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Privacy and cookies

This policy covers how we use your personal information in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.

We use your personal information to provide you with services and deal with your service requests. We call the use of your information ‘processing’, and will use the terms ‘processing’ or ‘process’ throughout this policy to refer to any type of use of your personal information.

Legal basis for processing

For most of our processing we rely on the legal basis that we are processing personal information ‘for a task in the public interest’. This means we do not need your consent to process your information, because we are legally obliged to provide the service as a public authority.

Some information, such as Electoral Registration information, is required by statute, and you have a legal obligation to provide your personal information when requested to do so.

Sometimes, we will process your information because you are purchasing a specific type of service from us, for example pre-application planning advice, or tickets at the Assembly Hall Theatre. For these instances we rely on the legal condition that ‘the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract’. Again, we don’t need your consent in order to do this, but will respect your wishes regarding your personal data if you wish to cancel the contract (subject to our specific cancellation policies) and have not received the services that we have offered.

Occasionally we may process your information because we have a legitimate business interest in doing so. This might be in order to secure improvements to our services, or to protect the Council against fraudulent claims. This does not require your consent, but where possible we will advise you that we intend to process your information in this way.

We will process your personal information to data-match across our services for the ‘purposes of fraud prevention or crime detection’, and to ensure we meet our best value obligations under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. This means that we may analyse large amounts of personal data that we hold on you and others, to improve our services and ensure we are acting as efficiently as possible.

We may ask for personal information related to the protected characteristics in the Equalities Act 2010. This would be classed as sensitive information, but we will anonymise any responses before using the information so that individuals cannot be identified.

Finally, we may rely on your consent before using your information. This would be for things we do where we have no other legal basis for processing your information, such as sending you newsletters or marketing emails. Your consent needs to be freely given, informed and clear and you can remove your consent at any time by letting us know.

Telephone and video conference calls

We use a range of software and networks to handle all our telephone calls, including Skype for Business, the O2 mobile network, Mitel contact centre and other networks including BT. System software logs the telephone number, time, date and duration of all inbound and outgoing calls. Calls are not recorded as a matter of routine, but we will warn you if we are recording your call. Our systems software also records any answerphone messages you may leave with us, and emails a copy of the recording to the Council Officer you were trying to contact.

Using Skype for Business, we are able to set up video conferencing calls, and if you have this functionality through your own software, we may ask your permission to set up a video call with you. We will only do this with your permission however, and only when it is appropriate to do so.

Skype for Business logs that a video call has taken place, the time, date and duration of the call, but does not routinely record the content of the conversation. We are able to record video calls, but would only ever do this with your permission, which we will ask in advance of the recording. If we do record the video of our conversation with you, we will let you know how you can access a copy, what we will use it for, who we will share it with, and when we intend to delete it.

We will share your personal information across council services where we feel it is appropriate to do so, and where we have a legal basis for doing so.

Mid Kent Services

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is in a service delivery partnership with Maidstone Borough Council, and Swale Borough Council. Information Technology services are provided by Maidstone Borough Council to us under a collaboration agreement, which also deals with how personal data will be used and handled by the respective authorities.

Our IT servers are located at Maidstone Borough Council, but only Tunbridge Wells Borough Council employees, or Maidstone or Swale Borough Council employees who are specifically contracted to work on our behalf through a collaboration agreement, can process your personal data.

The services we share with Maidstone Borough Council and Swale Borough Council are:

  • Internal Audit services (also with Ashford Borough Council)
  • Legal services
  • Information Technology services
  • Revenues and Benefits services (with Maidstone Borough Council only)
  • Environmental Health services
  • Land Charges services

Public authorities in Kent and Medway

Sometimes, we may provide data to other organisations such as Kent County Council, or NHS organisations in Kent, but we will ensure they have sufficient data protection policies in place first, before we pass your information on.

We are signatories to the Kent and Medway Information Sharing Agreement, which is a legally binding agreement that governs how personal data is shared and protected when being transferred between public authorities in Kent and Medway.

The Police, criminal enforcement and the justice system

We will provide your information to the Police, or any other agency with powers to investigate and prosecute crime when asked to do so, but only for the specific purpose of crime prevention or detection. We will not inform you if this has been done, but we will keep a log of the request for data protection audits and as evidence of compliance. The Police or other agency requesting your information may advise you at a later date where they obtained your personal information from.

We will also provide your information to third parties if we are under a legal obligation to do so. This would be in the event of another individual seeking legal redress against you, where their solicitor has requested the information, for example, or where a Court of Law has requested the information.


Sometimes we enter into contracts with other organisations who undertake processing on our behalf. This is normally because they have specialist software or skills available to undertake the processing, which we aren’t able to replicate ourselves.

All of our processors must abide by data protection regulations, and sign legal agreements with us regarding how they will look after your personal data. Our processors cannot use your personal data for any other reason than what we have agreed with them, and can only act on our instructions. They are also obliged to assist us in enabling any rights you chose to exercise regarding your personal information.

Examples of processing organisations are our waste and recycling contractors or housing associations that work for us. We have privacy notices for each service and type processing, so you can find out more details about who your information will be shared with by visiting the relevant privacy notice.

We may change our processors from time to time. When we do so, we will update the relevant privacy notices, and advertise this on our website. If we have asked for consent to use your information, we will contact you in advance to inform you of the change.

Third parties

We do not sell, share, or pass on any personal or sensitive data to third parties for marketing or sales purposes, or for purposes outside those listed above.

We may use marketing companies to advertise our own services, plans or projects, but if we pass your personal information on to these types of companies, we will always seek your explicit consent beforehand. We will also ensure that these companies abide by data protection laws and do not re-process or further pass on your information without your explicit consent.

When someone visits we use a third party service, Google Universal Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone.

We do not make, and do not allow Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about this. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Our website search is powered by our Content Management System (CMS) Squiz Matrix. Search queries and results are logged anonymously to help us improve our website and search functionality. No user-specific information is collected by us or any third party.

A cookie is a small text file composed of alphanumeric characters, which is created on your computer when your browser accesses a website that uses cookies. The files are used to help people navigate the website and fully use all its features, such as logins, preferences, language settings and themes, among other common features.

Most cookies are used solely to help your browser process a website and don’t snoop any data within your file system. Cookies can however be used for more intrusive purposes since they store information about a user's browsing preferences and history, both on a specific site and browsing among several sites. Cookies can also be used to act as a form of spyware.

From the 26 May 2011, new EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations came into effect stipulating how cookies should be used. We encourage you to accept the cookies our website uses as they help us to improve the user experience for you and many others.

Essential cookies

We use essential cookies to remember if you've accepted analytics cookies.

Cookies management solution we use.
CookieControl CookieControl by CivicUK 90 days

Analytics cookies (optional)

We use Google Analytics to understand how you use our website and to gather feedback, so we can improve it.

We use Google Analytics software to understand how people use our website. We do this to make sure the site is meeting the needs of its users and to help us make improvements. We do not collect or store your personal information (for example your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

Google Analytics cookies we use.
_ga Helps us count how many people visit our website by telling us if you’ve visited before. 2 years
_gid Helps us count how many people visit our website by telling us if you’ve visited before. 24 hours
_gat Used to reduce the number of requests. 1 minute

Third party cookies

Third parties that we have contracts with put cookies on our website to increase its functionality, and to provide a seamless experience when navigating between sites.

Examples of this include Modern.Gov, who publish council meeting agendas and minutes on our behalf, Civica, who process payments that are made through our website, and Idox, who provide access to our public planning application registers.

It’s often obvious when you click through to another part of the website that is provided by one of our contractors, as the page will look and feel different – but another way you can tell is to look at the website address. If there is a section before, or if the website address doesn’t include it means you’ve been directed to a different site.

Our contractors have their own privacy policies, but they must follow data protection legislation in the same way, and they still have to protect your data.

Site improvement cookies

We sometimes test new designs or site features on our site. We do this by showing slightly different versions of our website to different people and anonymously monitoring how our site visitors respond to these different versions. Ultimately this helps us to offer you a better website.

Controlling the cookies we use to collect information about you

When you accept our use of cookies this helps us to provide a better service to you.

If you do not want to receive cookies from our website, select the ‘cookie settings’ under the ‘privacy settings’ in your browser options, and add our domain name to the list of websites you do not want to accept cookies from.

Under settings you can also delete individual cookies or any cookies that your browser has stored.

If you set your browser to refuse cookies, please be aware that there may be functionality on various websites that do not work, including ours.

If you would like any further information about cookies and what we're doing to comply with the 2011 legislation please email

Other websites

Our privacy policy does not cover the links within this site that link you to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements available on the other websites you visit.

You have a range of different rights under data protection legislation. These rights are not absolute, and must be balanced against other rights and applicable laws within the United Kingdom that apply, but wherever possible we will respect your rights and abide by your wishes with respect to your personal information.

You have:

  • the right to be informed
  • the right of access
  • the right to object
  • the right to rectification
  • the right to restrict processing
  • the right to request rectification of data
  • the right to be forgotten
  • the right to data portability

A ‘Guide to your rights under new data protection laws’ has been produced by the Council. Alternatively, you can visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website to find out more detailed information about your rights and how to apply them.

Usually, we will have one month in which to respond to any request you make to apply your rights. If we don’t feel we can apply the right you have asked for, because there is an overriding interest not to, we will inform you of our decision before the expiry of one month from the date we received your request.

You can submit your request in any way, but it would help us to apply your rights if you are able to email your request to

Aside from our website, you can find out more information about how we process and keep safe your personal data, or raise a concern with us, by contacting the Data Protection Officer at:


Telephone: 01892 554077

The Data Protection Officer
Town Hall
Mount Pleasant Avenue
Royal Tunbridge Wells

The Information Commissioner’s Office website has more information on your rights and what to expect when organisations use your personal information.

When you raise a complaint about how we are using your personal information, we will route this through our normal complaints procedure, and respond to you within 15 working days from the date of your complaint.

If you have also requested to apply one of your rights as part of your complaint, we will deal with this under separate procedures. As part of those procedures, we will provide a response as to why we cannot apply your rights at this stage, or we will apply your right(s) within one month of the date of your request.

To ensure they deliver the services you need, individual service areas in the council collect, store and use your data in different ways. Read their service level privacy notices to find out more.