I, Geraldine Hamilton, am registered with the Information Commissioners Office as the data controller of Breakthrough Counselling
I collect and hold only the data about you that I need to, in order to provide a safe service. This data is not shared with anyone without your prior knowledge and consent, unless I am in a position where I have an obligation to report due to legal reasons, or because of duty of care of e.g. imminent danger to self or others; suspicion of abuse of a child; knowledge of a crime that is about to take place. In any of these instances I would not require your consent to share this information, though would always attempt to ensure your knowledge of the process.
The data is part of our contract. The contract (which is on paper) is held securely in a locked box to which only I have access.
I ask you to provide contact details – name, address, date of birth, phone/mobile number, emergency contact and email address – and your GP details on the contract that you sign at the beginning of the counselling.
Contact details allow me to get in touch with you about, for example, changes to appointment times, cancellations, or appointments you haven’t attended.
GP and emergency contact details are useful for me to have, should there be a point where I have concerns for your personal safety. I would not speak to both of these contacts without your knowledge.
Phone numbers are stored in the passcode-protected smartphone I use specifically for work purposes, using a first name and, occasionally, a second initial if further identification is needed (e.g. if I have multiple clients with the same first name).
I store your counselling contract which includes basic contact details on my computer, which is deleted after you or your therapy ends. Emails from you are deleted after I retrieve the contact details from them and have dealt with the request.
I keep brief handwritten notes of our own sessions. These notes may contain information that is deemed sensitive by the Information Commissioner’s Office (e.g. about mental health conditions, sexuality, gender, religious beliefs). Only initials and a client number are used on these notes, which are kept separately from your contract. These notes are held securely in a locked box to which only I have access.
I will keep these notes for three years after the end of your counselling process and after three years the notes will be shredded. However, in the case of children (under 18) I have a legal obligation to keep client notes for seven years from the 18thbirthday, at which time these notes will be shredded.
If You Don’t Consent
If you do not consent to Breakthrough Counselling collecting and holding this data, I will not be able to work with you. This is a decision I make to protect your safety. My duty of care means it would be unsafe and unethical of me to work with a client for whom I held no information.
Right to Access Data
You have a right to access the data Breakthrough Counselling holds on you. To do this email email@example.com. Data held will be passed to you within a month.
Right of Erasure
You have the right to request that Breakthrough Counselling delete your personal data. The decision about whether I can comply with this request will take into account any legal requirements I must meet about keeping specific data.
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Session (Transient) cookies: these cookies are erased when you close your browser, and do not collect information from your computer. They typically store information in the form of a session identification that does not personally identify the user.
Persistent (Permanent/Stored) cookies: these cookies are stored on your hard drive until they expire (i.e. based on a set expiration date) or until you delete them. These cookies are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as Web surfing behaviour or user preferences for a specific site.
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