Data Protection Act 1998

Explain the importance of confidentiality and data protection. Confidentiality is about trust. As we want parents, carers and children to share information with us, it is essential that we are able to keep it confidential. When working in a childcare setting it is often inevitable to come across confidential information about children and families you are working with. Confidential information is personal information, which should not be shared with unauthorised person or organisations. It also means a child minder should never discuss a child with a friend or other parents.

The most common information held by childcare practitioner are name, address, date of birth, record of parent(s)’ and/or emergency contact details, the contact details of the child’s GP. All this information is to be kept confidential as every individual had the right to keep information of this type private.

The purpose of the Data protection Act 1998 is to regulate the use of personal information by business and organisations. In a childcare setting, childcare providers such as child minders will need to comply with the Act as they are often required to deal with and keep a large amount of information on each child. Therefore passing information to a third party without the parents’ consent is illegal.

A court can prevent the disclosure of confidential information by injunction and where appreciate, award damages if unlawful disclosure has been made It is important to comply with the Data Protection principle when keeping children’s personal information that is covered by the act. The principle requires that personal information is: •Processed fairly and lawfully •Processed for one or more specified and lawful purposes and not further processed in any way that is incompatible with the original purpose.

•Adequate, relevant and not excessive •Accurate and where necessary, kept up to date •Kept for no longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it is being used. •Processed in line with an individual’s rights •Kept secure with appropriate technical and organisational measures taken to protect the information. •Not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection. Claire Green – How to set up a home based childcare service.

Claire Green – How to set up a home based childcare service If you store information electronically for the provision of childcare including personal details about children/parents/carers on your computer or any digital format (including smart phones and photos on digital cameras) it is likely that you will need to register as a Data Controller with the ICO. The ICO is the UK’s independent public body who enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act. There is currently an annual fee of ? 35 to register. •Data protection responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998 are as follows: •If you keep all your childcare records on paper, you do not need to notify the ICO.

•If you keep information about the names, ages and addresses of children/parents, details of payments purely for accounts and records purposes, you are also exempt from notification •If you keep more extensive records, or information of a more sensitive nature, for example about children’s health, behaviour or development, on a computer then you need to contact the ICO to find out if you need to notify.

•If you take digital photographs of the children in your care, you will be expected to register with the ICO. There are specific circumstances when it is not possible to maintain confidentiality because permission has been given by law or it is in the interest of other children to do so. For example: The disclosure of certain information about a child sharing on a “need to know” basis such as informing parents/carers of an infectious disease without disclosing the name of the child and knowing about or suspecting child abuse. Claire Green – How to set up a home based childcare service.