Counselling and group work for depression, stress and anxiety in Sussex

Employees, volunteers, and board members of As You Are are bound by ethical and legal codes to protect the confidentiality and privacy of our clients and to protect and maintain the confidentiality of all information learned about clients, their family members and acquaintances in the course of providing services to them.

Confidential communications include conversations, reports, forms, correspondence, and computer generated communications with, about or involving in any way any client of As You Are.  Minors are entitled to confidentiality also, and only the guardian of the minor can waive the confidentiality.  Access to documentation shall be limited to an “as needed/need to know” basis.

Storage of Records

Client records are legally protected confidential records and must be treated as such.  This means that client records maintained by As You must be kept in a locked file at all times except when being reviewed or updated.  Client records will always be stored and update on the premises. Client notes will be kept for two years, following this they will be destroyed in accordance with data protection. Records will only be kept for longer than two years if deemed appropriate for reasons relating to risk or legal action.

It is unethical to discuss clients with family or friends, unless you are ordered to do so by a court or otherwise required by law.  If someone insists on obtaining information and the client has not authorized it, the Service manager and an organisation supervisor should be notified immediately.

Areas of Confidentiality

Confidential communications include conversations, correspondence, forms, reports and computer generated communications with, about, or involving in any way any clients.

If a complaint is made against the organisation or one of its staff or volunteers Trustee will be asked to state any conflict of interest. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially and using the BACP/COSRT code of conduct.

Client confidentiality will be broken only under certain conditions.

1. When the client is a threat to others. If you have any reason to suspect a child or vulnerable adult is being sexually, physically, or psychologically abused or neglected, then you are required to report the situation to As You Are Service Manager and supervisors. You have a duty to report current child abuse and neglect. The report may be made orally, by telephone, or in writing.  The report shall include information as is known to the person making it including the name and address of the person at risk.

2. There may be some situations where the Counsellor feels that confidentiality should be broken because of concerns for the client’s wellbeing. At this time As You Are will endeavour to offer the counsellor suitable support from their supervisor or service manager. As You Are aims to support client autonomy and wherever possible will encourage the Counsellor to inform the client of their concerns & encourage the clients to seek appropriate support. Information about the client’s GP, or other professional support will be on the initial assessment form.  All As You Are counsellors are expected to make clients aware of the confidentiality policy within the client contract at the first session and to work with the service manager and As You Are supervisor to determine if confidentiality should be broken, i.e. client is an adult who is currently vulnerable, refer to As You Are Protection Policy.

2. If client files are subpoenaed.

3. The terrorism Act (2000) requires that the counsellor disclose any belief of suspicion of acts of terrorism.

4.  The Drug Trafficking Act (1986) requires the counsellor to disclose to the police information of any individual making money through drug trafficking.

5. The Road Traffic Act (2000) requires the counsellor to provide information to the police that might identify a driver in a traffic offence. In addition, if a counsellor becomes aware that a client may be driving whilst unsafe (e.g. through epilepsy, medical condition, drug or alcohol abuse) the law requires the counsellor to pass this information to the DVLA.

6. Any other person who the client requests we should inform, for example a Solicitor or Doctor.

If the Counsellor believes there are grounds for taking action, it will be discussed with the client (if reasonably possible) before any action is taken.  The Service Manager, a Clinical Supervisor or other suitable person, will be consulted if at all possible before any action is taken.