This website only collects personal and business data from you with your permission, for example if you register or fill in a form. No personal or business data is collected from you without you knowing about it.
Some web usage and technical information is collected by this website to help us improve our service to you, but this does not contain any personal data.
Changes to this policy
1. Who manages this website?
Businesslink.gov.uk is managed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), on behalf of the government, and delivered by Serco Ltd.
2. What information do we collect and how do we use it?
Depending on which services you use on this website, you may be asked to provide information, or we may collect information from you as explained below.
2.1 Information that you provide to us
We collect and process data that you provide for specific purposes. You will be asked to provide information about yourself when you use certain site facilities, in order to complete your request or transaction. This may include personal information such as your name, email addresses, mailing address and telephone number. We use this data to provide you with the information, products or services that you request from us and to communicate with you. We may keep a record of any contacts you have with us. We may use the information that you provide for record keeping, statistical, or research purposes.
We only retain this information where required to do so by law - for the length of time needed to provide the service or information you have requested (including any retention period specified by law or by government policy), or for the length of time that you choose to store information or permit us to contact you if you have registered with our website.
If you are a registered user, we may use your details to offer personalised or local services, to notify you of changes to our service, to ask your opinions and to help us to improve our services. When you register with the site, you can choose to store information in your 'My Business' area, for example to save the results of tools that you have completed.
In order to provide the information, products or services that you have requested we will share your data as required with other organisations - for example with a publications distribution organisation if you order a publication, with a local business support organisation or Business Link operator if you request local contact or support, or with the relevant government department, agency or authority to complete a request or transaction.
If you are registered with more than one regional Business Link site, the information in My Business will be shared with the other sites you have chosen to register with.
2.1.1 The Government Gateway
When you register with this website, or use certain services on this or linked sites, you will be asked to register and obtain a User ID and password from the Government Gateway, or to enter your existing User ID and password. Your name, User ID, password and email address will be securely stored on the Government Gateway servers. Certain government transactions or services, such as Income Tax Self Assessment, will also require you to enter 'known facts', which are information known to yourself and to the relevant government department, agency or authority, in order to enrol with the Government Gateway for that service. You can find out about the Government Gateway on the Government Gateway website - Opens in a new window.
2.2 Website usage information
As well as the information that you provide to us as set out above, we receive and store a range of website usage information whenever you use this website. We use this to:
- assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
- develop and deliver services and information that better meet your needs
The type of website usage information that we collect during your visits to our site includes, for example, the date and time, pages viewed or searched for, publications ordered, guides printed, tools used, subscriptions and referrals made, some truncated postcode or telephone area code information entered on forms (which is not traceable back to you) and other information relating to your usage of our website.
Where you are a registered user of our website and have logged in, we may collect web usage information to enable us to build a demographic profile.
We may also use web usage information to create statistical data regarding the use of our website and we may then use or disclose that statistical data to others for marketing and strategic development purposes, however, no individual identities will or can be identified in such statistical data.
Cookies are small pieces of data given to your browser by a website which may be stored as text files in the cookie directory of your computer. Cookies are not programs and cannot collect information from your computer. They do not damage your computer and are defined as "a piece of text stored on a user's computer by their web browser. A cookie can be used for authentication, storing site preferences, shopping cart contents, the identifier for a server-based session, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data" (source: Wikipedia, 2011).
Each website may send cookie data to your browser which may save it if your browser's preferences allow it to do so. To protect your privacy your browser only returns a cookie to the website that sent you the cookie and does not send it to any other website. A website cannot access your cookie directory or information on your computer, instead relevant cookies are included by your browser within each request you make to the website. A website can only obtain cookie data that your browser sends to it.
You do not have to accept cookies and you can change the settings within your browser to accept all cookies, reject all cookies, reject cookies from certain websites, notify you if a site is requesting to set a cookie, and set various other options.
Switching off cookies will still allow you to view the majority of content on our site, however, it will prevent you logging in and so accessing personalised information. It will also stop us remembering your login User ID if you ask us to do so, and may restrict your use of our interactive tools and of some services available through linked sites.
2.2.2 Further information about cookies
For further information about cookies, please refer to:
- your browser's Help function
- your browser provider's website
You can also:
- find information on internet browser cookies on the Directgov website - Opens in a new window
- read guidance on controlling cookies on the AboutCookies.org website - Opens in a new window
- find information about cookies on the All About Cookies website - Opens in a new window
3. Information sharing and disclosure
We will only disclose your information to others where there is a lawful basis to do so. This includes parts of HMRC beyond those managing this website. We will not disclose your information except where:
- this is necessary to provide or complete a relevant service to you (see examples at section 2 above)
- this is required by applicable laws or court orders (for example to prevent or detect crime)
- you give us permission to do so
You can read more detailed information about the circumstances in which HMRC can share information internally, or disclose it to others, in the published guidance on the HMRC website - Opens in a new window.
4. Third party content and linking to other websites
This website contains links to many other government and non-government websites. Anonymous visit or session information may be passed to other websites for the web usage information purposes described above. None of this information can be related to an individual user of the website. The operators of other sites may collect information from you, which will be used by them in accordance with their own terms and conditions, and privacy policies.
We use leading technologies and security measures to safeguard your information and keep strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it. Our registration system makes use of the Government Gateway. We use industry-standard SSL encryption software when processing sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.
6. Your access to your information
You have a right to request a copy of any personal information that we hold about you. You can read about how to request a copy of any information held about you on the HMRC website - Opens in a new window.
You will be asked for appropriate identification when you request copies of personal information.
If you register with this website, your account will include a personal storage area called 'My Business'. You can access and change your stored information at any time by logging in.