It is important that the information we collect and hold about you is kept safe and is handled in accordance within strict guidelines. There are rules about how your information should be kept and how it is stored. You can find these rules in the General Data Protection Act 2018. It makes sure that anyone collecting information from you is honest and clear about why they want it and what they will do with it. It also gives you control of your information.
What personal information is collected?
This section informs you of what information we collect about you and why. Personal data means any information about an individual from which that individual can be identified.
• Identity Data includes first name, surname, date of birth and gender.
• Contact Data includes home address, post code, email, and phone number.
• Financial Data includes bank account details and payment card details.
• Heath Data includes information about your physical and mental health, disability status, additional educational needs, GP surgery and other health information.
• Special Category Data includes your race or ethnicity and religious beliefs.
How is your personal information collected?
We collect personal information about you if you fill out the online contact form on the website, correspond with us by telephone or email and when filling out the therapeutic contract.
We will keep a records whilst you are in counselling. These are factual details about the counselling sessions, therapeutic contracts and details of progress towards goals. If you use creative materials in counselling, the counsellor may also take photographs of these after the sessions to keep with your notes.
If you are a parent or a guardian of a client who is under 18 years old, we will keep a record about your child. The counsellor may also take pictures of any creative work completed – without the child being photographed.
The counsellor may choose to record all sessions, which is stated in the contract. Please note, that when working with young people, recording sessions is also part of our child protection policy. The client can, at any time, ask for the recording to be stopped.
Counsellors reserve the right to use written and/or recorded material to defend themselves in the event of an allegation or complaint.
Under exceptional circumstances, certain authorities can request legal access to records.
Why we collect this information?
We collect the information for the following reasons:
• To help us improve the way we are working with you
• To make sure we are helping you the best way we can
• To help support you further if things get worse
• To be able to contact you, or those who care for you, in case of an emergency
What is our legal basis for processing your information?
We must have a legal basis for processing your personal data. We consider that we have a legal basis where:
- You have given us your explicit consent to do so for the specific purposes which we have outlined – for example, we will need your consent to process any heath information you provide to us, such as information relating to your mental heath
• It is necessary for us to do so to enable us to provide you with the services that you have requested from us – for example contacting you about your appointment
• It is necessary in order to fulfil out legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests
• These is an overriding public interest in using the information – for example, to safeguard an individual or to prevent a serious crime
• The processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise of defence of legal rights or the law otherwise permits or requires it
Who else might we share your personal data with?
If you are a child under the age of 13, we may share your personal data with you, and where appropriate, your family. We will only ever share your personal data with your family (or anyone else) when we have discussed this in advance with you and believe it is in your best interest.
If there is ever any reason for us to have cause for concern about your health and safety, we may share your data with relevant health care professionals or with the police. We may also share your data with these bodies if we are requested to do so.
We will only ever share your personal data in compliance with the applicable data protection laws.
We will not share your personal data without your consent unless required to do so by law.
How long do we keep your information for?
We keep your information for 7 years after the final counselling session.
How do we keep your information safe?
All information about you is held electronically on secure encrypted drive, on a password protected computer. Email is secure via Microsoft Office with encryption and password only access. Paper-based information is kept in a locked cabinet. Any other information we send to third parties will be password protected.
Data protection legislation gives you the right to:
• access the information which is being held about you. Please give 4 weeks’ notice.
• update any of your personal information if it is inaccurate or out of date
• request that we stop collecting further personal information about you
• request that we erase the personal information we hold about you – If we are providing services to you and you ask us to delete personal data, we hold about you, then we may be unable to continue providing those services to you
• request that we send over your personal information securely over to another organisation
• contact us to make a complaint if you think we are not respecting your rights
If you want to access your information or you are unhappy with how your personal information has been handled, you can contact Nicola@takeamomentcounselling.co.uk