1. Purpose of the Policy
Upper Hunter Youth Service Inc. (UHYS) is committed to ensuring the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of service user’s personal information is undertaken in such a way as to protect that persons’ privacy. All UHYS service users are entitled to a confidential service unless a circumstance arises where it is appropriate and/or legally required for UHYS to disclose information.Confidential client records will be maintained to ensure the provision of quality and effective case management and will always be recorded and stored in a confidential manner.
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, Management Committee members, and contractors of Upper Hunter Youth Services.
|Confidentiality is the keeping of another person or entity’s information private
|UHYS Personnel include UHYS Employees, Management, volunteers, and Management Committee members
4. ProcedureUHYS Personnel Confidentiality
Confidentiality between employees, management, volunteers, and Management Committee members is as important as the confidentiality between the service and those using it. Everyone involved in UHYS will respect the confidentiality of their colleague.
UHYS Personnel Information
- All employee records will be stored in lockable filing cabinet when not in use.
- All electronic service records will be password protected.
- Employee records will only be accessed by UHYS staff who have delegated authority to access them.
UHYS Personnel Responsibilities
- All UHYS personnel will respect the rights of their colleagues to not have confidential information about themselves be exposed to others.
- UHYS personnel involved in dispute handing or behaviour management will not discuss the issues with anyone not delegated to be involved.
- All personal information is only provided on a need to know basis and only to those delegated to receive the information.
- All employees and committee members will provide and maintain up to date required information such as phone number, address, banking details, next of kin etc.
Service User Confidentiality
Confidentiality between the service user and the service is essential, service users will be made aware of our Privacy Confidentiality, Client Information and Records Policy when they commence with our service, including the circumstances where UHYS is required to disclose personal information.
Service User Records
UHYS establish and maintain client records to:
- Facilitate consistent service provision to our clients
- Maintain an accurate record of contact between UHYS staff members and the client
- Ensure that clients are not required to retell their story to staff members
- Assist in planning and reviewing client support
- Assist with summarising and organising information
When and How We Record Information
Recorded information on a Client’s Information File will include:
- Signed membership form to use UHYS.
- Contact information for parents and or carers.
- Permission form to take photos or video of service user.
- All formal contact documented as soon after the appointment as possible
- All significant informal contact documented immediately
- All information relating to the case management and counselling process documented in a timely manner.UHYS files maintaining client records will be:
- Non-judgmental and recorded in an objective format. The use of labelling terminology will be avoided.
- Recorded in a legible manner, dated, and signed, pages numbered and phrased sensitively.
- Sourced (e.g. the staff member will note how they know the information – e.g. from observation, third party, client etc.).
- Phrased respectfully, and from a ‘client strength’ approach.
- Detailed and clear enough for use by other staff members.
- Dated, with the staff member’s name recorded on each entry and each page signed if noted in file.
- All Case Notes will be handwritten and stored in a lockable file.
- Written case notes will be kept in its original form. Any alteration should be made by drawing a single line through the written material, so the original is still legible. The correction/change must be signed and dated by the staff member. No ‘white-out’, deletion or other erasure is to be used, including deletion of computer-generated notes.
Service User Records and Information
- All service user records will be store in lockable filing cabinet when not in use.
- All electronic service records will be password protected.
- Service user records will only be accessed by UHYS staff who are providing a service to a client.
- Service user records will only leave the UHYS office for a genuine work-related purpose. If it is necessary to take client records off the UHYS premises, files will be carried in a secure fashion and never left unattended. UHYS will always ensure that service user records are not labelled in an identifiable format.
- No service user information will ever be provided to a third party, including another service, without the service user permission. The exception to this is if, there is a legal requirement for UHYS and the staff member to disclose service user information.
- Service users will never be photographed or filmed without seeking prior permission. When requesting permission, clients will always be informed of the proposed use of the photograph or film.
- Clients will to be asked if they consent to release of their data to the Department of Communities and Justice DEX Data portal and UHYS Data collection.
- UHYS staff will never discuss any elements of a service users’ details with anyone outside UHYS without the service user’s permission.
- UHYS staff will never provide the details of any other UHYS staff member, including address and phone number, to any UHYS service user or other organisation.
- UHYS staff may be legally required to disclose client information, however they must always consult with the Manager in these situations.
- When UHYS staff members are utilising Clinical Supervision outside the service, it is appropriate to discuss details of a case, but they must never provide the client’s name or any identifying details.
Access to Client Records
Clients will be provided access to their client records upon request. Access will be provided within five (5) days. Clients can view their file with the Caseworker and the Manager present; however, no copies will be provided unless subpoenaed by the Court
When Can UHYS Disclose Personal Information?
- When there is serious risk of safety to a UHYS staff member, service user or another person
- Where there is conduct that is considered legally ‘reportable’ and UHYS is bound by a mandatory requirement to make a report
- Where UHYS is legally required to release information due to a court proceeding
- Where a crime or fraud has been committed, or a crime is intended.
5. Related Documents and Policies
- Upper Hunter Youth Service Code of Conduct
- Professional Ethics and Conduct Policy
- Delegation of Authority Policy
- Client Eligibility and Intake Policy
- Case Management Policy
- UHYS Youth Centre and Program Policy
- Duty of Care Policy
- Excursion Policy
- Working with Young People- Child Protection Policy
- Mandatory Reporting Policy
- Disciplinary Policy
6. Related Legislation
- NSW State Records Act
- The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
7. Responsible Officer/Policy Owner
The Manager and Management Committee are responsible for the implementation and review of this policy.