This policy applies to all staff, Trustees and volunteers of Gateshead Carers Association. The data covered by the confidentiality policy includes:
- Information about the organisation, for example, its plans or finances
- Information about other organisations
- Information about individuals, for example, clients, volunteers and staff whether recorded electronically or in paper form
All staff, Trustees, volunteers and others who work at Gateshead Carers Association must respect the need for confidentiality of information held about anyone who comes into contact with the charity, and about any charity business. This is expected to continue even when contact has ceased with this person, and when the Trustee, volunteer or staff member no longer works for Gateshead Carers Association.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Gateshead Carers Association’s Data Protection Policy.
Information about individuals
Gateshead Carers Association is committed to ensuring confidential services to all individuals. The confidentiality is between the individual and the organisation, not the members of staff delivering a particular service.
Confidential information will not be sought from a client unless expressly in the interests of that client, i.e. to enable a better service delivery.
Information will only be passed to another agency or to other individuals outside of the charity with the consent of the client, where possible this will be with written consent. If a member of staff or volunteer intends to get information from another agency to help the client or to refer them to another agency then this must be explained to the client and their permission given.
No personal information about staff, volunteers or clients will be given to any third party including a member of their family, without the consent of the client. Information will only be divulged on a “need to know” basis.
Information will be treated in confidence and will not be divulged to anyone outside the organisation except where extenuating circumstances exist (see below). However, in order that we can provide the best possible help to our clients it may be necessary to share information with a manager or colleagues within Gateshead Carers Association.
All customers and clients are entitled to privacy and will be made aware that they can specifically request to be seen in private.
In no circumstances should details of a client be discussed by anyone outside of the organisation or in an open plan area in such a manner that it is possible to identify the client.
Staff and volunteers should take due care and attention when speaking to clients and using the telephone or fax. No client should be able to hear a conversation or personal details of another service user.
Use of client information for publicity, reporting or training purposes
Gateshead Carers Association does need to be able to give information where appropriate about the impact of our services.
If one of our services has an outcome which would provide useful material for publicity, reporting or training purposes, then wherever possible the permission of the client will be sought in writing before the story is told to anyone else. If permission cannot be obtained then any details that would enable identification of the client to be made will be changed.
Limits to client confidentiality
In certain circumstances Gateshead Carers Association reserves the right to break confidentiality should this be deemed necessary. These circumstances include:
- If a member of staff believes that a client could cause danger to themselves or to others.
- If a member of staff suspects abuse or has knowledge of abuse
- If the client gives information which indicates that a crime has been committed
- If disclosure is required by law, for example, by the police
- If a person is felt to lack the mental capacity to make a decision. In such cases staff or volunteers will discuss with a manager and they will only act in the client’s best interest.
- If the client gives information which indicates a possible terrorist threat.
The decision on whether to break confidentiality will be decided on a case by case basis and always in conjunction with a manager.
Access to data
This Policy operates on a “need to know” basis and apart from staff and volunteers in the office of Gateshead Carers Association, no-one will have access to client or organisational information unless it is relevant to the service or their work.
All clients and customers have the right to request access to all information stored about them, and have a right to see a copy of this confidentiality policy on request.
If any party concerned has a sensory or physical impairment, efforts should be made to ensure that all aspects of this policy and exchanges between parties are understood.
Significant breaches of this policy will be handled under Gateshead Carers Association disciplinary procedures.
Evaluation and Monitoring
All staff and volunteers will be given a copy of the policy when they join Gateshead Carers Association and will sign the confidentiality statement that they will abide by this policy. Gateshead Carers Association will ensure that all staff and volunteers are trained in the application of this policy.
The policy will be reviewed in July 2013 by the Chief Officer and approved by the Board of Trustees. It will also be reviewed in response to changes in relevant legislation, contractual arrangements, good practice or in response to an identified failing in its effectiveness.