The following statement will be discussed at our assessment session and a consent form will be signed to show your agreement to the way your information is kept, how it is processed, how long it is kept for and for what purposes.
In order for me to be able to fulfil my responsibilities as a Counsellor I will need to record personal information about you. This information includes your name, address, phone number, email address, contact person with phone number and GP Practice. I will also take assessment information which will include relevant medical information and aspects of your education, personal and family history that you choose to share with me. This information is retained in a locked filing cabinet. Your contact details will be used to contact you. Other personal information such as your name, address and date of birth may be used to verify your identity if there is a need to contact your GP or a request for access to personal data from yourself, or your representative or legitimate legal instrument such as a court order.
This personal information will be held for a period of 7 years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer. If I am working with a child, under the age of 18, the information will be held until they are 25 years of age. If the work continues beyond the age of 18 the information is held for 7 years, which may go beyond their 25th birthday.
In the event of my incapacitation or death your contact details will be available to my Supervisor who will use them to advise you of the situation.
I record notes of the therapy session using a reference number. These are brief, factual notes of the session. These will include a record of any cancelled session. The notes are held in a locked filing cabinet and kept separate from your contact details.
These notes may be shared with my Supervisor or counselling professional body but only your first name is used to protect your identity. This is for the purpose of maintaining professional standards and aiding my professional development.
In exceptional circumstances, I may need to contact my insurance company and provide client information. Consequently, full client information and details may need to be provided if the situation warrants it, for example if there is a possibility of a claim or a complaint. My Supervisor will then have access to this information as well.
These notes will be held for a period of 7 years after the cessation of our counselling relationship, except where there is a mutually agreed decision to retain it for longer. If I am working with a child, under the age of 18, the information will be held until they are 25 years of age. If the work continues beyond the age of 18 the information is held for 7 years, which may go beyond their 25th birthday.
I may make information from your notes available to legitimate third parties under the following conditions:
- Receipt of a request from you or your representative, and where the release of the notes is not judged by me to as likely to cause you significant harm or harm to another person
- Where there is a legal requirement to do so. For example if I am given a court order to supply information
- If a disclosure is made by you with regard to knowledge of, or participation in, acts of terrorism, drug money laundering or failure to report a road traffic accident
- Where there is an ethical duty for me to do so, for example to avoid serious harm to yourself or another person, including the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults.
Records of contact between us
I will hold your name and contact details on my phone until our counselling relationship ends and will delete it from my contact list after one year. However, the phone will retain summary records of calls/texts made to or from your number and any recorded messages for the period of its data storage life.
If we agree to communicate by text or email, these records may be kept for the same duration as your counselling notes. My mobile phone is a smart phone and may therefore have your texts, emails and email address on it. The phone is password protected. Emails are stored in ‘the cloud’ so they can be restored if the phone is lost or stolen. If the phone is lost or stolen the information held on you will be restored via the back- up system of ‘the cloud’.
Your name, contact details and email address may also be used for invoicing purposes.
You have the right to see any information about you. Please ask me directly or submit a request in writing. You also have the right to ask for information that you believe to be incorrect to be rectified. I will endeavour to provide you with the information within 4 weeks of the request.
If I become aware of a situation where your information may have accidentally or maliciously been obtained by a third party, I will notify you within three days.
If you are concerned about the way that your information is being stored please discuss it with me.
If you are still unhappy you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office where I am registered.