Policies

Code of Practice: Confidentiality and Records Management

University of Glasgow Counselling and Psychological Services

Code of Practice in relation to Confidentiality and Management of Records

Purpose

This document outlines our responsibilities and practices in respect of information on our service users (you) and explains our policies on confidentiality and the management of personal information.  

The service is an organisational member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Clinical records kept adheres to the BACP “Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy”.  Members of staff may belong to BACP or have other professional affiliations, with Ethical Codes to which they, as individual professionals, must adhere. 

These codes of ethics are available online on the organisations’ respective websites. The service is also bound by the policies of the University regarding Data Protection and Staff Conduct.

Confidentiality

Personal identifiable information about you is only accessible within the Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS). Staff of the service will not pass on personal information about you (including information on attendance) to anyone outside the service (including university staff), subject to the following exceptions:

  • Where a member of CaPS staff has the explicit consent of the client to disclose information or data.
  • Where the member of staff of CaPS is legally obliged to disclose information. These situations include:
    • Under the Terrorism Act (2000), which requires that the counsellor/therapist disclose any belief or suspicion of acts of terrorism.
    • Under the Drug Trafficking Act (1986), which requires the counsellor/therapist to disclose to the police information of any individual making money through drug trafficking.
    • Under the Road Traffic Act (2000), which requires citizens to provide information to the police that might identify a driver in a traffic offence. In addition, if a counsellor/therapist becomes aware that you may be driving whilst unsafe (e.g. through epilepsy, medical condition, drug or alcohol abuse) the law requires the counsellor/therapist to pass this information to the DVLA.
    • If we receive a court order.
    • Where the counsellor/therapist believes that you or a third party is at serious risk. In such circumstances, the counsellor/therapist will normally encourage you to pass on the information to the appropriate organisation person/agency. If there is no indication that this has happened, or is likely to happen, or if the risk is believed to be sufficiently serious, the counsellor/therapist may pass on the information directly irrespective of your consent.
    • If the risk is believed to be sufficiently serious, the counsellor/therapist will pass on the information directly, irrespective of your consent or circumstance for the University crisis team to be involved.

Supervision

Clinical supervision is an essential requirement to ensure that mental health professionals are practising safely, effectively and within the limits of their competence.  Your information may therefore be discussed with clinical supervisors external to the University for best clinical practice, ensuring that any identifying information is removed and the client remains anonymous

 

Recording of sessions

The Service provides training placements to trainees from a variety of Counselling, Psychology and Psychotherapy courses. Trainees are subject to their own clinical governing organisation’s Code of Practice to ensure that any data collected, stored, maintained, retained and destroyed is in accordance with data protection legislation. Occasionally, as part of their training, they are asked to audio or video record sessions. This will only be done with your explicit written and informed consent and will not commence if you decline.  Recordings will be subject to secure storage, limited confidential access and will be erased completely within the time frame described in the consent form should recording of sessions proceed.

 

Liaison and correspondence

Correspondence, such as letters, telephone calls, emails, with third parties may be required, such as with a staff member outside the service, medical doctor to ensure service provision is fulfilled. Where correspondence is required the nature and content of the information will be shared with you prior to disclosure. Explicit consent will be sought unless there is a legal obligation to do so without consent, as noted above.

 

Management of clients’ personal information 

Written case-notes, forms and letters are retained in paper files and stored in locked cabinets within the service building. Files are kept for 6 years after a client’s last attendance or 3 years after death, and then destroyed confidentially. Electronic records (emails, letters and statistical data) are stored within the university network but are only accessible by staff of the CaPS.

 

Access to records

You can request access to the information we process about you at any time. You may speak to your current therapist to discuss access to your current records. They may wish to discuss the level of information required to be released to you. If at any point you believe that the information we process relating to you is incorrect, you can request to see this information and may in some instances request to have it restricted, corrected or, erased. You may also have the right to object to the processing of data and the right to data portability*.

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please submit your request via the webform or contact dp@gla.ac.uk.

*Please note that the ability to exercise these rights will vary and depend on the legal basis on which the processing is being carried out.

 

Data Protection

When students register with the service, via the web or written form, they will have been presented with a Privacy Notice that outlines what to expect in terms of how their personal information will be processed.  

The information is processed by the University in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.

Please see Counselling and Psychological Services Privacy Notice for further information.

 

Complaints

Complaints relating to services provided will be received according to the University’s complaints procedure:

http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/senateoffice/studentcodes/students/complaints/whichprocedure/

and should initially be addressed to the member of staff concerned, or their manager. Options for resolution will be reviewed and resolved as soon as possible. This may include:

  • Informal resolution within the service
  • Formal complaint via the University Procedure
  • Complaint to a professional body
  • Complaint to a statutory registration body.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact the University Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter.

  • Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at dataprotectionofficer@glasgow.ac.uk
  • If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk/

Revised June 2020 


Privacy Notice

University of Glasgow Counselling and Psychological Services: Privacy Notice

Your Personal Data

The University of Glasgow’s Counselling and Psychological Service will be what’s known as the ‘Data Controller’ of your personal data processed in relation to the service provided by Counselling and Psychological Services (CaPS). This privacy notice will explain how CaPS will process your personal data.

Why we need it

We will be required to process your information for us to proceed with providing you with our services. This will include collecting, maintaining, retaining and deletion of your information.

We require an e-mail address and telephone number to allow us to contact you with important information such as making initial appointments and to correspond with you.

Your name, date of birth and Student ID number will allow us to identify you amongst applicants and students at the University.

We will also ask you for 'Special Category’ personal data which is personal and sensitive information relating to you. For example, this may include any disabilities, ethnicity and other mental/health information that will be used by the Counselling and Psychological Service in order to carry out therapeutic treatment interventions.

We will only collect data that we need, in order to provide and oversee this service to you.

Legal basis for processing your data

We must have a legal basis for collating and processing all personal data. In this instance, the legal basis is:

  • Contractual – In order to provide appropriate services to you, the team at CaPS will need to gather “special categories of data” in relation to your mental/physical health and/or any disability. They are therefore required to collate and process information about you. Without this information we cannot provide our services to you. The details of the contract can be found here.
  • Explicit Consent – You are asked to complete a registration form when you first register with the CaPS. By doing so you are providing the CaPS with consent to process your data in accordance with this privacy notice.

 

  • Legal obligation– In some circumstances, members of staff of CaPS may be legally obliged to disclose information. These situations include:
    • Under The Terrorism Act (2000), which requires that the counsellor/therapist disclose any belief or suspicion of acts of terrorism.
    • Under the Drug Trafficking Act (1986), which requires the counsellor/therapist to disclose to the police information of any individual making money through drug trafficking.
    • Under the Road Traffic Act (2000), which requires citizens to provide information to the police that might identify a driver in a traffic offence. In addition, if a counsellor/therapist becomes aware that you may be driving whilst unsafe (e.g. through epilepsy, medical condition, drug or alcohol abuse) the law requires the counsellor/therapist to pass this information to the DVLA.
    • If we receive a court order.
    • Where the counsellor/therapist believes that you or a third party is at serious risk. In such circumstances, the counsellor/therapist will normally encourage you to pass on the information to the appropriate organisation person/agency. If there is no indication that this has happened, or is likely to happen, or if the risk is believed to be sufficiently serious, the counsellor/therapist may pass on the information directly irrespective of your consent.
    • If the risk is believed to be sufficiently serious, the counsellor/therapist will pass on the information directly, irrespective of your consent or circumstance for the University crisis team to be involved.

What we do with it and who we share it with

  • Data will only be collected and retained in order to provide and/or facilitate the service. We process this information to allow us to carry out appropriate mental health assessments and treatment and to help us ascertain what support is appropriate for you. We may collate clinical information on you on CORE (Clinical Outcomes Routine Evaluation, which is a secure online platform where we keep our clinical data on you and which forms part of your medical records). This is only accessible to staff at Counselling and Psychological Services and identifiable information will not be shared without your explicit consent. This data will be classed as part of your medical records and will be processed to help us gauge the most appropriate way forward regarding your mental health support.
  • Personal data, and other information relating to your engagement with Counselling and Psychological Services will not be shared outwith the service without your explicit consent. Details of this can be found here. Your data may form part of anonymous data collection and retention for statistical purposes, which is used to track and report mental health trends in the student population and to ensure the efficient use of resources, evaluate the impact and performance of our provision
  • We may pass your information on to internal services within the University on a contractual basis; this means in order to provide appropriate services to you. We will also need to gather “special categories of personal data” in relation to your mental or physical health and/or disability. Therefore, we are required to collate and process information about you. This is to ensure we provide the best care for you where there is a contractual obligation, such as a referral being made on your behalf. Examples of these services may be such as Disability Services, Welfare Services or Occupational Health Service to help provide the most appropriate care for you. Your consent will always be sought in these circumstances.
  • We may pass your information on to third party mental health providers, such as Big White Wall and other mental health care agencies in order to provide you with the most appropriate clinical care. Your consent will always be sought in these circumstances.
  • Personal data collected and retained is processed at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. All data is held on servers in the UK and Ireland by Corenet IMS and will only be accessed by authorised persons of the University of Glasgow or Corenet IMS.
  • Where a referral for you to attend our services has been made, such as by your institution, for example Glasgow International College or Disability Service, we may share minimal personal information with them to ensure we are providing the best co-ordinated care response for you. Your consent will always be sought in these circumstances.

How long do we keep it for

Written case-notes, forms and letters are retained in paper files and stored in locked cabinets within the service building. Files are kept for 6 years after a client’s last attendance or 3 years after death, and then destroyed confidentially. Electronic records (emails, letters and statistical data) are stored within the university network but are only accessible by staff of the CaPS.

What are your rights?*

You can request access to the information we process about you at any time. If at any point you believe that the information we process relating to you is incorrect, you can request to see this information and may in some instances request to have it restricted, corrected or, erased. You may also have the right to object to the processing of data and the right to data portability. Where we have relied upon your consent to process your data, you also have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.]

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please submit your request via the webform or contact dp@gla.ac.uk.

*Please note that the ability to exercise these rights will vary and depend on the legal basis on which the processing is being carried out. 

Complaints

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact the University Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter.

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at dataprotectionofficer@glasgow.ac.uk

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk/


Contract of Engagement

Counselling & Psychological Services (CaPS)

By agreeing to attend ongoing counselling/psychological therapy sessions, you are required to read and agree to the following:

1. Attendance

We ask that you prioritise your appointments within the week. CaPS is under significant demand, and cancellations and appointments not attended without prior notice (DNA’s) increase the length of time the next student on the waiting list will have to wait to be seen. We do appreciate however that sometimes you might need to re-schedule an appointment. We ask that where possible, you provide at least 48 hours’ notice if you are not able to attend your appointment, so we can offer the appointment time to someone else.

  • Cancellations If you cancel your appointment please note that it is your responsibility to reschedule. If we do not hear from you within 4 working days of your cancelled appointment, we will assume you no longer require our services and your file will be closed. Repeat cancellations may result in your file being closed.
  • DNA’s If you do not turn up for an appointment without prior notice, please note that it is your responsibility to re-schedule. If we do not hear from you within 4 working days of this, we will assume you no longer require our services and your file will be closed.

Please also note that each missed appointment will count towards the number of sessions you are offered. Two consecutive DNA’s will automatically result in your file being closed.

In circumstances where your file has been closed please note that if you wished to resume sessions in future, you are welcome to attend CaPS again and would be able to go back on the waiting list.

2. Confidentiality

We ask that you read and understand CaPS policy on Code of Practice in relation to confidentiality and management of records available above. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. We can be reached at: studentcounselling@glasgow.ac.uk.

3. Student and staff conduct

You have have read and understood the UoG policy on expectations of student and staff conduct available at: Senate Office: Code of Practice and Unacceptable Behaviour

4. Complaints

You are aware that there is a formal complaints procedure available should you be unhappy with any aspect of the service you have received from CaPS: Complaints: Which Procedure

Contract of Engagement (pdf)


Complaints

Complaints relating to services provided will be received according to the University’s complaints procedure and should initially be addressed to the member of staff concerned, or their manager, who will then look at options for resolution and assist with further steps, should they need to be taken; which may include:

  • Informal resolution within the service
  • Formal complaint via the University Procedure
  • Complaint to a professional body
  • Complaint to a statutory registration body