Confidentiality is paramount when working with parents and children, and when dealing with sensitive issues. Confidentiality means not sharing information that is given to you without consent. Confidentiality is important because parents need to be able to trust us as practitioners to keep their information private. Confidentiality of any individuals who deal with the nursery is to be respected at all times, however if a child is believed to be at risk or has been harmed in any way then child protection procedures take precedence and confidentiality may have to broken.
Giving out information unless in the case of the above could have serious consequences. Not only would the trust between the individual and the setting is lost but also the individual responsible could face disciplinary action for breach of confidentiality.
Confidentiality applies to both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Written information should be stored in a locked cupboard. If any information were on a computer then the computer would need to be password protected and locked in a room at night.
Four pieces of information that would be classed as confidential are: -
Induction forms, which hold the personal information of the child and their family’s. Staff information
Medical reports on the children
Observations on individual children
All confidential information is held in a locked filing cabinet with every individual child or staff member having his or her own separate file.
Three areas that demand confidentiality are: -
Disclosures – all information given during a disclosure needs to be noted down and passed to the relevant person or persons who would need the information e.g. social workers etc. The noted information should be kept within the childs file in a locked cabinet. This information shouldn’t be discussed with other staff members or adults unless absolutely necessary.
Discussions with parents at pick up/drop off time – if parents need to discuss a matter with you or vice versa, a private area needs to be found where others cannot overhear what is being said. It can also be particularly embarrassing for parents if they think that others can overhear what is being said.
Access of sensitive data/information – all records whether they be on staff or children are kept in a locked filing cabinet. Access to children’s files is only for nursery staff with staff files only being accessed by the leader or manager. All staff sign a confidentiality policy and are aware of the procedures when accessing children’s files.
Anyone processing personal information must register with the Data Protection Commission, as stated in the Data Protection Act 1998. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. The main purpose of this notification is to “promote openness in the use of personal information” (ico.org.uk, notification self assessment guide). This is because the details given when registering are processed into a register, which is available to the public. However exemptions do apply dependent on each individual case and what they are doing with the information.
Personal data must comply with the eight principles of good practice as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. The principles are: -
1. Fair and lawful processing – this means that all data on people should be processed fairly. Information obtained has to be done so lawfully and without misleading anyone.
2. Processing for specified purposes – the information obtained should be for lawful purpose and shouldn’t be processed for any thing more than is specified.
3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive - the information should not be excessive of its intended [purpose.
4. Accurate and up to date - all information needs to be accurate and where it is necessary up to date.
5. Not kept for longer than is necessary – personal data must only be processed for the specified purpose and mustn’t be...
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