Customer Confidentiality Policy

Please note that the Independent Lives is a registered charity with a trading arm, Independent Lives (Trading) Ltd. The following policy applies to both, unless otherwise stated.


1 POLICY STATEMENT

Confidentiality is fundamental to ensure that customers have trust and confidence in Independent Lives as an organisation and the services we provide.

Our work includes working closely with customers, families, members, advocates and other agencies, such as health & social services. This policy will ensure that the information customers and others give us stays confidential wherever possible and appropriate, but still enables all parties to conduct their work.


2 REASONS FOR THE POLICY

As an organisation, we want to be clear and transparent about how we will maintain customer confidentiality within Independent Lives.


3 POLICY OBJECTIVES

3.1 How we treat customer information

3.2 How we record customer information


4 HOW WE INFORM CUSTOMERS ABOUT THE COLLECTION AND USE OF INFORMATION - HOW WE TREAT CUSTOMER INFORMATION

4.1 We will keep any personal information safely and securely, in accordance with our Data Protection Policy.

4.2 To work effectively on customers behalf, any appropriate Independent Lives staff member may access personal information.

4.3 We work closely with Adult & Children social care services, the NHS and others, to ensure that customers receive a comprehensive service. As such, we may need to share customer information with them where necessary. We will be clear why the information is being shared and who is involved. We will gain consent in advance wherever possible.

4.4 In some cases information may be shared without customers knowing about it. This might be the case where telling customers about the sharing would be likely to prejudice a criminal investigation, or prevent a vulnerable person receiving proper protection. This will always be done in accordance with our safeguarding policies. Where service contracts are applicable Points 2 – 4 above are included in our service contracts, which customers will be asked to, read and sign before receiving services from Independent Lives.

4.5 When Independent Lives provides a customer with a service, their records are maintained and held within the organisation rather than with the individual staff member or volunteer. This is vital n order to give the best possible assistance, an Independent Lives staff member may need to discuss a customer’s case with another colleague. Where a customer gives specific permission for other people to be involved (e.g. friend, partner, family member, advocate) we will share information with those parties. Our consent forms ask who we are able to share information with, this is documented on the customer’s database. Members of the Board of Trustees will not have access to customer information except in exceptional circumstances e.g. when dealing with a complaint or monitoring the work of staff.

4.6 We keep records of all customers receiving a service from Independent Lives. Case notes will be kept after every customer contact with an Independent Lives’ staff member, detailing the discussion, support needed and expectations/actions. The notes are kept to provide a professional service, maintain continuity of service and in order to reference what has happened or been discussed. This helps to ensure that Independent Lives can provide good quality services. All staff and Volunteers sign our Information Governance Code of Conduct Staff who have enhanced access to databases sign up to increased security expectations.


5 HOW WE RECORD CUSTOMER INFORMATION

5.1 Personal information, case notes and correspondence are kept in a safe and secure place. They are recorded at the time of the contact on our secure electronic database.

5.2 Paper records are minimum and do not include special category data, they are kept in filing cabinets, which are locked overnight. Computer records are kept in accordance with Independent Lives IT Security and Acceptable Use Policy.