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The Turning Point Counselling Service

Privacy Statement for Service Users

In order to provide a quality professional service, we The Turning Point Counselling Service (TP) need to collect, store and use information from our service users. This statement sets what we collect, why, how it is stored, who has access to it, those that we might share it with and how long we will retain it.

What we collect

We collect details about each service user from the initial assessment form including name, address, date of birth, age, contact details, reasons for accessing counselling, health issues which might impact on these reasons etc.

In addition, minimal details (initials) are entered in the office diary as well as a signing in sheet.

Counsellors will make brief notes of each session to monitor the therapeutic journey which may include additional personal data disclosed during therapy.

Why we collect

The information enables us to determine the service each person needs and be able to contact the service user when necessary i.e. for appointments, missed appointments etc.

The purpose of the diary is to enable others to know when counsellors and rooms are available and the signing in sheet to know who is in the building at any particular time in the event of an emergency such as a fire.

Storage

Each service user’s file, which is given its own unique reference number, is kept in a secure filing system. All information is stored on TP’s premises except service users’ names and telephone numbers which may be held on their designated counsellor’s personal phones for contact outside of appointments if necessary i.e. to rearrange appointments, emergencies etc.

Access

Access to your details is limited to your designated counsellor and the Counselling Co-ordinator. However, information is anonymised for internal statistical purposes and also used to support funding bids and care is taken to ensure individuals cannot be identified either directly or indirectly. Further, counsellors may also anonymise information and utilise it as a case study for their professional development with their supervisors but again every care is made to ensure individuals cannot be identified.

Sharing

Unless we are ordered by law or a court order, your details will not be shared with other individuals or agencies without your written consent.

The exception to this is for those service users who have given permission to claim Gift Aid on contributions they make to us when we will need to share some of the information with HMRC.

Timescales

The information will be held for the duration of your therapy and then normally for 2 years from the date of your last session in accordance with professional guidelines , the potential for further assistance being sought and to assess our service over a range of considerations.

However, the nature of certain requests for counselling mean that details may have to be kept for a longer period but your nominated counsellor will advise you of this if the situation arises.

Consent

We can only collect and store this information if you give your consent which you are asked to do below. You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time. However, without having the information we would not be able to provide you with a service. You have the right to ask to see your file although notes taken during sessions are permitted by law to be redacted from disclosure.

This statement is provided under the terms of the European Union General Data Protection Regulations 2017 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018.