Information Advice and Support (IAS) Team confidentiality policy

Background

The handling of information that parent carers, a child or young person provide to the IAS Team complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and is not shared with anyone outside of the IAS Team unless:

  • Permission has been given; or
  • There are strong public interest concerns such as child protection

Introduction

  • The Information, Advice and Support Team is a statutory service that offers information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities alongside or separate to their parent carers and parent carers individually (including all those with parental responsibility).
  • All service users are encouraged to share any information that will enable the IAS Team to respond effectively to their needs. This may range from basic data to quite detailed information about their situation.
  • Some service users want to share experiences, both positive and negative, or to discuss issues that are of concern to them. Others want to talk about their feelings, anxieties, fears or grievances. In the course of IAS work, we may be privy to information that is sensitive and personal.
  • The relationship between a service user and the IAS Team is one of trust. Unless the information given suggests that a child may be at risk of harm, conversations between a service user and the IAS Team should remain confidential, if this is their wish.
  • Where there are issues that need to be brought to the attention of the relevant body within the county council we will do so in a way that protects the service user's anonymity, unless they have given us permission to identify them.

Data collection and record keeping

  • When a referral is generated any further information gathered by the IAS officers will remain within the confines of the service and will remain confidential to the service unless the service user gives permission for it to be shared with others outside the service.
  • Case notes of discussions between service employees and service users are kept. These include concerns or issues raised and the action taken. In the event of case notes being requested by service users under the Freedom of Information Act, the Manager of the IAS Team will send the requested notes directly to them.
  • Case files are kept electronically in a password protected computer network
  • Only with service user's permission will officers work with SEND officers and other professionals. Although it is recognized the cooperation and co-production often result in a more positive experience.
  • Only with service users permission will the IAS Team request access to information held by SEND, or pass on information to SEND.
  • The IAS Team strictly adheres to Lancashire County Council’s computer security policy. Access to the council's database is covered by the Data Protection Act and the council's policy on data protection.
  • Information may be used to generate statistics about service performance. Information will not be used in such a way that individual parent carers, children or families can be identified.
  • If we receive a request for information from local authority officers for legal reasons, for example judicial review, this will be considered by the head of service or the line manager. They may, with the permission of the child, young person or parent carer, direct that the relevant information be extracted from the file and sent to the relevant officer, with a copy to the parent carers.
  • IAS Team records will be kept in accordance with the council's main corporate retention and disposal policy. The only exception to confidentiality is in regard to information, which leads us to believe a child or person is at risk. We have a legal obligation to pass on concerns regarding child protection and any safeguarding concern.

This policy will be reviewed annually and amended if necessary.

 


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