All personal data relating to the organisation’s trustees, employees or volunteers will be held securely by the Manager in order to protect the confidentiality of individuals.
Personal information about individual service users may be held by other nominated employees, and will be held securely. Where personal information is of a sensitive nature, case notes and identifying information will be held in separate locations, with a coding system used for cross-referencing.
Storage, retention and disposal of information, including electronically held data, will be in accordance with relevant statutory provisions (A useful source of guidance is: Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook). Confidential paper records will normally be disposed of by cross-cut shredding.
Trustees will not normally have access to any information about individual service users. In the event of an individual case being referred to the Management Committee, this will considered by a small sub-committee or Officer group, with reporting to the full Management Committee in anonymised form.
Limits to Confidentiality
Personal information of any kind will be collected only when it is necessary, and will normally be used only for the purpose(s) agreed with that individual.
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual’s personal safety is believed to be at risk, or where the safety of others is at risk, it may be considered necessary to divulge personal information to third parties without seeking the permission of the individual.
Action to be taken in any such case is set out in our Safeguarding policies.
Expectations of Staff
All trustees, staff members and volunteers are expected to treat all personal information that comes to their notice with due respect and appropriate confidentiality. All personal information shared with them during the course of their work or through other contact with clients and/or colleagues is to be treated in the strictest confidence. Information is only to be passed on or given to someone else with the express permission of the person originally imparting the information.
There is, however, one exception to this rule and that is in circumstances where the receiver of the information believes that there is a serious risk that the person imparting the information is at risk of self harm (suicide etc), is at risk of harming someone else, or where harm is taking place involving other people, e.g. child abuse and homicide.
In such circumstances the worker should report the information to and seek the advice of their principal line manager with regard to procedure if this has not been actively communicated and training provided.
It is important that any client or member of staff sharing information with you is made aware of the exceptions to the general principle of confidentiality.
Third party information is not as clear-cut and reference must be made to the policies and procedures of the agency or body sharing this information. If there is any doubt or concern that there may be a possible conflict of interest, then the advice of the principal line manager should be sought.
The unauthorised sharing or dissemination of confidential or privileged information will not be accepted and could lead to dismissal.
It may be appropriate to remind employees of any confidentiality clause in their contract of employment. [Check]