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TMO questionnaire causes alarm

Borough-wide TMO

The TMO recently sent Resident Associations copies of a questionnaire they intend to mail out to all Council tenants.

The questionnaire asks tenants to provide the TMO with a large amount of personal information for both themselves and all other adults in their household that most people would consider private, including details on sexual orientation, religion, and income.

The questionnaire has caused alarm amongst the borough's Resident Associations, many of which regard the questionnaire as intrusive and unnecessary. These concerns were raised with both the TMO's CEO, TMO Executive Team and the Council at a recent meeting at the Town Hall.

The TMO claims that they need all of the personal information requested to operate their new IT system - ''Customer First'' - but have so far failed to provided any evidence as to why this should be the case. The Resident Associations at the meeting pointed out that many other organisations, including other social housing providers, operate perfectly well without access to so much personal information. It was also noted that asking for, processing and storing personal information that is clearly not required for the provision of the services individual tenants actually receive from the Council and TMO was a breach of the Data Protection Act. The TMO eventually agreed to review the questionnaire before sending it out.

WERA remains concerned by the questionnaire. Like other Resident Associations it believes that the TMO has yet to make the case for the mass collection of so much personal data from Council tenants. WERA hopes the review will result in a questionnaire that is both more refined and more acceptable.

If you receive a questionnaire from the TMO asking you to provide large amounts of personal data, for example in relation to your religion, sexual orientation or income, WERA recommends that you seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or other advice agencies before responding. WERA has been advised that there is currently no legal requirement for Council tenants to provide the TMO with so much personal information.

If you have received a questionnaire from the TMO asking you for this kind of personal information please let WERA know.

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