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9.3 Breakaway Confidentiality

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Access to Records Procedure

Child Protection Referrals Procedure

This chapter was added to the manual in June 2013.


Contents list

1. Policy Aim
2. Legislation
3. Policy
  3.1 Disclosure of Confidential Information
  3.2 For Social Work Purposes
  3.3 Confidentiality in Telephone Calls
  3.4 Confidentiality of Manual Records
  3.5 Confidentiality on Computer Systems
  3.6 Confidentiality and Staff


1. Policy Aim

Confidentiality: The degree to which sensitive data about both individuals and organisations must be protected. Information is not made available or disclosed to unauthorised individuals, entities or processes.

To outline the meaning of confidentiality, its importance within the unit, how to maintain and respect it and details on our ways of working with it.


2. Legislation

Legislation, Central Government and other External Documents References

Child Care Act 1980

Children and Young Persons Act 1969

Human Rights Act 1998

Data Protection Act 1984

Access to Personal Files Act 1987

Registered Homes Act 1984


3. Policy

3.1 Disclosure of Confidential Information

Disclosure without the consent of the subject is possible only in strictly limited and exceptional cases, where the law or the public interest may override the subject’s right to confidentiality.

3.2 For Social Work Purposes

Confidential information should only be available to those directly involved with the subject for the maintenance of good practice and standards, this could include the following types of people:

  • Social Workers;
  • Management staff;
  • Senior Management;
  • Social Carers;
  • Authorities Finance staff;
  • Legal staff;
  • Police;
  • Department of Health’s Social Services Inspectorate;
  • Committee of inquiry;
  • Guardians;
  • LAC panel of staff;
  • NHS.

3.3 Confidentiality in Telephone Calls

When you answer the telephone and the caller requests information about an individual young person, colleague, or family you must first clarify the following:

  • Their name;
  • Organisation/Team;
  • Contact number;
  • Nature of query.

You then explain that you will gather the information and call them back. This gives you an opportunity to check out who they are with colleagues/managers/social workers and to verify if they are entitled to the information. Once ascertained you would then call them back and relay the  requested information, if you can’t complete their request then please refer them onto the appropriate person e.g. Managers/Social worker. If an individual requests information about the service we offer, please explain that we are a short breaks unit and refer their call to management/SMP.

Unless the identity of an individual caller is confirmed - DO NOT give out our address, or confirm whether a child/young person is at the unit, this is to ensure protection of children/young people and staff.

3.4 Confidentiality of Manual Records

Manual records should be secured against unauthorised access or amendment and against loss through accidental or deliberate damage, erasure or disclosure. They should be located in secure locked cabinets.

3.5 Confidentiality on Computer Systems

Computer systems should be secured against unauthorised access or amendment and against loss through accidental or deliberate damage, erasure or disclosure. Failure to take reasonable care could result in action for compensation under section 23 of the Data Protection Act 1984. Only authorised members of staff should be allowed to have direct access to the record systems which should have the means for restricting the range of information according to need, e.g. Passwords.

3.6 Confidentiality and Staff

  • Staff are not to discuss individual children/young people in front of other children/young people or parents/carers;
  • Staff are not to discuss other staff in front of the children/young people or parents/carers;
  • Staff are not to discuss the children/young people in public, though if absolutely necessary use the child/young person’s initials only;
  • Staff should not expect other staff to keep information secret that would impact on practice, e.g. breaking a child/young person’s personal belongings;
  • Staff are not to promise to keep a child/young person’s secret, it could be a disclosure of important information, this must be explained to the child/young person prior to a conversation taking place.

End