Principles and Practices Relating to Confidentiality

What does confidentiality mean in relation to your role

Everyone has a right to privacy this is a legal right and includes the right to withhold information or not to agree to share it if they so wish. Information about people is as much their property as their belongings. What one person may feel happy about sharing, another may not e.g. information about their age, date of birth or marital status.

Wherever possible, individuals should provide their consent for the transfer of information. The basis of a good working relationship is trust. However, there may be occasions when information normally considered confidential needs to be shared. These are discussed further on in this section.

An individuals right to confidentiality also means that a person’s notes or details must always be stored in a locked cupboard and not be left where they can be seen by unauthorised people. Computers or mobile devices such as electronic tablets need to be protected by a password and firewall. When talking about an individual you must ensure no others can overhear you.

Principles of confidentiality:

  • Information about a person should not normally be shared without the consent of that person. (Preferably the consent should be in writing).
  • Information supplied to organisations is supplied on trust and those working within the organisation who have access to it are bound by specific rules of confidentiality.
  • Information can be shared on a need to know basis if it is in relation to keeping a person or persons safe from significant harm or abuse. The information shared should only be the relevant information.
  • Police do not have a right to access information without following procedures.
  • Courts have a right to request information when pursuing a relevant case
  • Service user and informal carers should be advised why and with whom information concerning them can/has/will/might be shared.
  • All people’s personal information is confidential and as such it needs to be rigorously protected.

Use to answer question 6.4a of the Care Certificate

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