Any organisation that holds information on individuals needs to be registered with the Information Commissioner. This is designed to ensure that confidential information cannot be passed onto others without the individual’s consent, or the parents or guardians consent with regard to children. Individuals also have the right to access personal data held on file about themselves, or in the case of children, the parent or guardian could exercise this right. There are eight principles of practice that govern the use of personal information. Information must be:
* processed fairly and lawfully * used only for the purpose for which it was gathered * adequate, relevant and not excessive * accurate and kept up to date where necessary * kept for no longer than necessary * processed in line with the individual’s rights * kept secure * not transferred outside the European Union without adequate protection. Every Child Matters (England 2003) and the subsequent Children Act 2004 This Green Paper was delivered after the tragic case of Victoria Climbie, where it was revealed there was no communication between health and social workers.
The Paper stresses the importance of more integrated services and sharing information between professionals. The Children Act 2004 is the Act of Parliament that transposed the Green Paper into law. Freedom of Information Act 2000 The purpose of this Act is to promote transparency and accountability in the public sector. Any person may request information, in writing, held by a school. Schools have a duty to provide advice and assistance to anyone requesting information; however, schools have an over-riding duty to protect confidential personal information relating to pupils and staff.
Types of Information held by Schools: There are three main types of information that a school may keep on record, with regard to its staff and pupils. These are personal data, sensitive personal data and other information. Below are examples of these, although the lists are not exhaustive. Personal Data: * Name * Address * Date of Birth * In Case of Emergency information, including contact names, addresses and telephone numbers * GP’s name, address and telephone number * Special dietary requirements * Allergy information Sensitive Personal Data: * Ethnic group * Sexual orientation.
* Political views * Criminal background * Member of a Trade Union * Medical history * Special education needs Other Information: * Anti-social incidents * Attendance * Child protection (if applicable) * Exam and/or assessment results Why do schools hold this information? * To support the child’s teaching and learning * To monitor and report on progress * To ensure that children get all the help and support they need at school. The Importance of Reassuring Confidentiality: Schools are placed in a position of trust, and as such, should have a clear and explicit confidentiality policy.
All parents and guardians should be made aware of the school’s confidentiality policy and be assured that there is an agreed system within the school regarding the sharing of information about a child and that permission will be sort, should there be a need to breach the system in place. There may be cases where information on pupils needs to be accessible to all staff, for example; specific medical conditions such as asthma or epilepsy. It is also important to reassure children and young people that they are able to talk to an adult in confidence, except where there are issues concerning a child at risk from harm or abuse.
When Confidentiality Protocols Must Be Broken: If there are any reasons that indicate a child or young person is at risk from harm or abuse, either from themselves or others, and they have confided in you; you should inform them that you will not be able to keep their confidentiality. Confidentiality protocols will also be breached if there are issues involving an illegal activity or a medical emergency. On occasions a school is required to pass information, regarding staff or pupils, onto government authorities. These include: * Department of Education * Department of Health.
* Department of Work and Pensions * The Local Authority * Primary Care Trusts * Ofsted All of these agencies are data controllers; any information they receive must only be used for the requested, specific purpose and allowed by law. Confidentiality Policy: (Reproduced (in part) with the kind permission of Perton Sandown First School) Definition of Confidentiality: The School understands confidentiality to mean that no information regarding a child, a parent or guardian, a member of staff or a volunteer helper shall be given directly or indirectly to any third party external to the School without permission.
(For exemptions see Child Protection Policy). Confidentiality Policy: The School’s work with children and families sometimes brings us into contact with confidential information. To ensure that those using and working in the School can do so with confidence, we will respect confidentiality in the following ways: * Parents or guardians will have ready access to the files and records of their own children but will not have access to information about any other child.
* Staff will not discuss individual children, other than for the purpose of curriculum planning or group management, with people other than parents or guardians of the child and relevant professionals. * Confidential information given by parents or guardians to the School will not be passed on to other adults without permission. * Any anxieties or evidence relating to a child’s personal safety will be kept in a confidential file. * Students on recognised courses observing in, or working at, the School will be advised of our confidentiality policy and will be required to respect it.
* Issues to do with the employment of staff, whether paid or unpaid, will remain confidential to the people directly involved with making personnel decisions. * All procedures and record keeping will comply with current Data Protection Legislation. Undertaking: The School will ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of the need to maintain the confidentiality of information relating to the personal details of children, staff or volunteers. UNDERSTANDING LEGISLATION, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR CONFIDENTIALITY AND THE SHARING OF INFORMATION RACHEL BAILEY. UNIT 1 (3. 1, 3. 2 & 3. 3).