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Explain the importance of confidentiality and data protection

The participating agencies agree to operate a confidentiality policy19 along the lines set out below. Introduction The issue of confidentiality arises in any discussion concerning interagency cooperation.

Confidentiality

It is generally accepted that all information shared must be evidenced and factual, and disseminated on a need-to-know basis. It should also be noted that while it is effective as a means of protecting service users, rigid adherence to narrowly defined confidentiality can also hinder inter-agency work if there is: No common understanding of what is meant by confidentiality and its limitations. No common practical tools for its application. The confidentiality form is set out in Appendix B and is also located in the Holistic Needs Assessment for homeless services using this assessment.

Limits of Confidentiality Confidentially can never be absolute and absolute confidentiality should never be promised. Even counsellors discuss service user issues with a super-visor in order to reflect on their own practice and resolve difficulties. Limits must be set — for example in order to protect workers from holding information that may require immediate action in the interest of public or individual safety. In order to promote a trusting and professional relationship with service users, and in order to enable them to discuss and examine their activities in a safe and non-judgmental environment, the level of confi-dentiality must be assured and clear.

Service users will be advised at the outset of any contact with a participating agency; they will also be advised that confidentiality can will be broken in any of the following five circumstances: The organisations suicide policy is to be adhered to.

If this is not possible, the service user should be accompanied to a hospital accident and emergency department, or an ambulance should be called immediately.

If possible, the service user should not be left alone on the premises at any time. The service user has the right to leave and should not be physically prevented from doing so. See the Mental Health chapter for further information on this issue. The gardai will also be notified. A record must be kept of what action was taken, who was informed, what was said, and by whom.

Where possible, a second staff member should be present as a witness. The agency should then follow the Children First national Guidelines in relation to reporting suspicion of abuse. The agency should then follow the Children First national Guidelines.

A law court, by way of a judicial subpoena, can demand that a staff member appear in court to give evidence in relation to their contact with a service user. In this instance it is illegal for any individual to withhold information from garda investigations. Withholding information is an offence under the Criminal law Act 1997, section 7 explain the importance of confidentiality and data protection.

If possible, the staff member should inform the service user of this prior to any disclosure being made.

Case Management Guidebook

If a disclosure is made on this issue, it should immedi-ately be discussed with service management. Service user access to files Service users will be informed that they have the right to see any information relating to them that is held on file by participating agencies. A staff member can assist the service user with the written request process, if required. Files will be available for inspection only in the presence of a member of staff i.

The service user has the right to take copies of relevant documents.

  1. If a worker breaks client confidentiality they are seen to have breached If something is breached it has been violated or broken the policies of the organisation and, as a result, he or she may be dismissed from their position—that is, sacked!
  2. There is, however, no such thing as absolute confidentiality in the community services industry.
  3. Ask that all staff receive training in confidentiality, why it is important and how to maintain it.
  4. Becoming aware that a fellow staff member is breaking confidentiality can create a dilemma for a worker. Basically, information cannot be disclosed, without the consent of the person to whom the information relates or for the purpose of legal proceedings, such as a court order or subpoena that allows access to health information on a client.
  5. Julian needs to go to hospital to have a small operation on his hand, which was injured in a gardening accident. Always remember that clients have the right to see files and read anything that has been written about them.

Service user notes and files All notes relating to contact between workers and service users will be held in a locked filing cabinet kept exclusively for this purpose. Computer files will be password protected.

Further guidance on confidentiality is provided in Appendix C. Sharing information within agencies. Sharing information with external agencies. Sharing information by email.

Working with those under 18 years. Freedom of Information Act.

  • If you are going to be discussing a client and their situation in supervision, in a training session or at a workshop, you can always change the name and any information that may identify the client;
  • Sharing information by email;
  • If possible, the staff member should inform the service user of this prior to any disclosure being made.

Workers performing both case management and counselling roles.