PURPOSE: This policy explains the commitment to client confidentiality and that staff
and volunteers know how to maintain it.
The service provided is confidential. No information or materials about clients will be
passed on or discussed outside of the organisation without the authorised consent and
understanding of the client. This agreement should be verified between client and
counsellor and in some cases the Manager. It is sometimes necessary to discuss a client's
case informally and anonymously with other organisations but no personal information or
details will be disclosed at this point.
Confidentiality and the Counselling Service
The boundaries of confidentiality are restricted to within the organisation and supervision.
Where the client is demonstrating or contemplating behaviour that is significantly harmful
to themselves and/or others a breach of confidentiality must be discussed with their
supervisor and line manager. The client should be made aware of the confidentiality
contract at the first session, preferably before any personal information is discussed. No
material should be discussed or used outside of the counselling sessions without the
specific agreement of the client, supervisor and the Service Manager.
Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the counsellor good grounds for believing
that a client will cause serious physical harm to others or to him/herself, or to have harm
caused to him/her. In such circumstances, the counsellor should consult their supervisor
before taking any necessary steps. It may be that such circumstances require the client's
consent for a change in the agreement about confidentiality, unless there are also good
grounds for believing that the client is no longer able to take responsibility for his/her
actions. The Manager should be informed of such situations.
In matters relating to personal information about an individual: this may only be shared
within the organisation and within the structure, one-to-one or group supervision meeting.
All records kept by counsellors are confidential: it is the responsibility of the counsellor
and staff to ensure that they are kept securely. Under no circumstances should
information be shared with, or meetings arranged with; other family members, friends,
acquaintances or staff members relating to the client unless agreement has been reached
with your supervisor or Service Manager.
If there is a safeguarding issue involving a young person under the age of 18 then the Child
Protection Policy should be referred to immediately. Liaise with the agency regarding the
Child Protection/safeguarding procedure.
The service will take the following precautions to ensure that client's details are
kept secure and that confidentiality is maintained:
Be GDPR compliant
Ensure all staff and volunteers understand and sign acceptance for the
Will not leave information or details about clients on desks or computer screens,
open and un-guarded.
Do not hold information regarding clients on computers unless registered with
the Information Commissioners Office.
Paper based information will be kept in locked cabinets and be the responsibility
of the holder.
Provide a private space for interviews, appointments.
Will not discuss cases openly where others might over-hear.
The service will raise the awareness of all staff and volunteers to this policy
through induction and training and ensure that they understand and comply with it.