Confidentiality, disclosure and data protection
The University takes issues relating to confidentiality, disclosure and data protection seriously. Staff should be aware of their responsibility to respect the right of others to confidentiality.
It takes courage for students to talk to us about their private and personal lives. We have a duty to keep information confidential unless there's a reason to share it and in most situation we need to ask permission to do so. Our commitment to students is that:
- Any information given to us will be kept strictly confidential.
- We may share information about students with other staff within the particular team whose services the student has accessed.
- Some staff within our more specialist teams receive regular clinical supervision and if a staff member discusses a student in the context of their work, they will do so without revealing the student's identity.
- We will ask for consent before sharing any information about a student with their GP, other mental health workers, academic and University staff, and agencies and professionals outside the University. We always ask that the people we share student information with due respect for confidentiality.
- Unless otherwise agreed with the student, a disabled students sensitive information can be released within the University only for the assessment and provision of services.
- We will only disclose information about a student if there is good reason to believe that the student or someone else may be at serious risk of physical harm. Even then, unless the situation is an emergency, we will try to discuss things with the student and obtain consent before taking any action.
We do not normally discuss students with their parents or guardians, partners or other family members. We may occasionally provide family members with general information relating to the types of support we offer but we will not share information about a student with them unless we have permission to do so. The decision to share would always be made in consultation with the student involved.
We comply with the Data Protection Act, and store and dispose of all information securely. Statistical information is shared anonymously.
Legal grounds for breaking confidentiality
If a student discloses information which you believe may have implications for safeguarding national security, prevention or detection of a crime or the prosecution of an offender you should seek advice from the University legal adviser, Adrian Slater, before acting on the information.