Big Issue Group Customer Privacy Notice

This Privacy Notice relates to the service provided by the Big Issue Group. This organisation works to provide individuals affected by poverty to work their way out of poverty and supporting organisations working to eradicate poverty. This service is referred to in this document as the ‘Service’.

In this Notice, ‘we’ means the ‘Big Issue Group’ and ‘you’ or ‘your’ means you, the vendor or other individual who is using the Service.

This Notice tells you what information the Big Issue Group collects and how it is used to provide the Service, including your rights and how to contact us.

NOTE: in addition to processing information about those who use the Service, the Big Issue Group also processes other information about individuals who engage with us in different ways, such as through the Big Issue Group website and through fundraising activities. To find out about how other personal information is processed by the Big Issue Group (outside of the Service) please see the Big Issue Group Privacy Notice:

Who we are

Big Issue Group consists of the following registered companies:  The Big Issue Company (company registration number 02612480), Big Issue Invest (company registration number 04764982) and Big Issue Changing Lives CIC, (company registration number 14786850). Our Address is 3rd Floor, 113-115 Fonthill Road, London N4 3HH. To find out more about visit:

About the service

The Service works with Individuals across four main service strands:

Engaging with people to sell the Big Issue Magazine. Within this service strand the following types of work take place:

  • Recruitment & induction of vendors
  • Sales training, support and incentivisation for vendors
  • Referral to third party support or specialist services
  • Group activities
  • One to one activities

The second strand of the service is providing support to vendors and individuals engaged with BIG Issue Group enterprises through our Big Issue Changing Lives CIC across ten pathways: housing, wellbeing, health, money, digital, citizenship, education and training, employment, involvement and volunteering.  

The following types of support are offered:

  • Information and guidance
  • Referral and brokerage with third party agencies such as NHS services, local authorities, housing associations etc.
  • Direct support such as the provision of goods or vouchers
  • Group activities
  • One to one activities

The third strand is through Big Issue Recruit, working with individuals who face barriers to work into sustainable employment.

The fourth strand is through Big Issue Invest, working with individuals who represent and are employed as staff by our investee organisations.

Our legal basis for collecting, analysing, and sharing personal information

Big Issue Group is the controller for the personal information collected and processed about you as part of our Service under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18).

Our legal basis for processing your personal information under the GDPR are:

  • GDPR Article 6 (1) (f) Legitimate interests: the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party, unless there is a good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides those legitimate interests.

Additionally, there are specific situations (listed in the section ‘How we use your personal information and why’ of this is Privacy Notice) where the following legal basis applies:

  • GDPR Article 6 (1) (a) Consent: the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes.

You have the right to object to our lawful processing of your information at any time and can do so by contacting us in accordance with the ‘Contact Us’ section below.

How we use your personal information and why

There are different ways we may use your personal information while you are accessing our services. Some of these we will only do with your consent. Usually, we will seek your written consent but if this isn’t possible, for example if we are supporting you on the phone, and it is not possible to gain your written consent we may ask for your verbal consent so we can provide the support you have asked. We have indicated below where we will seek your consent.

When you are accessing our services, we may use your personal information to:

Manage our relationship with you and manage any casework we complete for you: once you are using our services we will use your information to help us coordinate your magazine and equipment purchases and the support that we are providing to you

Contact you: we may contact you about opportunities including giving feedback about our services or taking part in events or activities within our services or to give you updates about our services and how we can support you

Marketing and editorial activities: we use case studies based on those we are supporting to show how our services work. Your information may be used anonymously for this purpose. We would only use your identifiable information e.g. your name or photograph with your consent.

Monitor and improve the Services: we may use your information along with data about others we are supporting to create statistical reports that help us understand how effective the service is and improve it. Your information is used anonymously for this work.

Protect your health interests: we may use your personal information to assist you with access needs or in a medical emergency

Make referrals and help you access other services: where you have asked us to help you access services provided by an external agency we will share your personal information with those agencies only with your consent

Make reports to legal and regulatory authorities: your information would be used anonymously, unless we had gained your consent

Personal information we collect

When you access our Big Issue Group services you will be asked to share information about yourself so that we are able to meet the requirements above. The information is stored on secure databases.

The information we may collect about you is:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Your ethnicity
  • Your gender
  • Any criminal convictions or whether you are on release from prison on licence
  • Your contact information
  • Your Postcode
  • Your current housing status
  • Information about other services you are accessing and how you were referred to Big Issue Group
  • Any information you have shared about your current and past needs and future aspirations in relation to: housing, health, addiction, money and finances, digital access, education level, employment status and aspirations
  • Records of your correspondence and engagement with us, including notes from conversations with you which may include any of the above information
  • Records of correspondence with any third-party agencies on your behalf
  • Photographic images of you for the purposes of identification

Special category data

Special category data is more private personal information which is subject to extra legal protections. Special category data which we may collect from you includes your ethnicity, information about your health and your sexual orientation.

Our legal basis for processing the information you provide us about your health and ethnicity under GDPR are:

  • Article 9 (2) (d) Not-for-profit bodies

We will never disclose your special category data with any third party organisations without your explicit consent.

How we collect information about you

We collect information about you in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Records of Magazine & Equipment sales
  • Action Plans and assessments you complete with our staff face to face or on the phone
  • Other conversations you have with staff face to face or on the phone as you use our services
  • Any digital or paper forms or surveys you complete while using our services
  • Communication with you on social media
  • Publicly available sources
  • Email correspondence and SMS or other digital messaging services
  • Financial and company data on your organisation

We may also collect your personal data where we receive information about you from third parties, for example, housing agencies and referrals agencies. Third parties should only provide us with this information where you have given them permission to share your information.

When you call and speak to us, any personal or sensitive information may be used for training purposes, quality assurance, complaint investigations, and to make further improvements to the way we interact with you. These calls are not recorded.

How we keep your information safe

We keep your information in a secure digital databases. Only authorised staff providing or managing the Service have access to this databases.   

Where we have paper documents with your personal information this information will be transferred to the digital databases and the paper document will be securely destroyed. Where it cannot be transferred to the digital databases, we will keep the paper document in an individual file within a locked filing system.

If we use third party companies to collect or process personal data on our behalf we carry out checks on these companies before we work with them, and put a contract in place regarding how they manage the personal information they collect or have access to.  At this time, the digital databases we use SalesForce, Zoho, and InForm.

Sharing your information with external parties

In delivering our services, Big Issue Group works with a network of local and national partners including housing associations, local authorities, legal advice services, health services, local businesses, colleges and other types of organisations. In order to help individuals we work with access these external services, the Big Issue Group can make referrals to you and liaise with the services on your behalf. In these cases, we will need to share your personal information with these external services. We will only do this with your consent and we will share the minimum information required for you to access the third party service.

Big Issue Group work with third party, corporate partners who support our work. In some instances we may share your information or story these partners but only with your permission to do so.

There are limited other circumstances in which we may share your information with external organisations, these are:

  • where we believe there is a risk of significant harm to you or others and where it is not safe or possible to gain your consent to share your information first. In these instances, we may provide your information to a statutory third party such as the police, ambulance service or local authority to help keep you or others safe;
  • if required by law, for example if we are under a duty to disclose your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation, or establish, exercise or defend our legal rights;
  • if our legal structure or status changes, in which case personal information held by us about you will be disclosed to the new legal structure so that you can continue to receive our services;
  • to our professional advisors and banks for the purpose of providing services to us, if we are required to disclose your identity for regulatory and legal purposes in our activities with them.

We do not sell or share personal details to third parties for the purposes of marketing.

Retention of personal data

We will retain your personal information for 6 years from the date of your last contact with our services.  After this time, your identifiable data will be removed from all records and your other information will be kept in an anonymous format so that we can provide long term records about our services for funders, regulatory bodies or others who may require this information.

We keep your data so that if you return to work with us at a later date or you have any concerns about our services we have provided, we still have records and are able to resolve these issues for you.

Your rights

You have the following rights in relation to your personal information processed through our services:

  • the right to be informed about how your personal information is being used (be informed);
  • the right to access the personal information (get access);
  • the right to request the correction of inaccurate personal information (rectify or change);
  • the right to request the erasure of your personal information in certain limited circumstances (erase or remove);
  • the right to restrict processing of your personal information where certain requirements are met (restrict or stop processing);
  • the right to object to the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances (object to processing or use);
  • the right to request that elements of your data are transferred either to you or another service provider in certain circumstances (move, copy or transfer);
  • the right to object to certain automated decision-making processes using your personal information (know if a decision was made by a computer rather than a person); and

Please note that there may be some circumstances where you ask to erase or restrict the processing of your personal information and we may be legally entitled to retain your personal information or continue to process it. We will always inform you if this is the case.

If you wish to request a copy of the personal information that we hold about you, you can make this request verbally or in writing or email to Big Issue Group to

Withdrawing consent

Where the legal basis for processing your personal information is your consent, you have the right to withdraw this consent at any time.  For example, you may wish to withdraw consent for us to share your personal information with third party services that are also supporting you.  All requests to withdraw consent can be done at any time by contacting Big Issue Group in person, by phone, by post, or online by email to

Keeping your information up to date

If your personal details change, please help us to keep your information up to date by notifying Big Issue Group in person, by phone, by post, and online by email to

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to the use of your personal information in connection with our services, or if you want to exercise any of your rights above, please contact

Contact the Information Commissioner

If we are unable to resolve any queries or concerns in relation to the use of your personal information in connection with our services, you can raise your concern with the Information Commissioner. You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office:

  • using the online Contact Us service
  • by calling 0303 123 1113
  • by writing to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Changes to this notice

The terms of our privacy policy may change from time to time. Any updates to the privacy policy will be published on our website. Where we make any significant changes we will also inform you about this by email, if we have this on record.

Last updated: November 2023