are concerned about your or someone else’s safety

If something you have told us makes us think you or someone else you know might be at serious risk of harm, we could tell the police or social services – for example if we think you might hurt yourself or someone else.

Storing your information – if you contact us online, by phone or in person

We log all of your information, correspondence and notes on our secure online computer system (Casebook). We have a legitimate interest to do so under data protection law. This means it lets us carry out our aims and goals as an organisation.

Some of your information might also be kept within another secure IT system, for example if you have contacted us via web chat.

We keep your information for 6 years. If your case has been subject to a serious complaint, insurance claim or other dispute we keep the data for 16 years.

Our Casebook system is hosted within the EEA and wherever possible, the UK. Most of our trusted partners store their data securely within the European Economic Area (EEA) in line with data protection law.

There might be other places we store your information, depending on how you access our advice.

Webchat & Email

We will store your web chat transcript or email request form on our Casebook system for 6 years.

Web Chat transcripts are also stored on the online system run by our trusted partner – Live Person. This data is deleted after 13 months. Live Person is overseen by national Citizens Advice.

An email enquiry form can be submitted to Citizens Advice Wakefield District via our website .

Before submitting this form to us you are asked to read our ‘Privacy Policy’ and information via the link provided. In doing so if you proceed in submitting the enquiry form and data contained therein, you are giving consent to us processing your data as set out in our privacy policy.


If you call us for advice through our national telephone service, we will record the conversation for training and monitoring purposes. When you call, you will hear a recorded message telling you how your information is used and stored. Calls are recorded by a trusted partner, stored within the UK or EEA and processed in line with UK data protection law. Recordings are held for 6 months and then deleted.

The national telephone system is overseen by national Citizens Advice.

Signing up to our newsletter

When you sign up to our newsletter, we collect personal information from you so we can

  • Send you the information you have asked for
  • Let you know when/how we will be contacting you in the future

When you subscribe, you give us permission to process your information and contact you. You might do this by

  • Ticking a consent box on the sign up form
  • Complete a form or survey on our website
  • Asking Citizens Advice staff to add you to our mailing list

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link ‘unsubscribe’ in your newsletter or email.

What information we collect for sign up

We will ask you for your first and last name, your email address and the organisation you work for or represent.

We use a service called Mailchimp to send newsletters. When you open an email from us, Mailchimp uses cookies to record:

  • Your country
  • What type of device you are using
  • Whether you open the email or not
  • What links you click on within the email

Mailchimp uses this information to improve your experience. They share the data with us so we can track engagement of our newsletters and make improvements.

Read Mailchimp’s cookie policy

Sharing information with other organisations (newsletter sign up)

We share your information with Mailchimp so we can send you the newsletter you have signed up for.

Mailchimp keep your information secure and won’t share it with anyone else. They process data outside of the EEA.

Read Mailchimp’s privacy policy

Storing your information (newsletters)

We store your information on Mailchimp for as long as you are subscribed to the newsletter. If you unsubscribe, your information will be deleted within 3 months.







Citizens Advice Wakefield District complies with the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Action 2018 and is a member of Citizens Advice We need to record information about you to help with your enquiry. We have a legitimate interest to do this. Please see our full Privacy Policy for how we use your personal data.

We need your explicit consent to use some ‘special category’ information including ethnicity, religion, health condition, sexual orientation, trade union membership and political opinion. This information is used to give advice, help us gather data to improve our service and support our research in a way that you can’t be identified. We will make sure all of your information is kept safe in our secure case management system. By submitting this information that may be contained in your email enquiry you are giving consent to us recording this information. If this is not the case please let us know in your email that you do not consent to us recording special category information.

We want to make sure our service meets your needs. To help us understand how we are going and to improve our service, we may want to contact you at a later date to ask for your feedback. Sometimes we need a trusted research organisation to help us do that. We’ll decide who we contact for feedback based on the services you used and the advice area. We may also use your special category data so that we hear from different groups. By submitting this email enquiry you are giving consent to this. If this is not the case please let us know in your email that you do not consent to taking part in any future research or feedback.

Disclaimer: we are not able to provide any advice based on special category data if you do not consent to its use.

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