Confidentiality in an Early Years Setting

Confidentiality as defined by Tassoni et al (2010) “is about respecting other people’s rights to privacy and keeping safe the information that they have provided” Confidentiality is very important in any organisation since it is the basis of trust between a number of parties. Respecting this trust is vital and information must be handled, exchanged and stored (including both print and electronic information) in an appropriate way so that private information is not jeopardised.

In an early years setting, parents and custodians feel the need to share personal information with the care centre and its professionals in order to ensure that their children can get the right type of attention, support and help. It is with this in mind that these professionals have the duty and responsibility to respect the privacy and sensitivity of the information given about the child and the family. As a basic rule, if this information is not publicly available, then one must consider such information as confidential.

An appropriate approach to confidentiality, encompasses the following points: * Information should be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. * Confidentiality does not end with the job. It must be respected at all times, indefinitely. * Never discuss information in front of other children. Unfortunately, adults sometimes forget or do not realise that children have ears too! When working in such a centre, it is imperative that one should keep himself up-to-date with the organisation’s confidentiality policy as well as other legal frameworks such as the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act and any other related guidelines.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = References: 1. Kay, J. , 2005. Teaching Assistant’s Handbook. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 2. Lindon, J. , 2003. Child Care and Early Years Education. London: Thomson Learning. 3. Tassoni, P. , Beith, K. , Bulman, K. & Griffin, S. , 2010. Children & Young People’s Workforce, Early Learning & Childcare. Oxford: Heinemann Pearson Education Limited. 4. 3Describe the potential tension between maintaining confidentiality and disclosing concerns.

When working in an early years environment, one may come across situations where it might be necessary to decide not to respect data confidentiality where there is serious enough justification. These occasions include instances where: 1. there can be harm to a child in one’s care (e. g. abuse) 2. there can be harm by a child in one’s care (e. g. bullying) 3. or harm to the person who has passed on the information (this can include a suspected or committed illegal behaviour). In such situations, centres and professionals need to refer to the centre’s procedures and guidelines.

Only relevant and adequate information should be passed on immediately and to the competent authority in a pre-agreed format. In this way, only relevant information is passed on and partial confidentiality is retained by the centre and its employees. It is also important to inform the person who passed on this information that promise of confidentiality cannot be kept given the circumstance and that it is your duty to forward such information to a senior or relevant unit in the centre. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =.

Sarah from Law Aspect

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