Data Protection Statement

Crossways General Data Protection Regulation

 Crossways Counselling Service Policy for the retention of information on clients and former clients with regard to General Data Protection Regulation. Crossways is registered with the Information Commissioners Office – Reg no Z1426463

Purpose of Records

  • For reference during counselling
  • In case the client returns within 10 years
  • As evidence of the counselling in case of complaint or legal action

Record Keeping

  • Records will be kept in line with GDPR.
  • Records will be the property of the counselling Service
  • Records will be retained for 10 years to allow for Civil complaints proceedings
  • Records will be a factual record of the work of counsellors with clients and will not contain speculation. The supervisor will keep a record of the client being taken to supervision and any risk assessment made during the course of counselling.

Requests for Access to Records – Past clients

  • Clients can make a request in writing to the Director to view their record. However following a legal challenge (Durant v Financial Services Authority 2003) there is no legal entitlement for clients to see handwritten notes, this is at the discretion of the agency and a judgement can be made as to whether it is deemed to be in the former client’s best interests. Best practice would be that these requests should be considered sympathetically and the organisation should be open with clients.
  • Clients can be invited to view their records at the office in the presence of the Director, so that queries can be raised with the staff member.
  • The record remains the property of the Counselling Service. No photocopies will be available.
  • Only information relating to the client personally will be available, any papers relating to a third party will be withheld.
  • Requests for information by third parties will not normally be considered.
  • Requests by Subpoena would be discussed with the Trustees/ Legal Advisors, and will have to be met.

Requests for Access to Records – Current Clients

  • Current clients can make a verbal request to their counsellor as part of the ongoing therapeutic process. A judgement needs to be made as to the impact on the current therapeutic relationship of agreeing or declining.
  • If such a request is agreed the counsellor can arrange a time when the record will be available during the client’s session so that queries can be discussed.
  • The record remains the property of the Counselling Service. No photocopies will be available.
  • Only information relating to the client personally will be available, any papers relating to a third party will be withheld.
  • If the request to view notes is made as part of a dispute in the counselling the client can be asked to make the request formally in writing

Requests for information for/from third parties

  • Requests for information from third parties about clients or for third parties even if requested by clients, will not normally be considered. This is to protect clients, as once the information is in the public domain neither Crossways nor the client will have any control over how information will be used.
  • Counsellors at Crossways would not normally be considered to be qualified to act as expert witnesses or to make assessments of a client’s psychological state for third parties. If clients need such an assessment they should be encouraged to request this from a Chartered Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
  • Requests for information by Court Subpoena would be discussed with the Trustees/ Legal Advisors and will have to be met.

Official service records kept for each client will be:

  1. Information cards containing contact details
  2. Intake Profiles
  3. Session Notes
  4. Closure Forms
  5. Consent to tape counselling sessions

These records will be retained for 10 years, in case complaints to BACP (up to 3 years after clients end) or civil complaints of negligence (up to 6 years after the client ends). Thereafter only the cards and closure forms will be retained to preserve a record of the work of the service.

Other Notes

Process recording of sessions for training purposes or notes for supervision are owned by the counsellor. Notes should be destroyed once no longer needed or when the client ceases counselling. Any notes of this kind should be retained securely by the counsellor in a random way that does not identify the client and it should be made clear that they are about the personal and professional development of the counsellor.

Supervisors will own and be responsible for the security of their supervision notes with regard to Crossways counsellors.

Counsellors requesting to use client material for tape or case studies should request the permission of the client with specific contracting on the use of the material. A consent form is available for taping. Case studies remain the property of the counsellor. They must be kept separately and securely and not identify the client.