1) Confidentiality means that whatever information you hold on someone must not be shared with others. Information must be kept safe and private. You can only pass on information about someone if they have given their consent.
2) The Data Protection Act 1998 & 2003 is mandatory and has eight principles. These principles dictate how information is to be handled. Information should only be used for the use it was intended, it must not be given to anyone else without consent from the person the information belongs to unless there is a legitimate reason for the sharing of information – like the prevention of a crime or abuse. Everyone has the right to read any information that is held about them unless it is to do with a crime for example. Any personal information held can only be kept for as long as that information is needed and must be kept up to date, this information cannot be used outside the EU unless the person whose information it is has given consent. Large organisations that process personal information have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Any company holding personal information about someone must make sure it is secure and cannot be used by anyone else. Anyone who thinks that a factual piece of information is incorrect can have it corrected.
3) Some of the information to be kept confidential includes: full name, date of birth, home address, information about the family, medical information, contracts, letters/emails from carers, observations and photos.
4) Three areas that demand confidentiality are Personal, Medical and Financial records.
5) At times confidentiality may have to be breached; this may be to do with concerns about a child’s welfare, if a child is abusing someone or if they have committed a crime. It would be necessary to breach confidentiality in order to safeguard a child if the child was being abused; the duty of care for a child is of the upmost importance. Any information should be passed quickly and confidentially to the appropriate professionals like the local CAF officer or Social Services.
6) Possible tensions can occur between the childminder and the parents/carers if there is a need to breach confidentiality. Breaching a confidence can be very stressful and could harm the relationship between childminder and parent/carer, it is difficult not to respect someone’s right to privacy but to safeguard the child you will have to overcome these issues and do what is right for the child. If abuse is suspected in a child it should be reported straight away. It will be difficult to talk to the parents/carers about this but they will already know about your Safeguarding Policy so should know the procedures you need to put into place. It is very important to get the right information to the right person and to do this we may have to disclose information about a child or family or about something a child has told us.
If a child does tell you that they are being abused it is very important that you do not promise to keep what they have told you a secret, if you did have to tell someone else and you had promised the child you would keep it a secret it would destroy any trust the child had in you. If a child does ask you to keep things a secret (maybe their abuser has told them that what is happening to them is a secret) and they are old enough you could carefully explain why you can’t keep it a secret. Things may become very difficult once the abuser has been told about the alleged abuse and the parent/carer may decide to remove the child from your setting. A child could become very distressed over what is happening and lose all faith and trust in you as a childminder. It is very important that the child, parents/carers and the childminder get help and support during this very distressing time.
If a child has been accused of committing a crime tensions can run high between the parent/carer, the childminder and third party if one is involved. Accusing a child of committing a crime can lead to the breakdown of communication between parent/carer and the childminder. A child’s trust may be broken if that child has been accused of committing a crime, parents/carers could even start accusing the childminder of things too!
Whether you are breaching confidentiality because of abuse, crime or any other reasons you will have to be prepared to overcome the tensions and accusations from parents/carers, it is a very difficult thing to go through but at the end of the day the child’s welfare comes first.
7) If you store personal information you must register with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
8) The principles of good practice that personal data must comply with are: “Personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully
Processing personal data for specified purposes
The amount of personal data you may hold
Keeping personal data accurate and up to date
Retaining personal data
The rights of individuals
Sending personal data outside the European Economic Area”
9) You should always record confidential information accurately and you must ensure that you store all confidential information securely.
10) Below is a copy of my Confidentiality Policy and Procedures.
I respect the confidentiality of my parents and children. All information about the children, parents or people working with me is kept securely and treated with confidence. Information will only be shared if permission is given or there is a child protection issue. All details will be kept confidential and records kept secure but easily accessible for inspection by Ofsted.
•All parents have access to my policies and procedures which detail how I run my setting and will have signed a copy which is kept securely. •My certificate of registration is displayed on the wall. •I am aware of my responsibilities under the Date Protection Act 1988 & 2003. •I maintain a record of parents emergency contact details, details of child’s GP and appropriately signed permissions form. •If a child is identified as a child in need (section 17 of the Children Act 1989) I will, with parent’s permission, give appropriate information to referring agencies. •I expect parents to inform me of any changes in the child’s home circumstances, care arrangements or any other change which may affect the child’s behaviour such as a new baby, divorce, bereavement etc. •All information shared will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed without the parents’ consent, except as required by law, for example, if there appears to be a child protection issue. •Ofsted may require to my see records at any time.
•Parents have the right to inspect all records about their child at any time. •All accidents are recorded in an accident book. All accidents which clearly might result in an insurance claim, e.g. an accident involving a doctor or hospital visit, must be notified immediately to Morton Michel. Morton Michel will log and acknowledge receipt of the correspondence and forward the information to the company providing my public liability policy to enable a claim number to be allocated. •Morton Michel public liability insurance has the total life of 21 years to enable a child to make a claim against the policy at a later date. •All significant incidents are recorded in an incident book and will be shared and discussed with parents so that together we can work to resolve any issues. •If I keep records relating to individual children on my computer I will ask for the parent’s permission. The information will be securely stored to prevent viewing of the information by others with access to the computer.
ICO Principles 1-8
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/data_protection/the_guide/principle_1.aspx, Date accessed 11/07/12
Tassoni P, 2010 Children & Young People’s Workforce Early Learning & Childcare Heinemann
Wikipedia Data Protection Act 1998