- METRO needs to obtain and keep personal information on services users, volunteers and paid staff in order to function properly and provide appropriate services. We recognise the importance of confidentiality to individuals and particularly regarding their sexuality, HIV status and mental health status, because of the stigma and prejudice that currently exists. We are committed to ensuring that personal information is collected only for specific purposes and that no more is collected than is needed for those purposes.
- METRO maintains written records on users of its services for two reasons:
a) to enable it to provide them with emotional and practical support and to refer on to other agencies as appropriate, and
b) to provide (anonymous) monitoring statistics to outside bodies such as funders.
- All paid staff and volunteers are required to conform to The Metro’s Policy on confidentiality and will be required to sign a contract to confirm their acceptance of the policy. A breach of confidentiality may subject a worker or volunteer to disciplinary proceedings.
- Confidentiality - treating with confidence personal information about individuals, whether obtained directly or indirectly or by inference. Such information includes name, address, biographical details, and other descriptions of the client’s life and circumstances, which might result in identification.
- Confidential Information - private or secret
- Personal Information - information which relates to an individual who can be identified from that information (or from that and other information in the possession of the recipient) which includes any opinions or judgments about the individual. As well as name and address this could include physical description, health, job or financial details and information about family and friends.
- Disclosure of personal information - giving information in any way to another organisation or individual outside of METRO.
- Records - all personal information, files, indexes and diaries that may be held in either computer or manual systems.
- This section outlines the principles that underpin the working practice of METRO regarding confidentiality.
- Personal information is only divulged within METRO to ‘those who need to know it’ in order to provide a service and for the purposes of management and supervision.
- All services offering advice and support of any nature are confidential.
- Information is stored securely either on computer or in manual records.
- Personal information about service users should only be disclosed outside METRO when the individual has given consent, though in exceptional circumstances e.g. threats of violence, actual violence, risk of harm to self or others and suspected and actual child abuse, this may not always be possible. When referring to other agencies, the issue of confidentiality will be addressed with the individual being referred.
- Service users, staff and volunteers can have access to information, which is held on them this will be clearly stated.
- General information and statistics gathered for planning and monitoring purposes are always anonymous.
- The general principal in collecting personal information should be that it is only sought for specific purposes and that it should be sufficient, but not more than sufficient for that purpose, i.e. ‘ the least information required is the most information recorded’.
- When the recording of information is necessary to the provision of any of METRO's services, the principles of the confidentiality policy must be explained to the individual before requesting any personal information.