At Royal Oak Counselling your privacy is very important and you can be confident that your personal information will be kept safe and secure and will only be used for the purpose it was given. Royal Oak Counselling adheres to current data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (EU/2016/679) (the GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
What data is collected and how your information is used?
Records of your personal details are kept to help you receive the best service possible and for the counselling service to run smoothly. Your personal data will not be used for any purposes other than the administration of the counselling service that is being provided to you i.e. to arrange, cancel and rearrange appointments. Royal Oak Counselling will only retain your personal information for as long as is necessary. This is in line with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Data security: How your data is stored and for how long
Royal Oak Counselling takes the security of the data held about you very seriously and as such make every effort to make sure it is kept secure. In order to safely secure your data all electronic documentation is stored on a password protected encrypted device and all paper copies are stored in a locked filing cabinet. In order to further secure your data, your records are stored using client ID numbers so that they are not identifiable. At the end of our counselling agreement all session notes will be archived electronically on a password protected drive for a period of 5 years.
Consultation stage: When you contact Royal Oak Counselling with an enquiry about accessing counselling, some of your personal information will be collected at this stage. This information is collected to help satisfy your enquiry to access counselling. The information collected at this stage will include your name, address, contact number, your email address and your availability to access counselling sessions. In order to complete your consultation accurately, details about your therapeutic issues / reasons for wanting therapy, brief medical history will also be collected. If you decide not to proceed at this stage your personal data is deleted immediately.
While you are accessing counselling: Written notes are recorded for each session and they are kept securely in a locked filing cabinet. All session notes are kept anonymous using a client ID to ensure the notes are not identifiable to the client.
Once counselling has ended: At the end of our counselling agreement all session notes will be archived electronically on an encrypted password protected drive for a period of 5 years.
Data Sharing and Confidentiality: The content of your sessions is confidential to you the client and to the counsellor, although at times your counsellor will need to discuss your sessions with a clinical supervisor as part of your counsellor’s professional standards regulations as well as to monitor and develop good practice. Clinical supervision will take place under strict confidential and professional frameworks. The supervisor is also committed to contracted confidentiality and ethical frameworks and your identity is kept always kept anonymous for this purpose.
Exceptions to Confidentiality: There are certain limits to confidentiality, whereby counsellors must pass on any information to the relevant authorities in cases where human safety is concerned, including the following cases:
If you threaten harm to yourself or to another person
If I believe a child or protected adult is at risk of harm or abuse
If the courts instruct me to give information
If you share information about a proposed act of terrorism or other illegal act
If I feel that either you or someone else is in danger or at risk of harm I would first endeavour to discuss with you my decision for breaking confidentiality. Depending on the circumstances this may be your General Practitioner (GP), the individual in danger, a Social Worker and/or the Police.
You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that Royal Oak Counselling holds about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You have a right to request to delete your personal information, to limit how your personal information is used, or to stop processing your personal information. You also have a right to ask for a copy of any information that is held about you and to object to the use of your personal data in some circumstances. You can read more about your rights at ico.org.uk/your-data-matters.
To make a request for any personal information held about you, please put the request in writing addressing it to Info@royaloakcounselling.co.uk.
If you have any complaints about how Royal Oak Counselling handles your personal data, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing Info@royaloakcounselling.co.uk to address your complaint. If you want to make a formal complaint about the way your personal information has been processed you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. Helpline number: 0303 123 1113.ICO website: https://www.ico.org.uk. For more information go to ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint.