At Samaritans, privacy is at the heart of what we do.
We are committed to protecting your privacy and the personal information that we hold. The purpose of this statement is to be clear and transparent about how Samaritans Cheltenham and District uses your personal information, whether you are using our service, interested in volunteering or making a donation.
Who are we?
Samaritans offers a safe place for you to talk, any time, in whatever way is best for you.
Samaritans has more than 200 branches and locations in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, some of which are independent charities. Samaritans Cheltenham and District is an independent charity, registered with charity number 1170900. We are a separate data controller for the purposes of the data protection laws.
All Samaritans branches are coordinated and supported by Samaritans Central Charity (registered charity number in England and Wales: 219432; and in Scotland: SC040604). You can read Samaritans Central Charity’s privacy statement here.
Within this Privacy Statement ‘we’ and ‘us’ means Samaritans Cheltenham and District and/or Samaritans Central Charity, depending on the context.
Which laws apply to us?
Your ‘personal information’ is information that can be used to identify you. This can include your name, email address, postal address, telephone number, date of birth and credit/debit card details, as well as ‘sensitive personal information’ such as details about your ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, physical or mental health and details of criminal offences. Samaritans collects, stores and handles personal information for a variety of purposes, including to manage our volunteers, to process donations made to us, to engage with our supporters and to provide our services to the public.
The following laws apply to Samaritans, as an organisation that collects, stores and handles personal information:
- the Data Protection Act 1998
- the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679
- the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
We will handle your information in accordance with these laws.
Changes to this Privacy Statement
As the service we provide changes, we may need to alter this Privacy Statement.
If you have any queries about this statement please contact the Director at Victoria House, Back Albert Place, Cheltenham, GL52 2HN or email [email protected]
How we use personal information
If you use Samaritans’ service
Samaritans supports people in distress through its support service. Our service is available by telephone, email, text message, letter and face to face.
Our telephone helpline is designed so that Samaritans volunteers can’t see your phone number when you contact us. However, some information that could be used to identify you is available on the Samaritans central systems and can be accessed by Samaritans Central Office staff. For more information about this, please refer to Samaritans Central Charity’s privacy statement here.
In general, we try to keep as little information about you as possible. Volunteers may take notes when they talk to you to assist in the conversation. These notes are shredded at the end of the volunteer’s shift. We don’t record your phone calls to the helpline but volunteers and staff may from time to time listen in to calls for training, support, or research purposes.
We record some statistical information on each contact we receive, to report on and improve our service. This information is never used to report on specific people. Where we provide emotional support in locations outside of the branches, our volunteers will take steps to ensure that any notes taken for statistical purposes are kept secure and securely disposed of once the data has been entered into our central contact log.
If we are concerned about you and want to offer you extra support, we may arrange a time to call you back or for you to call back at an agreed time. In these cases, we will record information you’ve given us so that we know it’s you when you call again. We may need to share this information within Samaritans, because we work as a team to provide you with the best possible support and we want to ensure that whoever you speak to is up to date with your situation. This can be helpful if you find it difficult to go over previous conversations or if you are going through a particularity difficult time.
We may contact you to offer our support if you are referred to us by another organisation or individual. Once we have contacted you we will destroy your contact details, unless you agree to further contact – in which case we will, with your consent, keep your contact details.
Our additional support is not meant to be long term, it is a temporary form of extra support and is only put in place with your input and agreement. Samaritans will never pass any of this information on to any other organisation, except in the following situations:
- We receive a call about acts of terrorism or bomb warnings
- We receive a court order requiring us to share information
- We are working in partnership with another organisation and you have given consent for your information to be shared
- You directly ask us to pass on information about you to someone else
- We are concerned that you are not able to make a decision for yourself and we call an ambulance for you
- You threaten the safety of our volunteers
- You misuse or compromise the delivery of our service, for example by making it difficult for other people to get through
Limiting or withdrawing access to our services
From time to time we have to take decisions to limit an individual’s access to our services. For example:
If you contact us a lot in a short period of time we may need to manage your access to our service to ensure that others are able to get through to us. If this happens to you, you will get a message that explains how else you can contact us to discuss your support needs.
If we believe you are abusing our service or are abusive towards volunteers, we may use our system to block your calls or messages from getting through. If you can’t get through by phone, you will hear a message that explains how to contact us to discuss our decision to block you from our system.
If we take the decision to limit your access to our systems, we will make every effort to inform you as to the reason why we have restricted your access. We may ask you to give us a contact number so that a member of our Samaritans Central Office Caller Support Team can call you to talk about your support needs.
If you wish to discuss your use of the service or appeal a decision, please contact the Caller Support Team at Samaritans Central Office on +44 20 8394 8300, email [email protected] or write to the Caller Support Team, Samaritans, The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 2AF. Please be aware that if you call Samaritans Central Office, your telephone number may be visible to the Caller Support Team and may be logged for administrative purposes.
If you are abusive or threaten our volunteers, we may report you to the police and, where available, circulate your CCTV image to local branches to ensure the safety of our volunteers.
If you would like to volunteer with Samaritans
Samaritans Central Charity coordinates all branches across the Samaritans network and works with us to support the recruitment and management of volunteers. Our branch and Samaritans Central Office need to collect, use, store and share certain information about applicants and volunteers to manage their application and involvement with the organisation. The need to use applicant and volunteer information in this way is known as a ‘legitimate interest’ of Samaritans and is the lawful basis upon which we, and Samaritans Central Charity, handles personal data for these purposes.
This section sets out how your personal data will be used by us and Samaritans Central Charity to administer and coordinate your application and volunteering with us.
If you want to learn more about volunteering with Samaritans
If you are interested in volunteering with Samaritans Cheltenham and District, you can contact us by email at [email protected] If you have contacted Samaritans Central Charity, they will pass us your information so that we can get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities.
Samaritans Central Charity will also use the information you have provided to assist you with any queries you might have regarding your volunteering application and to ask you about your experience of applying to volunteer with Samaritans.
Samaritans Central Charity also collects statistical information to help monitor enquiries and applications for volunteering, as well as to help us to carry out equal opportunity monitoring. As part of the application process, we may ask for information about your age, disability, gender, employment status and ethnicity (known as ‘sensitive personal information’) to help Samaritans with equal opportunities monitoring. You are not required to give us this information, but if you do so, we and Samaritans Central Charity will use it for the purposes of managing your application and involvement with Samaritans and equal opportunities monitoring only.
If you apply to be a volunteer
Once you have decided to apply to volunteer with us, you will need to submit an application form. We may need to share some of the information that you give in your application form with Samaritans Central Charity, such as the information from your referees and your criminal records disclosure.
The information you provide on your application form will be used to make a decision about whether you will be accepted on to a Samaritans training course. You may be asked for information about your age, disability, gender, employment status and ethnicity (known as ‘sensitive personal information’) to help Samaritans with equal opportunities monitoring. You are not required to give this information, but if you do, we and Samaritans Central Charity will use it for the purposes of managing your application and involvement with Samaritans and equal opportunities monitoring only.
Samaritans will keep the personal information you provide during the application process confidential, unless we are required to disclose it in connection with a police investigation and/or we have reason to believe that you may present a risk of harm to others.
We will provide a reference for volunteers upon request.
If you donate to Samaritans
When you donate money to Samaritans Cheltenham and District, we need to collect and use certain information about you in order to process your donation. This could include your name, email address, postal address, telephone or mobile number, bank details, taxpayer status (to understand if we can claim Gift Aid), date of birth and history of previous donations.
As a charity that relies on donations, it is important that Samaritans Cheltenham and District keeps the public updated on our vital work and campaigns. We also need to understand how we can best attract and communicate with new and existing supporters, in order to target our resources effectively. These are examples of Samaritans’ ‘legitimate interests’ and are the lawful basis for us and Samaritans Central Charity using the personal information that you provide to us to:
- contact you by post or email to update you on our vital work and campaigns (from time to time these updates may include requests for financial support; you can let us know that you no don’t want to hear from us anymore at any time – see the ‘Keeping in Touch’ section of this Privacy Statement);
- invite you to participate in surveys or research (on a voluntary basis);
- carry out research into how we can better engage with and attract new supporters;
- carry out research into how we can better communicate with new and existing supporters;
- keep a record of your relationship with us; and
- keep in touch in relation to any legacy pledges you have made to Samaritans.
Keeping in touch
As a charity that relies on donations, it is important that Samaritans Cheltenham and District keeps the public updated on our vital work and campaigns and that we let our potential and existing supporters know how they can continue to support us. These are examples of Samaritans’ ‘legitimate interests’ and are our lawful basis for using the personal information that you provide to us to send you our updates by post. So, if you volunteer, fundraise or donate to us and you have given us your postal address, we will keep you up to date with Samaritans’ activities and work by post. We will also ask you whether you would like to stay in touch by telephone, email or text message. You can also sign up to receive news about Samaritans by email through our website or our Facebook Page.
You can update your contact preferences or let us know that you don’t want to hear from us any more at any time by emailing [email protected] or by post to Branch Secretary, Victoria House, Back Albert Place, Cheltenham GL52 2HN. If you tell us that you don’t want to receive our updates anymore, we will keep your details on a ‘suppression’ list to help ensure that we do not continue to send these to you. We may still need to contact you for administrative purposes, for example to process a donation you have made, or to give you information about an event you have registered for.
Sharing information outside of Samaritans
Samaritans Cheltenham and District and Samaritans Central Charity works with various external companies, who may collect, store or process personal information on our behalf. When we do this, we:
- carry out checks on each company before we decide to work with them, to ensure that they have adequate safeguards in place to keep your data safe;
- do not give them any rights to use your personal information except in accordance with our instructions;
- require them to give us contractual assurances that they will comply with all data protection laws; and
- make sure that your data is transferred to them securely.
If you have made a Gift Aid declaration, we will need to disclose the information you have provided as part of our declaration to HMRC for the purpose of reclaiming Gift Aid.
We may disclose your personal information if we are requested to do so by a regulator or law enforcement bodies, or where we are otherwise required to do so by law. We may also need to share your information with external organisations in the case of suspected fraud or for the prevention or detection of other crimes.
We will never sell your personal information to other organisations to use for their own marketing purposes.
Fundraising and social media platforms
We will never sell your personal information to other organisations to use for their own marketing purposes. Where you have agreed to receive communications from Samaritans via email or text, we may share an encrypted version of your details with social media companies, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This allows us to reach you and others like you with our latest news and information on those social media platforms. You can tell us that you are not happy for your information to be used in this way by contacting us at [email protected] We won’t be able to guarantee that you will never see one of our adverts again, as these may be generated from other sources on a randomised basis.
Samaritans Cheltenham and District operates a CCTV system for security, to protect both you and Samaritans staff and volunteers. The footage is not stored.
Links to third party websites
Storing your information
Where we store your information
Samaritans operates across the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and stores our data within the European Economic Area (EEA). Three branches within Samaritans’ branch network are not within the EEA: Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. These jurisdictions are, however, on the European Commission’s “safe” list of countries for transferring personal data and are subject to the same policies and procedures as Samaritans branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
We do use ‘cloud-based’ applications provided by external suppliers to collect, store and handle some types of personal information. These suppliers (e.g. Microsoft) may be based outside of the EEA. Where this is the case, we ask suppliers to provide evidence that they have the appropriate measures in place to ensure that your personal information is kept safe.
Samaritans Cheltenham and District uses various technical and organisational measures to keep your data safe. Electronic data and databases are stored on secure computer systems and we control who has access to information, using both physical and electronic means. Our volunteers are provided with guidance that they are required to follow when handling personal information.
Although we do our best to keep your information safe, the transmission of information over the internet is never completely secure, so please bear this in mind when you share information with us via our website.
How long we keep your personal information for
We only keep your personal information for as long as required, depending on what it was collected for, and in accordance with legal requirements and tax and accounting rules.
If you have told us that you don’t want to be contacted by Samaritans, we will keep your details on a ‘suppression’ list to help ensure that we do not continue to contact you.
The data protection laws give you certain rights over your personal information and how we use it. These include:
- the right of access to a copy of the information that we hold about you;
- the right to ask us to correct inaccurate information that we hold about you;
- the right, in certain circumstances, to object to specific uses of your data; and
- the right, in certain circumstances, to request the information that we hold about you to be deleted.
If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please put your request in writing and post it to Director at Victoria House, Back Albert Place, Cheltenham, GL52 2HN.
Provide proof of identity including your name and postal address. If you are requesting information relating to your use of the Samaritans helpline, we will ask you for information about your contacts with Samaritans and to provide a copy of the telephone bill for the number you use to make calls to Samaritans.
Help us to respond to you as quickly as possible by being specific about which information you would like to receive a copy of or that you would like us to amend/delete. Please note:
We will only send a response to a subject access request to you by registered mail at a postal address.
If we are unable to verify your identity, for example if you contact the service anonymously or use a different name to do so, it may not be possible to provide you with the information requested.
Samaritans Cheltenham and District is not a ‘public authority’ as defined under the Freedom of Information Act and we will therefore not respond to requests for information made under this Act.
Keeping your information up to date
If your personal details have changed, let us know by post to Director, Victoria House, Back Albert Place, Cheltenham, GL52 2HN or email [email protected]
If you want to complain
Samaritans aims to provide support to the highest possible standard at all times. To help achieve this, we encourage anyone who is not completely happy with the service they have received to let us know immediately, by contacting us using the details set out above or Samaritans Central Office Quality Team on +44(0)20 8394 8300, or you can use the Complaints questionnaire here.
All complaints will be investigated fully. It is important that you give as much information as possible to enable us to investigate your complaint. Your information will not be passed on to anyone outside of Samaritans but in most cases we will need to involve the Director of our branch and the Samaritans Central Office Quality Team. With your prior consent, our Branch Director will contact you directly to try to resolve your complaint.
It is our aim to resolve a complaint within 14 days of receiving it. In some cases, this isn’t possible but we will do our best to resolve it as soon as we can.
If you have any questions or wish to add information concerning your complaint, please contact a member of our Samaritans Central Office Quality Team on +44(0)20 8394 8300 or email [email protected] Please be aware that if you call our central office number, your telephone number will be visible to the Quality Team and may be logged for administrative purposes.
You can read the full Complaints Procedure here.
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