During the course of their role as volunteer counsellor for JTS, persons will most certainly have access to, or have sight of, documents and other information that is of a confidential nature. At all times information accessed during their period of volunteering must be dealt with by volunteers in a sensitive and confidential manner.
The information may be:
- • Confidential to the organisation of JTS and which if disclosed could have detrimental effect on the service
- • Confidential to individual members involved JTS or persons with whom JTS volunteers come into contact with
- • Other information to which JTS has access to or comes to the knowledge JTS volunteers which needs to remain confidential.
Irrespective of which of the above classifications the information applies to, the way that it is handled and dealt with is the same:
‘Under no circumstance should information to which volunteers have access to, or become aware of, as a result of their involvement with JTS, be disclosed to persons outside the organisation, without properly seeking authority to do so.’
This authority should normally be granted by either the Head of service or the manager by email or in writing.’
2. Exceptions to disclosure.
There are, of course, exceptions when information outlined above, may and should be disclosed to persons outside JTS:
- • To safe guard the health and welfare of any person, irrespective of whom that person may be
- • To prevent or detect a criminal offence
- • To minimise loss or damage to the reputation of JTS
- • To minimise or prevent the loss of JTS finances
Where there is a legal duty on the organisation to disclose information to a statutory authority, the person to whom the confidentiality is owed should normally be in informed that disclosure has been, or will be made. There are exceptions to this, when the informing of the aforementioned person, will in itself amount to a criminal offence or raise a safeguarding issue. Therefore guidance should always be sought if there are ANY doubt as to the correct course of action to be taken.
3. Safeguarding information
It is the responsibility of all JTS volunteers, to ensure that they handle any information they receive in the course of their volunteer activity in a sensitive and safe way, to ensure the security of that information.
Computers, mobile phones etc.
When JTS volunteers use their laptop computers and mobile phones and other mobile devices that are used for storing information etc. They should, at all times ensure that the information is kept safe and secure.
All documents relating to the work of JTS should always be kept secure. Once the purpose for which the document has been prepared has ceased, paper copies should either be correctly and securely filed in the JTS office, on a computer drive, or shredded.
4. Data Protection Act
Any information held by JTS, should not be disclosed to a person or organisation outside of JTS, without the proper authority of the Head of service or the manager. Any unauthorised disclosure may make the volunteer, as well as JTS, liable to prosecution under the Data Protection Act. Please see Item 2 ‘Exceptions to disclosure ‘above.
5. Access to information
Information is confidential to the organisation and should only be passed to an external organisation with the permission of the source of that information. Sensitive information will only be made available to the person named on the file.
JTS Volunteers have the right to see their personnel files by giving reasonable notice to JTS manager.
Copying files and other information.
When copying documents, ensure that the contents of the document being copied cannot be seen by another person. Any misprinted or copies not required, should be shredded
Information from outside JTS.
When information is received from organisations outside JTS, and is deemed to be confidential, JTS and its volunteers undertakes to respect that confidentiality.
6. Storing information
- • Information regarding staff and volunteers, or a personal nature, will be kept by the manager, or a nominated person, and will be stored in a secure hard drive.
- • In the case of an emergency, such as requiring details of Emergency Contact for a person, access can be granted by a manager/supervisor.
7. Breaches of Confidentiality
Any JTS volunteer accessing unauthorised files or breaching confidentiality may be deemed to have committed an act of gross misconduct and may be subject to disciplinary action and ultimately removal from all volunteering activities with JTS