• Confidentiality and data protection are vital when running a home based childcare service. Write an explanation of the importance of both.
The definition of ‘confidential’ is;
1. Done or communicated in confidence; secret.
2. Entrusted with the confidence of another: a confidential secretary. 3. Denoting confidence or intimacy: a confidential tone of voice. 4. Containing information, the unauthorised disclosure of which poses a threat to national security.
Tassoni.P states that confidentiality is;
‘Not sharing with other people or passing on personal information about the families you are working with , except when it is in the child’s best interest to do so.’ (Tassoni.P, 2010).
As a childminder you will have access to information about the children in your care and perhaps members of their family which will be considered to be confidential. This means that there are only certain people who need to know this information and nobody else should have access to it. Those people are the parents of the child, myself as a childminder, in some cases the child themselves will be aware also. From time to time I will have to work with regulatory bodies and people from social services or the police. In these instances it will be my responsibility to share this information and help them as I can, always with the best interest of the child in mind.
Tassoni.P believes that
‘All early years practitioners working with children have to be aware of child abuse and consider their own role in protecting children’ (Tassoni.P et al, 2005)
As a childminder it will be my responsibility to make sure that any confidential information about any children in my care is locked away in a safe place and that I am the only person who has access to the key.
I will need to be aware of the following;
• The Law
• Signs and symptoms
• How to respond to a child when he/she discloses abuse.
• Standard reporting procedures.
• Intimate care of children in my care.
• The role of the Childminder.
• Keeping secrets.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is essentially an Act that details the rights of a child.
There are many laws that detail the responsibility of those people working with children. These laws are in place to protect the childminder, the parents and first and foremost the child in question.
The Data Protection Act 1998 details that ‘sensitive information’ is any information referring to the following;
(a) the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject,
(b) his political opinions,
(c) his religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, (d) whether he is a member of a trade union (within the meaning of the M1Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992),
(e) his physical or mental health or condition,
(f) his sexual life,
(g) the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or (h) any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings. (Data Protection Act 1998).
The 1998 Data Protection Act was passed by Parliament to control the way information is handled and to give legal rights to people who have information stored about them.
The Data Protection Act was developed to give protection and lay down rules about how data about people can be used. The 1998 Act covers information or data stored on a computer or an organised paper filing system about living people. The basic way it works is by:
1. setting up rules that people have to follow
2. having an Information Commissioner to enforce the rules It does not stop companies storing information about people. It just makes them follow rules.
If any person was to share confidential information with people who did not need to hear it then they are, in fact, breaking the law.
Data Protection Act 1998
Tassoni.P et al, 2005, NVQ Level 3 Children’s Care, Learning and Development, Heinemann Educational Publishers.
Tassoni.P et al, 2010, Level 3 Diploma Children and Young People’s Workforce Candidate Handbook, Heinemann.