Safeline as an organisation works hard to comply with the ‘General Data Protection Regulation’. We also adhere to the following documents:
- Safeline Confidentiality Policy
- Safeline Data Protection Policy
- BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions
- BACP Ethical Guidelines for Researching Counselling and Psychotherapy
All information we collect, whether paper or electronic records is private and confidential and the process of collecting, storing and retrieving your information must be secure.
What information does Safeline collect and why?
Safeline collects and processes a range of personal and sensitive information about you to correctly assess your needs, provide you with the best available support and report anonymously to its funders. Data may be collected in a variety of ways including by phone, e-mail, text or in person, through assessment forms, referral forms and notes and depending upon which service you access may include;
- your name, address and contact details, including email address and telephone number, date of birth and gender;
- information about your marital status, next of kin, nationality, dependents and emergency contacts;
- Information about your current and past problems and what you would like to gain from services
- information about your medication, health, medical conditions and disabilities
Whenever you have contact with your therapist or helpline and online advisor, they will make brief notes on the general themes of your conversations.
In some cases, Safeline may collect personal data about you from third parties, such as your GP or agencies referring you to its services.
How is my data stored?
Safeline takes the security of your data very seriously and has internal controls in place to ensure your data is protected. Only authorised personnel in the performance of their duties will have access to your data. Your data will be stored in a range of different places, including in your anonymised client file, email and in IT systems. It is kept securely for no more than 7 years from the end of services at which point data will be confidentially destroyed. We will only share information about you if the law requires us to or if there are serious safeguarding concerns about yours or someone else’s safety or if you give us your consent. Confidentiality will be explained to you at your first meeting with a Safeline member of staff.
When can we share your information?
Sometimes we will need to share information to people outside of Safeline who are involved in your care. This would include people like your GP or agencies and organisations within your care plan that are there to help you safeguard your health and wellbeing.
We will discuss sharing this information with you and seek your permission first. You will be informed of the type of information shared in this way and the reasons for it.
However, there may be rare occasions when we might have to break confidentiality without your permission in the interest of safety such as:
- there is a serious and immediate risk of harm to you or others (e.g. a child or an adult at risk); or
- information is required to be used in court and a court order has been issued by a judge
We always aim to discuss any breach of confidentiality with you when we need to share information, however we cannot guarantee this. It is important to us that we make this transparent as possible.
You may request to see the data held about you, request to change incorrect or incomplete data and withdraw your consent to our capturing and storing this data at any time.
If you would like to exercise these rights, or if you wish to see a copy of our Data Protection policy, you should contact the Safeline office. If you believe that Safeline has not complied with your data protection rights, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.