Data breach implications of WuRTI

Ensuring correct usage for Housing Benefits processing

Data breach implications of WuRTI

What is WuRTI?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently rolling out Wider use of Real Time Information (WuRTI). All authorities are now aware of their go-live date (some are already live) and will be aware of what is required of them before they go live.

WuRTI will allow Housing Benefit processing staff access to HM Revenue and Customs’ employment and pension data in real time (for instance last month’s pay slip or pension advice), so that claims can be processed more accurately.  

Housing Benefit staff will be able to access data, via a direct web link from their desktop, to use as evidence when assessing the customer’s entitlement in the following scenarios:

  • Housing Benefit new claims (including Council Tax Reduction (CTR) if claimed with Housing Benefit)    
  • Housing Benefit change of circumstances    
  • Housing Benefit interventions/reviews

WuRTI access is in addition to existing Customer Information System (CIS) access. However, both have distinct uses:

  • CIS information is DWP data and can be used for the purpose of Housing Benefit, CTR and tracing people for Housing Benefit overpayments
  • WuRTI information is HMRC data. It can only be used for Housing Benefit cases and combined Housing Benefit/CTR cases, but not CTR only. This data cannot be used to establish non-dependant income or for tracing Housing Benefit overpayments

Each local authority will put in place their own processes for when, and when not, to access and use WuRTI data, and also whether to add an ‘interest’ indicator on individual cases – this functionality allows the local authority to receive monthly updates on changes to income.

What are the implications if data is used incorrectly?

The DWP only allow certain job roles to be able to access CIS and WuRTI data within strict guidelines. Staff who have CIS access will have already completed a DWP Confidentiality Agreement and read the Terms and Conditions of Use. The same agreement and Terms and Conditions will now also apply to the use of HMRC data via WuRTI.

Both sets of data are test checked by the DWP to make sure staff are only using them within the terms and conditions stipulated, and for Housing Benefit purposes listed above. It is a criminal offence to access or process the data for any other purpose.

If CIS or WuRTI are used incorrectly then the DWP will class it as a data breach and the user will have their access denied and, depending on the outcome of the proceeding investigation, could be banned from accessing DWP data in the future.

The approach Civica OnDemand will be taking

Civica OnDemand account managers will be contacting clients to understand go-live dates and processes to be followed. The OnDemand users will not access WuRTI on behalf of our clients until the client goes live.

If you have any concerns about the use of WuRTI, or need any more details, please complete the form below and we'll call you back.