St Mungo’s response regarding the Information Commissioner’s Office and data protection

Friday 21 September 2018

It has been reported today that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has concluded its response to a complaint into how St Mungo’s handles data.  The investigation was in relation to the charity’s work with non-UK nationals sleeping rough.

Our response is:

A St Mungo’s spokesperson said: “The ICO has concluded that the current information rights practice of St Mungo’s does not raise any concerns with them.

“The ICO found that from 2010 to 14 December 2017, “the personal data of some individuals may have been processed without their consent but may have been in the public interest, as defined by DPA”.

“To reiterate, our policy is that we do not share information about individuals with the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at significant risk to themselves or someone else.

“We take complaints seriously and are finalising an internal review into St Mungo’s data sharing policies in relation to non-UK nationals over some years prior to 2017.”

ENDS

How St Mungo’s works with non-UK nationals sleeping rough

• People who aren’t from the UK may not be entitled to benefits, resulting in complex situations with no access to housing or support services. This, in turn, can result in long term rough sleeping.

• Our first response for people in this situation is always an offer of help and support, ensuring people understand their rights and entitlements, including, where possible, assistance to realise their aspirations by taking up options in the UK like work and housing.

• Where this is not possible, St Mungo’s has a range of other services including a supported reconnection to access treatment and housing options in the person’s home country.

Judicial Review

• On 14 December 2017 The High Court ruled that Home Office policy on removal of EEA nationals for sleeping rough was unlawful.

• Since 14 December 2017 St Mungo’s outreach teams have not been present during any ICE shifts.

Sharing information with the Home Office and resolving immigration issues

• Our policy is that we do not share information about individuals with the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at significant risk to themselves or someone else.

• We run a number of services that help people resolve their immigration status. That means working with the Home Office – with the person’s consent – when people haven’t got documentation.

• We actively support people who are non UK nationals, for example, through the Routes Home service that we run on behalf of the Mayor of London.

• St Mungo’s is currently providing a safe place to stay for more than 50 people who have no access to help in the UK. We hope to expand our capacity to help more. People in this situation would otherwise be sleeping rough while a decision on their immigration status and entitlements is resolved.