EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

The Youth Counselling Project accepts that in society certain groups or individuals are denied equality on the grounds of race, gender, marital status, caring responsibilities, disability, gender re-assignment, age, social class, sexual orientation and religion/belief or any other factor irrelevant to the purpose in view.

 

 

 The Youth Counselling Project welcomes the statutory requirements laid down in:

  • the Equal Pay Act 1970;
  • the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974;
  • the Sex Discrimination Act 1975;
  • the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race Relations Amendment Act Feb 2000;
  • the NHS Community Care Act 1990;
  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
  • the Asylum & Immigration Act 1996;
  • the Human Rights Act Nov 1998;
  • the Employment (Religion or Belief) and (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

 

The Youth Counselling Project recognises that it has moral and social responsibilities that go beyond the provisions of the above-mentioned Acts and Regulations, and that it should support and contribute to the wider process of change through all aspects of its work and practices in order to eliminate discrimination and promote equality and diversity.

 

 

The Youth Counselling Project is committed to taking positive steps to ensure that:

  • all people are treated with dignity and respect, valuing the diversity of all;
  • equality of opportunity and diversity is promoted;
  • services are accessible, appropriate and delivered fairly to all;
  • the mix of its employees, volunteers and management committees reflects, as far as possible, the broad mix of the population of its local community;
  • traditionally disadvantaged sections of the community are encouraged to participate in policy decisions about, and the management of the services provided.

 

 

September 2020

Review September 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaints Policy

and Procedure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2020

Review July 2021

 

 

General statement

 

TYCP aims to provide its members, organisations and individuals with the best possible service. We positively welcome suggestions you may have for how we can improve our service.

 

Usually, a word with the person at the point of service delivery will suffice should a problem arise. However, we recognise that from time to time there may be occasions when users of our services feel that the quality or level of service provided fall short of what they could reasonably expect. We also want to know about these occasions so that we can make good the problem and plan to avoid its repetition. If you have a complaint, we would like you to tell us about it.

 

This is what you should do:

  1. If you have a complaint to make, it should be made to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees who will try to resolve the issue informally.

 

  1. If the issue is serious, or you are not satisfied after raising it with the Secretary you should make a formal complaint.

 

  1. Your complaint should be made in writing, marked “Private & Confidential”, and sent to the Secretary who will acknowledge it in writing (normally within 7 days of receipt). Remember to keep a copy of your letter. If you need an interpreter or advocate to help you make your complaint, we can arrange this for you.

 

  1. The Secretary shall – in consultation with the Chair of the Trustee Board – investigate the complaint. (See separate check list).

 

  1. The Secretary shall communicate the results of the investigation to you within a reasonable time – normally 21 days.

 

  1. You have the right – if dissatisfied with the results of the inquiry – to put your case in writing or personally to a panel comprising at least two members from the Board of Trustees who were not involved in the initial investigation.

 

If attending personally, you have the right to be accompanied by a friend or advocate to help put your case. (The panel also has the right to have an advisor present).

 

  1. The decision of the panel will be final.

 

  1. Where appropriate, The Youth Counselling Project will make a written apology to the complainant, and agree any further action necessary to make good the cause of the complaint.

 

  1. All formal complaints and the response made to them will be recorded and filed in a secure place.

 

  1. The Trustee Board shall be informed by the Secretary at the first available meeting of the number and nature of any formal complaints and their outcome, and consideration will be given to the implications these have for the planning and management of future services annually, as part of TYCP’s self-evaluation.

 

 

TYCP’s complaints procedure will be publicised to organisations and

individuals who use its services.

 

 

The Designated Person would normally be the most senior paid staff member or

nominated Trustee.

 

This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following document:

  • Complaints Checklist

 

Review date: July 2021

 

 

Ethical Framework

The Youth Counselling Project will:

  • respect every individual’s dignity and rights to privacy and confidentiality.
  • commit to challenging any instances of sexism, gender inequality and other power imbalances that leave some people at risk of harm.
  • value and improve diversity in their governing bodies, workforce and volunteers.

 

The Youth Counselling Project agrees to uphold the following principles throughout their work:

 Beneficiaries first

Charities have a responsibility to carry out their purposes for the public benefit.

The interests of their beneficiaries and the causes they work for should be at the heart of everything charities and those who work and volunteer in and with them do.

This means the charity should:

  • be clear what their purpose is and who or what their beneficiaries are.
  • carry out their purpose to provide the greatest benefit to their beneficiaries and their cause, regardless of whether this might initially have a negative impact on the reputation or operation of the charity or its leadership.
  • when working with beneficiaries, ensure that their views and experiences are actively listened to and taken account of as part of how the charity operates, facilitating engagement and communication.
  • ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are drawn up with the interests of beneficiaries in mind.

Integrity

Charities, and those who work and volunteer in and with them should always uphold the highest level of institutional integrity and personal conduct.

This means the charity should:

  • ensure appropriate systems are in place to help guarantee that all decisions are robust, defensible and free from conflict of interest.
  • consider the effect of activities conducted in private life on the reputation of the charity and of charities generally.
  • ensure their resources are managed responsibly and their funds are properly protected, applied and accounted for, including policies and procedures to combat the risk of bribery, fraud, corruption and extortion.
  • exercise due diligence in understanding the ethical standards of commercial partners and individuals, to seek support or collaboration from those with ethical values that are consistent with those of the charity.
  • Be sensitive to the impact of their activities on both natural and human environment by:
    • making responsible use of their resources
    • adopting sustainable working practices
    • undertaking initiatives to promote environmental responsibility.

 Openness

Charities should create a culture and space where donors and supporters, as well as the wider public, can see and understand how they work how they deal with problems when they arise and how they spend their funds.

This means the charity should:

  • operate a presumption of openness and transparency; subject to complying with existing legal and regulatory requirements, charities should be willing to share information about how they work, ensuring it is easily accessible.
  • Publish, or (for the very smallest charities) at least make available on request:
    • annual reports. This should include a section explaining how the charity’s purpose and values are being fulfilled.
    • their approach to safeguarding, bullying and harassment
    • their complaints procedure
    • their whistleblowing policy
  • establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for all their work, both internally and externally where applicable.

 Right to be safe

Every person who volunteers with works for or comes into contact with a charity should be treated with dignity and respect and feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment.

All charities have a responsibility to create an inclusive culture that does not tolerate inappropriate, discriminatory, offensive or harmful behaviour towards any person who works for, volunteers with, or comes into contact with the charity.

Charities should also be places where people’s wellbeing and mental health are valued and promoted so that anyone working in the charity or coming into contact with the charity is encouraged to value and invest in their own health and wellbeing.

 This means the charity should:

  • stand against and have a clear approach to prevent abuse of trust and power including bullying, intimidation, harassment, discrimination or victimisation in all their activities
  • create a culture that supports the reporting and resolution of allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse of any kind or inappropriate behaviour.
  • ensure that anyone working or volunteering for the charity understands the expectations placed upon them, and provide the relevant training to support them in meeting their responsibilities
  • ensure that anyone who works or volunteers in the charity has access to proper support and advice if they:
    • experience or witness unacceptable behaviour
    • raise a concern or make an allegation about the actions of others
    • don’t feel safe.

October 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Health and Safety Statement

and Policy

 

 October 2020

Statement of Intent

This is the Health and Safety policy statement of

The Youth Counselling Project

 Our Health and Safety policy aims to –

  •  Maintain safe and healthy working conditions
  • Prevent accidents and causes of ill health
  • Manage health and safety risks
  • Provide clear information and training to ensure counsellors and volunteers are competent to do their work

This will be achieved using each school’s Health and Safety Policy, a copy of each will be held by the charity.

Responsibilities for Health and Safety

 

Overall and final responsibility for Health and Safety

 

Chair of Trustees

Day to day responsibility

Individuals.

All counsellors and people volunteering for the charity should-

  • Be aware of the Health and Safety policy for the school in which they are working (if appropriate)
  • Co-operate with supervisors and managers on all health and safety matters
  • Take reasonable care of own health and safety
  • Report all health and safety concerns to an appropriate person

Arrangements for Health and Safety

 

Risk Assessment

 

The charity will produce and review risk assessments when necessary responding to any change in circumstances eg remote working, Covid 19.

 

Training

The charity will provide appropriate training to counsellors and volunteers, including Safeguarding and GPDR, and ensure they have access to all policies.

 

Consultation

The charity will consult regularly with counsellors on health and safety matters as they arise and formally when reviewing this policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2020

Safeguarding Policy

July 2020

Review Date:  July 2022

This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and sessional workers, working on behalf of The Youth Counselling Project.

 

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who may come into contact with children and families has a role to play.

The purpose of this policy is to:

 Protect children and young people who receive a service from The Youth Counselling Project.

  • Provide staff, volunteers and sessional workers with the overarching principles that govern our approach to safeguarding and child protection.
  • Direct the reader to follow each schools Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy when working with children within in the school.
  • Direct the reader to report all concerns to the Designated Child Protection Lead within the school.
  • Follow and comply with East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership.

We recognise that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989 and subsequent legislation and holding to the principle that  ‘Every Child Matters’
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • Some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experience, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • Working in partnership with the school, children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

  • Valuing them, listening and respecting them.
  • Following each school’s child protection and safeguarding procedures.
  • Identifying each school’s Designated Child Protection Lead.(DSL)
  • Developing and implementing an effective e-safety policy and related procedures always following school guide lines when relevant.
  • Providing effective management for staff, volunteers and sessional workers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures.
  • Recruit staff, volunteers and sessional workers safely, ensuring all necessary and legal checks are made in line with the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education: September 2019
  • Recording and storing all personal information professionally and securely.
  • Following each individual school’s safeguarding procedures and child protection policies when sharing concerns and relevant information with agencies.
  • Always liaising with and reporting to the designated the DSL within each school.
  • Using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff ,volunteers and sessional workers appropriately
  • Ensuring we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measure in place
  • Ensuring we provide a safe environment for our children, young people, staff, volunteers and sessional workers, by working within the health and safety procedures in place in the school and in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.

Legal Framework

 This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely:

  • Children Act 1989
  • United Convention of Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2004
  • Children Act 2004
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Protection of Freedom Act 2012
  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Special education needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to 25 years – Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2014
  • Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding service to children, to young people, parents and carers; HM Government 2015
  • Working together to safeguarding children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2015

Senior Lead for Safeguarding

This is the Lead Counsellor who reports to the Chair of Trustees

Name: Ann Foster

Phone/Emails:  annjfoster@live.co.uk

 

Complaints Policy

and Procedure 

July 2020

Review July 2023

General statement

TYCP aims to provide its members, organisations and individuals with the best possible service. We positively welcome suggestions you may have for how we can improve our service.

Usually, a word with the person at the point of service delivery will suffice should a problem arise. However, we recognise that from time to time there may be occasions when users of our services feel that the quality or level of service provided fall short of what they could reasonably expect. We also want to know about these occasions so that we can make good the problem and plan to avoid its repetition. If you have a complaint, we would like you to tell us about it.

This is what you should do:

  1. If you have a complaint to make, it should be made to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees who will try to resolve the issue informally.
  2. If the issue is serious, or you are not satisfied after raising it with the Secretary you should make a formal complaint.
  3. Your complaint should be made in writing, marked “Private & Confidential”, and sent to the Secretary who will acknowledge it in writing (normally within 7 days of receipt). Remember to keep a copy of your letter. If you need an interpreter or advocate to help you make your complaint, we can arrange this for you.
  4. The Secretary shall – in consultation with the Chair of the Trustee Board – investigate the complaint. (See separate check list).
  5. The Secretary shall communicate the results of the investigation to you within a reasonable time – normally 21 days.
  6. You have the right – if dissatisfied with the results of the inquiry – to put your case in writing or personally to a panel comprising at least two members from the Board of Trustees who were not involved in the initial investigation.

If attending personally, you have the right to be accompanied by a friend or advocate to help put your case. (The panel also has the right to have an advisor present).

The decision of the panel will be final.

  1. Where appropriate, The Youth Counselling Project will make a written apology to the complainant, and agree any further action necessary to make good the cause of the complaint.
  2. All formal complaints and the response made to them will be recorded and filed in a secure place.
  3. The Trustee Board shall be informed by the Secretary at the first available meeting of the number and nature of any formal complaints and their outcome, and consideration will be given to the implications these have for the planning and management of future services annually, as part of TYCP’s self-evaluation.

 TYCP’s complaints procedure will be publicised to organisations and

individuals who use its services.

The Designated Person would normally be the most senior paid staff member or

nominated Trustee.

This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following document:

  • Complaints Checklist

Review date: July 2021

 

 

 

The Youth Counselling Project Volunteering policy

 About us: TYCP is a charity working through schools in Seaford to offer specialist counselling to students in primary and secondary education.  We are not an emergency service.

Purpose of our volunteer policy Our volunteer policy has been created to show our volunteers and potential volunteers that we have spent time and care in planning how volunteers will be welcomed  to join the charity and assist in its many fundraising and awareness raising activities.

It also outlines that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way. It should also help our volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from us.

Our vision and mission for volunteering:   Volunteering is a great way to share your enthusiasm, skills and ideas whilst having fun and meeting likeminded people in Seaford.  By volunteering to help you will be making a positive contribution.  TYCP is run entirely by volunteers.  The only staff are our specialist counsellors who work with students in the schools.  TYCP relies on volunteers for help in running events and awareness activities in the community. In return for the dedication and commitment we gain from volunteers, we aim to make volunteering with us a rewarding and worthwhile experience.

Our Volunteer Policy is underpinned by the following principles

 TYCP will ensure that volunteers are properly integrated and that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to our activities

  • TYCP does not aim to introduce volunteers to replace paid staff
  • All paid staff involved with TYCP will work positively with volunteers
  • TYCP recognises that volunteers require a satisfying role and will endeavour to make sure that this is achieved.

Practical Guidelines:

The following guidelines deal with practical aspects of the involvement of volunteers.

Insurance: Staff and volunteers are covered by the organisation’s public liability insurance. Policies.

Policies:  TYCP have adopted a range of policies which you should make sure you have read.   Copies of the policies are available on the web site or from the Chair or Secretary.

Current Policies include; Code of conduct, Health and safety, Equalities, Protection of Vulnerable persons, Recruitment Policy, Complaints Investigations, Data Protection.

Confidentiality:   Volunteers are bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as paid staff.

Expenses:   Approved expenses will be reimbursed on production of receipts.

Resolving problems:   We hope that you will have a very enjoyable experience volunteering with us. However, if your role as a volunteer does not meet with your expectations or with the commitments we have made to you, we want you to feel comfortable about letting us know. Talk to a member of the committee first who will hopefully be able to sort it out with you before it becomes a problem.

Volunteering whilst on benefit:   Provided you are claiming benefits in line with Government guidelines, volunteering should not affect your benefits. You need to make sure the only money you receive is to cover your volunteering expenses, such as travel from home to the volunteering location. There are no limits on the amount of time you can volunteer for, as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit you are receiving. However, we strongly recommend that you discuss your choice of voluntary work with your benefits adviser before you start, as we would never want your volunteering role to affect any benefits you may receive.

Flexibility:  We understand that our volunteers have other responsibilities and commitments and will require flexibility in their volunteering to enable you to do your employed work, care for others, have a break from volunteering, go on holiday and pursue other activities. As far is practical, we can work with you to build this flexibility into our volunteering activities. Please just keep us informed and we will do our best to support you.

Ending As much as we might want our volunteers to make a long-term commitment, we understand that sometimes you will move on, and we will fully support this. We will always say thank you, we have been known to hold a little goodbye party and will on request provide a reference where appropriate.

Recognition and reward:   We could not do the work we do without our volunteers. There will always be a listening ear or shoulder to lean on.

We will take opportunities in our newsletter, annual general meetings, website and local and national press to praise the achievements of our volunteers.

Whistleblowing Policy

 

TYCP is committed to being open, honest and accountable.   It encourages a free and open culture in its dealings between the Trustees and those working with TYCP, both employees and volunteers.

This policy aims to help the Trustees and employees/volunteers to raise any serious concerns they may have about colleagues or their employer with confidence and without having to worry about being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way as a result.

It is written in the context of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 which protects employees who ‘blow the whistle’ on malpractices within their organisation.

What types of concerns?

The policy is intended to deal with serious or sensitive concerns about wrongdoings such as the following:

  • a criminal offence
  • a failure to comply with any legal obligation
  • a failure in the protection of children or vulnerable adults
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • a health and safety risk to an individual
  • damage to the environment
  • or concealment of the above.

It is not necessary for individuals who raise the concern to prove the wrongdoing that is alleged to have occurred or is likely to occur.

However if an individual knowingly or maliciously makes an untrue allegation (eg: in order to cause disruption TYCP), we will take appropriate disciplinary action against them.   It may constitute gross misconduct.

Individuals should note that they will not be protected from the consequences of making a disclosure if, by doing so, they commit a criminal offence.

This policy does not deal with any complaints staff may have about their employment.   This should be dealt with through TYCP’s Grievance Procedure.

TYCP Bullying and Harassment policy offers protection to workers against harassment, bullying and discrimination.

Volunteers should make complaints or raise concerns through the Volunteer Complaints Procedure.How to raise a concern in the workplace

The trustee designated to handle whistleblowing concerns is Xxxxxxxx and shall be known as the Whistleblowing Officer.

Individuals should in most cases, first report their concern to their line manager, who is expected to respond to that matter.   If the relevant manager cannot deal with the matter, he or she will refer the concern to the Whistleblowing Officer.

Dependent on the seriousness and sensitivity of the matter, and who is suspected of the wrongdoing, the individual can, if necessary report directly to the Whistleblowing Officer.   If the matter concerns the Whistleblowing Officer, it should be raised with the Trustees.

Individuals are encouraged to raise their concerns in writing where possible, setting out the background and history of their concerns (giving names, dates and places where possible) and indicating the reasons for their concerns.

If any individual is unsure whether to use this procedure or they want independent advice at any stage, they should contact:

  • the independent charity, Public Concern at Work’s legal helpline on 020 7404 6609,
    email: helpline@pcaw.co.uk

Public Concern at Work will be able to advise on how and with whom to raise a concern about malpractice.

Disclosures made to a legal advisor in the course of obtaining legal advice will be protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

If the individual reasonably believes that the matter relates wholly or mainly to the conduct of a person or body other than TYCPor any other matter for which a person or body other than Small Charity Support has legal responsibility, the disclosure should be made to that other person or body.

Protecting the individual raising the concern

If an individual raises a concern which they believe to be true, TYCP will take appropriate action to protect the individual from any harassment, victimisation or bullying.   Employees who raise a genuine concern under this policy will not be at risk of losing their job, nor will it influence any unrelated disciplinary action or redundancy procedures.

The matter will be treated confidentially if the individual requests it and their name or position will be not be revealed without their permission unless TYCPhas to do so by law.   If in other circumstances the concern cannot be resolved without revealing the individual’s identity, the Whistleblowing Officer will discuss with the individual whether and how to proceed.

Concerns raised anonymously tend to be far less effective but the Whistleblowing Officer will decide whether or not to consider the matter taking into account:

  • the seriousness of the matter;
  • whether the concern is believable;
  • whether an investigation can be carried out based on the information provided.

How TYCP will deal with the concern

How the concern will be dealt with, will depend on what it involves.   It is likely that further enquiries and/or investigation will be necessary.   The concern may be investigated by TYCP’s Whistleblowing Officer, the Trustees, through the disciplinary process or it may be referred to the police, other agencies such as Social Services, an external auditor or an independent investigator.

It may be necessary for the individual to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings.

TYCP will give the individual feedback on the progress and outcome of any investigation wherever possible.

If the suspicions are not confirmed by an investigation, the matter will be closed.   Staff will not be treated or regarded any differently for raising the concern, and their confidentiality will continue to be protected.

Confidentiality Policy

 September 2020

Review Date: September 2023

Obtaining information

The nature of the work of The Youth Counselling Project where engagement work is concerned, results in information of a personal, and sometimes sensitive, nature being divulged and retained.  This may be obtained from the children and young people  with whom counsellors engage, parents and carers of those individuals or other professionals such as social workers and school staff.

Therapeutic relationship between The Youth Counselling Project and young people 

The work of The Youth Counselling Project relies on the relationship fostered between Counsellors and the children and young people who access the service.

This essential relationship is based on trust, empathy, and rapport.

Children and young people must feel confident that they can discuss issues, problems and experiences openly and honestly and that, generally, the details will not be divulged without permission.

Without this trust, development and change in children and young people is unlikely to be achieved.

Making notes and reports

Referring agencies usually require regular reports detailing the progress being made and plans for future work with children or young people.

It is usual and advisable to make notes following sessions. This ensures that future reports are comprehensive and that details are accurate.

Such notes can be hand written and retained as “hard copies” or as computer records.  It should be noted that the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to all records.

When work with children and young people is concluded records should be retained by The Youth Counselling Project in line with our Data Protection Policy.

It is important that reports from other agencies are read by the relevant Counsellor.  Care must be taken that information in these reports is not disclosed inappropriately.

Such reports should be retained by The Youth Counselling Project.

 Engagement agreement

During an initial meeting with a child or young person with whom we intend to engage, and their parents(s)/guardians, it should be made clear that sessions will be confidential whenever possible.

It should also be explained that we sometimes attend meetings with other professionals such as social workers, education staff and health professionals where issues, progress etc, will be discussed.  It is good practice to have a discussion with the child or young person prior to such meetings, be honest about what we intend to say and ask if they wish us to make comment on their behalf.

Disclosing information without permission

Children, young people and their parents/guardians, must be made aware that under certain circumstances it may be necessary to disclose information or involve other agencies against their wishes.

Information will be shared (in accordance with Section 115 Crime and Disorder Act 1998) with other agencies regardless of consent if:

  • Abuse is disclosed.
  • The young person has committed an offence.
  • There is a risk of harm to the young person.
  • There is a risk of harm to others.

If a disclosure is considered in such circumstances the counsellor must inform the designated safeguarding officer in the school as soon as is practicably possible for guidance.

The Youth Counselling Project counsellors are often faced with challenging issues and there may be occasions when an immediate decision is required regarding disclosure of information.

Such circumstances may occur, for instance, when a child or young person is:

  • At risk from immediate abuse
  • At risk from physical injury
  • Likely to cause themselves harm
  • Imminently likely to commit a serious offence

Counsellors should be confident that, having considered the circumstances, they are able to make a decision in the interests of the child or young person, other persons or the general public, to contact partner agencies such as social workers, health care professionals, or the Police.

In the event of such action the Counsellor must:

  1. Ensure the decision is recorded.
  2. Inform a Designated Safeguarding Officer in the school or the CEO of The Youth Counselling Project as soon as possible.
  3. Inform the referring agency, (e.g. social worker), if not subject of the initial report, as soon as possible.
  4. Confirm with the agency to which the report has been made that the concerns have been noted and appropriate action has been taken.
  5. Discuss the incident with the child or young person at the earliest opportunity.

 

 The Youth Counselling Project Data Protection Procedures for Trustees, Staff Sessional Workers and Volunteers

 INTRODUCTION

 The Youth Counselling Project is committed to promoting awareness, instituting good practice and maintaining sound procedures to ensure compliance with Data Protection principles and to preserve the rights of individuals.  These procedures will be maintained and reviewed to ensure compliance with current legislation and should be read in conjunction with our Data Protection Policy which sets out the legal framework. The Youth Counselling Project recognises that the responsibility is on everyone, whether trustee, staff, sessional worker or volunteer, for how people’s personal information is collected, stored and used.

DEFINITIONS

The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 applies to data about a living, identifiable individual and defines certain information as being ‘sensitive’ data:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Physical or mental health or condition
  • Sexual life
  • Information about criminal convictions or proceedings.

Handling or ‘processing’ information includes:

  • Collection
  • Retrieval
  • Consultation
  • Use
  • Disclosure

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018. Under this legislation the 8 Data Protection Principles remain largely unchanged and of the utmost importance. Personal information must be:

  1. used fairly and lawfully
  2. used for limited, specifically stated purposes
  3. used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. accurate
  5. kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
  6. handled according to people’s data protection rights
  7. kept safe and secure
  8. given adequate protection if transferred outside the European Economic Area.

Under GDPR it is necessary to identify the lawful basis under which data is processed. The Youth Counselling Project’s lawful basis for processing activity is that processing protects the vital interests of the individual. Where sensitive data is held, explicit consent must be given.

 Personal data is anything which can help identify someone. So includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Email
  • Photo
  • IP address

 It can be held on computer, a phone, in back-ups, in paper files (but random notes and less formal documents are not included).

GDPR also introduces new rights for individuals:

  1. The right to be informed
  2. The right of access
  3. The right to rectification
  4. The right to erasure
  5. The right to restrict processing
  6. The right to data portability
  7. The right to object
  8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.

PROCEDURES

 Data Protection Officer

A designated member of the Charity will be appointed to take responsibility for overseeing all Data Protection issues and ensuring these procedures are implemented.

 Awareness

  • All new staff, trustees, sessional workers and volunteers who will have access to personal data will receive an induction on The Youth Counselling Project’s Data Protection Policy and Procedures
  • An annual refresher session will be held on policy and procedures for Staff, Trustees and Sessional Workers.
  • An annual review of The Youth Counselling Project’s data map and any sharing of data will be conducted
  • Data Protection will be included in The Youth Counselling Project’s Risk Register
  • An annual refresher session on policy and procedures will be conducted with volunteers who are working with access to personal data
  • These procedures will be reviewed annually.
  • Reviews of procedures, data map and implementation will be reported by the Data Protection Officer to the Trustees

Data Held:  The Youth Counselling Project will maintain a comprehensive data map for all personal information held, which will detail:

  • The type of data held, including visual images
  • In what format (paper files/electronic) and security (locked cabinet/password protected/encryption)
  • Physical location
  • Who has access
  • The purpose of the data set
  • How long data is retained
  • Data flows
  • All data sharing with third parties will be documented (eg in School/sessional worker/counselling supervisor contact)
  • Case records will be retained for as long as required. After 3 years without any contact files will be archived*
  • *Further information on the retention/archiving/destruction of records can be found in The Youth Counselling Project’s Archive Policy.

Consent

  • Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous
  • Explicit consent will be sought, recorded and managed using the Record of Client Consent/Form of Authority for all new contacts and gradually introduced for those individuals for whom The Youth Counselling Project already holds personal data when they resume contact
  • Consent forms will be held with client records and in a central file. Data subjects will be given a copy
  • Separate consent forms will be used for visual images with a clear statement of whether consent is for one specific image or includes any future images
  • The Youth Counselling Project will use a general privacy notice on the website and any form collecting personal data
  • Children can give consent themselves from the age of 16 but this may be lowered to 13 when GDPR is enshrined in UK law. If a parent or legal guardian has given consent on behalf of a child this must be renewed by the data subject themselves once old enough. The previous consent will no longer apply.

 

Subject Access Requests

  • All subject access requests must be submitted in writing – email is acceptable
  • A form can be designed and offered if it will help to identify the data subject’s records, but any written request must be acted upon regardless of whether a form is completed
  • Under GDPR a period of 30 days from receipt of the written request is allowed to comply with a full response
  • Identity checks should be conducted to verify that it is the data subject themselves making the request, where necessary
  • If a subject access request is made on someone else’s behalf checks should be carried out to ensure they have authority (for instance Parent/Guardian/ Social Worker (e.g. Young Person in Care)
  • Through reference to the data map, all those who have access to a data set likely to include the data subject will be required to carry out the necessary searches to retrieve any personal information held
  • As well as detailing all personal information held on the data subject, the response must also clearly set out The Youth Counselling Project’s lawful basis for processing data
  • Where confidential records include references to third parties these must be deleted before the information is released
  • Where there are safeguarding or child protection issues, information may be withheld if it would otherwise pose a risk to the individual or a third party. The Youth Counselling Project’s Safeguarding procedures should also be consulted.

Data Correction or Deletion

  • Data subject requests to correct or delete data must be communicated to all those who have access to datasets containing the data in question, including back-up copies
  • Identity checks should be conducted to verify that it is the data subject themselves making the request, where necessary
  • Where such a request is made by someone representing the data subject, checks should be carried out to ensure they have authority
  • Confirmation of corrections/amendments should be provided
  • Confirmation of deletion must be provided. If there is a reason why data must not be deleted for a given period of time, this reason must be explained together with a notice of the time period for which the data must be kept.

Data Breaches

  • Systems must be designed, maintained and reviewed with security of data in mind
  • Data breaches must be reported to the individual(s) concerned where there is a risk to their rights and freedoms, eg it could result in:
    • Discrimination
    • Damage to reputation
    • Financial loss
    • Loss of confidentiality
    • Significant economic or social disadvantage
  • Such data breaches must be reported to the individuals concerned within 72 hours.

September 2020

Review September 2023

 

 

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