We collect and process your personal data to be able to provide you with counselling and therapeutic support.
YOU is open about how we collect and use your data. We meet data protection obligations under the law.
We keep personal data up to date, store and destroy it securely, not retain excessive amounts of data, protect personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect your data.
What information do we ask you for?
The information we record about you includes:
- Your name and current address
- Personal contact details including phone and email
- Date of Birth
- Gender identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Carer Status
- Access Requirements
- Reason for counselling referral (presenting issue/s)
- Doctor’s name and contact details
- Medical records (including any mental health diagnosis)
- Child/Adult Mental Health Involvement
- Current/Historical and relevant Substance Misuse
- Additional vulnerabilities
- Self-harm, exploitation/abuse from others
- Session Availability
- Brief notes from your counselling sessions
Your special data
Information we ask you about yourself that is sensitive such as ethnic origin, health and sexual orientation is called special data. We only ask you for this information when we need to so that we can provide you with a service which is relevant, safe for you and our staff and of benefit to you.
How do we collect your personal data?
YOU collect this information in a variety of ways. For example, data is collected through:
- assessments we undertake with you
- from correspondence with you
- through interviews and meetings
- through telephone calls
- through your sessions with the counsellor
We may also collect information from other referring agencies as part of the referral, assessment and review processes such as:
- Local Council teams
- Mental Health
- Social Care
- Victim Support Services
- Other Voluntary Sectors agencies
- Via assessment discussions with yourself and other related agencies that you identify
Where do we store your data?
Data is stored in different places including: –
- Within your personal file which is stored securely on our premises
- In YOU’s management information system and
- In other IT systems such as YOU’s e-mail system stored on our secure servers
Why and how do we use your personal data?
We process your personal data including special categories of data in order to be able to provide you with a service. Your personal data is only ever used with you to enable the team to support you in order to:
- Complete assessment forms and processes
- Respond to enquiries and provide information about the service
- Identify and assess psychological functioning to see if counselling is appropriate
- Support safe working
- In agreement with you, or to support you to provide information to other agreed voluntary or statutory organisations in order to increase psychological and emotional well being
- To work with and coordinate with other agencies to support you appropriately and safely.
- So external regulators, inspectors and funders can check and audit our services to ensure they meet contractual and legal standards.
- Inform people of news, events, services or disruption to services
- Research and report on demographics and trends of people who use our services
- So we can review and audit your service to ensure it continues to meet your
What is our legal basis for processing your personal data?
We always make sure there is a legal basis for doing this, which could include situations where we have to use or share your information:
1. To carry out our aims and goals as an organisation, called ‘legitimate interests’
YOU have a legitimate interest in processing your personal data including sensitive data before, during and after the end of our period of supporting you.
We have carried out a legitimate interest’s assessment and where necessary a data privacy impact assessment which is available for you to view by asking the Manager of the service.
Processing your data allows us to deal with a referral for us to assist you and maintain up to date records about the care and support we provide. This is essential for us to be able to provide you with a service.
Your data is kept confidentially and is only accessed by those who work in the service and their line managers who quality control to ensure you receive a safe and excellent service.
We may also have to use your data to respond to and defend against legal claims.
We also collate personal data and anonymise it, so it is not intrusive on your privacy, with no personal identifiers and present this in reports to Commissioners, Council, Counselling and Well Being Strategic groups, for National Accreditation with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and other identified grant funders. We present this information to show that we are meeting the terms of our contracts. We also use the information to understand what we do well, what needs to improve and what the gaps exist in local service provision.
There are wider public benefits as it leads to information and intelligence about health and well-being and helps to inform public policy. If the data was not processed then there would be a lesser evidence base for service delivery, improvement and public policy making
YOU is always happy to explain exactly how we use this data and the reports we make and you can view them if you wish.
YOU have assessed whether these interests are overridden by the rights and freedoms of those who use the service and have concluded that they are not.
2. To protect your life, called Vital Interest
YOU will only process specific data where it is necessary to protect your vital interest Processing your data enables us to effectively work with you in an emergency situation where the data we hold may be used for medical purposes, when you are not able to give consent. For Example, if you are unconscious we would be able to tell the emergency services about your condition or what medication you are currently taking.
3. Special data, children’s data and criminal convictions
We process your special data, children’s data, and criminal convictions (if held) in the substantial public interest as it is necessary for the provision of the support provided for this and to meet our safeguarding duties under the law.
Who is your data shared with?
Your data will be treated as confidential and will only be shared internally including with staff and volunteers who work within the service and their manager, their line managers in the charity, the finance and central administration department and the IT staff who need access to data in order to perform their roles. Counsellors receive clinical supervision and only utilise anonymised information that enables the supervisor and the counsellor to gain understanding to support the counsellors’ practice.
Occasionally your information could be shared with our Human Resources team if this relates to a matter pertaining to a member of staff or volunteer who is working with you.
YOU may work in partnership with other organisations and/or external sessional and private counsellors to deliver counselling. If this is the case we will share your personal details / referral with them so they are able to provide you with counselling. We ensure these organisations / counsellors are aware of their data protection responsibilities under GDPR Regulations.
YOU share your data with some third parties that process data on our behalf to be able to provide you with a service. This includes software providers with whom we contract for case management, rota management and lone working systems for staff safety. These organisations are under a duty of confidentiality and must implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of data.
Sometimes we need to share your personal information, special data and criminal convictions as part of our work with you and on your behalf. Where this happens, we will ask for your express consent to share this information and will only share it with those named individuals for as long as we provide you with a service. This will be through a “Permission to Share” form. There are occasions when we have to share information with a third party without your permission, such as the police, safeguarding or housing benefit where the law requires us to do so.
We share information in writing, e mail, or verbally and where possible we would use secure e mail to communicate with anyone outside of YOU.
YOU do not transfer your data to countries outside of the European Economic Area.
How does YOU protect your data?
We take the security of your data seriously. We have internal policies and controls in place to try to ensure that your data is not lost, accidentally destroyed, misused or disclosed and is not accessed except by its employees and volunteers in the performance of their duties. YOU has a Data Protection Policy, Archiving Policy and all staff and volunteers undertake Information Governance Training. You may request a copy of our Data Protection Policy by writing by calling YOU on 01329 825930.
How long does YOU keep data?
We will hold your data for no longer than is necessary and for as long as we continue to work with you. Once we stop working with you, we will hold your records in secure archives for 7 years to meet our contract and insurance purposes, legal claims or for safeguarding purposes and then securely destroy it.
You have a number of rights as a data subject. You can:
- Contact us to obtain information we hold about
- Require us to change incorrect or incomplete data
- Object to the processing of your data where we rely on legitimate interest as the legal ground for processing
- Ask us to stop processing your data for a period if the data is inaccurate or there is a dispute about whether or not your interests override YOU’s legitimate grounds for processing
If you would like to exercise any of these rights, you can either ask your Worker, who will contact the Data Protection Team on your behalf or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you believe that the organisation has not complied with your data protection rights you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF