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Privacy notice

In line with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there are certain things that we need to let you, a research participant, know about how your information will be processed. In this privacy notice, we explain the legal basis for data processing, who will have access to your personal data, how your data will be used, stored and deleted, and who you can contact with a query or a complaint.

The purpose of processing your information

The purpose of this research is to understand people’s experiences of having telephone assessments for their benefit claims in order to improve DWP services. The survey will include those benefit claimants who have recently had a telephone assessment for for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), UC (Universal Credit) or ESA (Employment Support Allowance).

Do I have to take part?

Taking part in this study is completely voluntary. There is no statutory or contractual requirement to participate or provide any personal details. There will be no consequences if a participant chooses not to take part. Your entitlement to benefits will not be affected if you choose not to take part.

The legal basis for processing

The legal basis for processing data in this study is “public task”, because it is being carried out on behalf of the DWP, which is exercising official authority in evaluating government policy.

Who is the data controller and data processor?

The data controller is the Department for Work and Pensions.
Contact details:

The data processor is the National Centre for Social Research.

Contact details for NatCen:

NatCen Social Research,
35 Northampton Square, Clerkenwell, London,
EC1V 0AX or
0800 652 4568

Who will have access to personal data?

NatCen are carrying out this research and will have access to telephone assessment data, information about benefit claims, survey data and sample file (including contact details). All responses are anonymised before being analysed.

The DWP will also receive the anonymised survey data, which will be used for research and statistical purposes only to inform policy decisions.

How will my information be used?

The results collected are used for research purposes only. At the end of the research NatCen will securely delete all personal information and any other data held on the project once the project is complete in December 2021.

We will write a report about the main issues that people have talked about. We will not name anybody in the report and it will not be possible to identify anybody who took part in the interviews. The report will be published on the DWP website.

During the interview you will be asked for permission to link your survey responses to other information held by the DWP. This will only be done for statistical and research purposes. This is completely voluntary and you are under no obligation to agree to this request for data linking.

At no point will the individual who is managing your claim be able to identify you.

Data retention

All data stored by NatCen will be deleted once our report on the survey is published (no later than December 2021).

The DWP will continue to securely store the collected survey data for an indefinite period. At this point, unless you gave permission for your data to be linked with DWP records, your survey data will be anonymous. This means no one will be able to identify your answer and they can no longer be linked to records held by DWP.

If you have given permission for your survey data to be linked with other DWP records this will only ever be used for research purposes.

How will my information be stored?

NatCen will carefully manage your personal data as part of our public task, which is our lawful basis for processing. All the information you provide will be held in strict confidence and held securely. Only the research teams at NatCen will have access to your data.

Will I have access to my information?

Yes, but please note that once data is aggregated, pseudonymised, anonymised or survey results have been published, we would not be able to change the results by removing individual information. However, you can always request that your personal data be deleted or updated and we will let you know immediately if this is possible or not.

Who can I contact with a query or a complaint?

If you have any questions about how your data will be used, please contact the NatCen’s Data Protection Officer:

Data Protection Officer
NatCen Social Research
Kings House,
101-135 Kings Rd,
CM14 4LX


Data Protection Officers are responsible for upholding your rights and making sure we process your information correctly.

Under GDPR, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Contact information

Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,

Helpline number: 0303 123 1113