It is important to respect confidentiality if we want to gain and keep respect of other adults and parents in the settings, although this is most difficult to maintain. There is also legislation about confidentiality which gives children and their families the right to privacy. Every Child Matters(2003)-Every Child Matters which was launched in 2003, is a UK government initiative for England and Wales. It has introduced partly in response to the death of Victoria Climbie.
It is one of the most important policy in relation to children and children’s services and has been described as a ‘sea change’ to the children and family agenda. Every Child Matters covers children and young adults up to the age of 19 or 24 for those with disabilities. It’s main aims are for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to:
- Be healthy
- Stay safe
- Enjoy and achieve
- Make a positive contribution
- Achieve economic well-being.
Each of these themes has a detailed framework and to achieve the outcomes, it is important that multi-agency partnerships work together. The agencies in partnership may include children’s centre, early years, schools, children’s social work services, primary and secondary health services, play work and child and adolescent Mental Health Services. Data Protection Act(1998) The Data Protection Act is a piece of legislation that is designed to prevent confidential and personal information from being passed on without a person’s consent.
Under the act, organisations that collect and store information must register with DATA Protection Commission. Anyone who processing information must comply with the eight principles of practice which are
- Fairly and lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Not kept longer than necessary
- Processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights
- Not transferred to countries that do not have adequate protection.
This means that most information that is collected and held in school or other settings will be confidential. Passing on information to others would be in breach of the Act. This is the reason why parental consent need to be given before we can contact other professionals such as speech and language therapist. So it is good idea to keep every information given by parents or carers as being confidential, including contact details, medical information and the child’s record. We need to reassure them that any confidential information will not be passed on to others, to become the source of gossip or interest.
We also should reassure them that these type of information will be accessed only by those people who work directly with children. Even if we attend any meetings where we need to tell some confidential matter about a child, we should make sure that we let others know about our obligations or limitations. Most of the time parental consent need to be given before passing any information to other professionals. It is very important to remember that we should be careful when discussing about a child of our setting with outside the setting because it is very easy for someone to identify a child or family.
In some situations, such as when a child has a serious medical condition for e. g. Asthma or Allergy to some particular food, it will be very important for everyone in the setting to know about it. I that case photograph of those children may be displayed in the staffroom or kitchen so that all staff are aware of those children. But before doing this we should discuss with parents about this information and remove them if the setting is used by other organisations in the evening.