Confidentiality Policy


ECC recognizes the importance of confidentiality to staff, volunteers and carers using the service and is committed to providing a safe and confidential environment to the users of its services and its staff. ECC strives to keep in place and review systems which protect confidentiality.


  • The personal information of carers/clients should only be disclosed out with ECC when the individual has given consent. However, in exceptional circumstances e.g. threats of violence, actual violence, risk of harm to self or others and suspected and actual child abuse: this may not always be possible. Exceptions are discussed under exceptional circumstances. Refer to Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy / procedure for doing this
  • ECC recognizes that clients should be able to access services in confidence and no other person, external of the organizational staff team, should know that they have accessed the services.
  • ECC recognizes that at times, information may be directly or indirectly discussed during other internal forums outside of the individual or collective advocacy sessions (e.g. supervision, consultation with coordinator and referral to an internal service etc.). During such discussions, unless it is essential or relevant, care must be taken to ensure that individual’s personal identity is not revealed by name or any other way. All staff should ensure that discussions relating to a client do not occur out-side of these forums.
  • ECC recognizes that clients need to feel secure that they are accessing the services confidentially. ECC will ensure that one to one direct appointments take place in a confidential space.
  • ECC will not confirm a client’s use of the service without obtaining the clients consent.


Carers’ Records

  • Referral forms will be kept in a locked filing cabinet in a central filing system with restricted access. Client recording system accessed by identified staff.
  • Identified staff will have access to a client’s referral form, casework records and monitoring information for the duration of the time working with the client. (Refer to Data Protection Policy)
  • Referral forms for clients who do not take up a service will be archived after a three-month period. For the clients who did receive a service, their forms will be kept for a period of six years, and destroyed thereafter.
  • Throughout the duration of the clients’ attendance, contact timelines will be kept. It is the responsibility of the staff member to update accordingly.

Advocacy Case Notes

  • Information disclosed during advocacy appointments is considered confidential. Information that could identify a client or family will not be given to anyone else without prior consent, subject to the previously established confidentiality contract and exceptional circumstances.

At initial appointment clients will be made aware of the above.

  • A client can request in advance to gain access to their records and notes held at ECC. Notes should be viewed by the client in the presence of the staff member in order to address any comments or issues raised. Refer to Privacy Statement / Disciplinary Policy
  • Under no circumstances, session notes are not to be photocopied.

External Supervision:

  • When discussing issues relating to a particular client during external/clinical supervision a client may be identified by first name and aspects of his/her personal life relevant to the work being dis-cussed. However, details of the clients’ full name and personal details must not be disclosed.
  • If a client is known to an external/clinical supervisor, appropriate steps should be taken to ensure the client is not discussed or identified.

Exceptional Circumstances:

  • ECC recognizes that there may be exceptional occasions that involves serious threat to the life and safety of a client, or others. In this event, staff members have a professional, ethical and legal responsibility to negotiate and seek the clients consent to change the level of confidentiality, if per-mission is not obtainable, to notify the carer that they may find it necessary to temporarily breach confidentiality. If such an occasion arises, they should adhere to guidance listed in ‘Breach of Confidentiality’.
  • ECC recognizes the seriousness and impact upon the relationship of breaching confidentiality and will seek to preserve this as far as possible within legal, ethical and professional boundaries.
  • ECC has identified the following situations as occasions that may warrant a breach of confidentiality and should they arise, immediate notification is to be given to the line manager or safeguarding officer:
    • acute mental health crisis
    • current child abuse
    • serious risk of harm to self or others
    • possession of an unlicensed firearm or possession of a licensed firearm
    • confession of terrorism
    • revealing something that is part of an ongoing legal case

Notification of the above will not necessarily lead to a breach of confidentiality as each case will be considered individually, in the best interest of the client. The staff member shall inform the client of their concerns and seek to consult regarding appropriate action or alternative/further support that may be required.

If a staff member becomes aware of any exceptional circumstances that they feel uncomfortable holding, or believe in the interest of the client, warrants support over and above what ECC can safely provide, they must raise this with their line manager or Safeguarding contact.

Other Disclosures:

The use of casework records for external use in case histories, published articles, training or course presentations etc., shall not in any way reveal the identity of a client, and any pertinent details must be changed in order to preserve anonymity, with informed consent and written permission sought.

Client Records:

It is the responsibility of the staff member to ensure that all client records are kept in locked filing cabinets. All records must be locked away at the end of each working day. All information relating to clients will be kept in a central admin office. This includes notes/notebooks, correspondence, and any other sources of information.

Expressed Consent to Give Information

  • It is the responsibility of the staff member to ensure that when any action is agreed to be taken external to ECC on behalf of a client, the client must firstly sign an authorization form, and stored in the client’s file.
  • Staff members are responsible for checking with carers whether it is acceptable to call them at home or work relating to the service they are receiving. When contacting a carer, staff must ensure that they refer to the client’s referral forms as to how an individual wishes to be contacted. It is the responsibility of the staff member taking the referral to confirm this information at this initial stage.

Breaches of Confidentiality:

ECC recognizes that exceptional occasions may arise where staff members feel they may need to breach confidentiality. However, breaches of confidentiality could harm the reputation of ECC and therefore should be treated with the most serious of approaches.

On exceptional occasions where a staff member feels confidentiality may need to be breached the following steps must be taken:

  • Staff should raise the matter immediately with their line manager or safeguarding officer (including out of hours).
  • Staff must discuss the issues involved in the case and explain why they feel confidentiality should be breached.
  • Line manager should discuss the matter with the safeguarding officer before proceeding further.
  • Line manager is responsible for discussing with staff members what options are available in each set of circumstances.
  • The safeguarding officer is responsible for making a decision on whether confidentiality should be breached.
  • In no circumstances should a breach of confidentiality be discussed at this stage with a Trustee board member who deals with the complaint procedures. This is to ensure that any future com-plaint or investigation arising from a breach of confidentiality can be carried out in an independent manner.

Incoming/Outgoing Post

The personal data of client and staff will be kept in locked cabinets and destroyed within the stipulated peri-ods. Data stored on the computer systems server will be subject to staff access rights.

Staff Requirements

Staff members must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the needs for maintaining confidentiality and shall accept personal responsibility and have a practicing commitment for implementing all organizational confidentiality policies and procedures.

Refer to policies:

  • Data Protection Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy
  • Lone Working Guidelines
  • Breach Policy
  • Disclosure Policy
  • Disciplinary Policy

This policy will be reviewed every 3 years

Date of Review Reviewed by Comments
August 2019 Staff / Trustees Policy adopted by the Trustees
July 2021 Staff / Trustees