summarise the main points of legislation and procedures of covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information
Point of legislation
The Children Act 2004
This Act ensures that local authorities and professionals work in an appropriate way with children, young people and their families to promote child safety and protection.
Equality Act 2010
Equal and fair treatment to everyone must be applied in a variety of aspects of everyday life including work, leisure and health and social care. It stipulates the following with regards to how individuals should be treated equally and fairly:
Every individual has the right to be treated equally and fairly and not be discriminated against regardless of any ‘protected characteristics.
Every individual has the right to be treated with respect and dignity.
Health services have a duty to ensure that services are fair and meet the needs of everyone, regardless of their background or current circumstances.
Children and Families Act 2014
Aims to ensure that greater protection is available for children who have been classed as vulnerable. It includes children who may be in foster care and those who are looked after or have additional needs. The Act also ensures that an Education, Health and Care Plan is produced for any child who has been identified as having additional needs.
The United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child 1992
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) underpins many pieces of legislation that relate to the roles of individuals who work with children, such as the Children Act (2004) and the Equality Act 2010. The UNCRC highlights the importance of treating every child as a unique person, which helps to ensure that all of their needs are met in a way that is specific to them, enabling them to have a high quality of life.
The Human Rights Act 1998
The right to freedom from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
The right to liberty and security.
The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The right to freedom of expression.
The right of access to an education.
Usually associated with adults, this Act provides equal rights to children who are also protected by its content.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2017
This guidance sets out details of the local authority’s responsibility regarding the protection, safeguarding and welfare of all children. It also sets out details regarding how organisations and individuals should work together when conducting assessments of children. The key principles from the legislation are:
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part.
A child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.
The Children and Social Work Act 2017
This Act intends to improve support for looked after children and care leavers, as well as promoting the welfare and safeguarding of children. It sets out corporate parenting principles for the local authority to be the ‘best parent it can be’ to children who are in its care.
Local authorities are, under this Act, obliged to publish their support offer to care leavers and promote any educational attainment of children who have been adopted or placed in long-term care arrangements.
Every child matters
In response to the death of Victoria Climbie, whose death was seen as a serious set of failings by lots of authorities who didn’t work together, Every Child Matters scheme was launched.
The main aims of this act are that every child has the support they need to stay safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve,
make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.
Each of the different aims comes with detailed framework that is used by different organisations, to ensure that a multi-agency approach for the welfare of a child is successful. The organisations that use these frameworks are – Education settings (such as nurseries and schools) Social services, primary and secondary healthcare services, child and adolescent mental health services.
The Education Act 2002
The Education Act 2002 places a duty on educational settings such as schools and colleges to ensure that the safeguarding and welfare of children is paramount to the way in which their setting functions.
Within school we are require to gather a variety of information regarding children and young people from medical or health issues, Personal information, records from other schools and many other things too, all the information that we gather is protected by the data protection Act 1998 the principles regarding this legislation is that all information collected can only be used for the purpose it was collected for, must be protected and stored securely, relevant.
The data protection act protects information of the children and staff who work within schools. Recently there has been a change to what and how information is held and stored within schools. The main piece of legislation relating to the recording, storage and sharing of information is the Data Protection Act 2018 (including GDPR). The DPA was introduced in 1984 and has been updated regularly as technology has advanced. The DPA balances an individual’s right to privacy and an organisation’s right to hold their data by ensuring that personal information is kept securely can only be used for what it was originally intended when collected, be up to date and should be removed when no longer needed. The key principles of the DPA are:
processed fairly and lawfully
data may only be processed for the reason that it was originally collected, organisations must be transparent about what they want to use the information for and must obtain the individual’s consent.
supports the previous point that data must only be used for the reason intended.
only the minimum amount of personal data should be acquired to be used for the reason intended.
data must be accurate and up-to-date and systems must be in place to correct errors.
data should be deleted if it is no longer needed for its intended purpose or the individual requests that it is erased.
data should not be accessible or erasable by unauthorised persons.
organisations must be able to prove that they are complying with data protection laws and regulation.
processed in line with the individual’s rights
Members of staff may have access to confidential information about pupils in order to undertake their everyday responsibilities. In some circumstances staff may be given highly sensitive or private information. they should never use confidential or personal information about a pupil or her/his family for their own, or others advantage (including that of partners, friends, relatives or others schools/services). information must never be used to intimidate, humiliate, or embarrass the pupil. Confidential information about a child or young person should never be use casually in conversation or shared with any person other than a need-to-know basis. In circumstances where the child’s identity does not need to be disclosed the information should be used anonymously. The storing and processing of personal information about pupils is governed by the data protection Act 1998. Employers should provide clear advice to staff about their responsibilities under this legislation. All staff should be fully aware that confidential information should never be breached unless when a child safety is at risk.
Confidentiality applies to the children act in many ways it protects children and young people’s information from being put into the wrong hands although the children act does state that the person can obtain the information being held themselves as because of data protection you have the right to access your own files. By not sharing details to where they live, surnames and dates of births etc. to help protect identity, maybe from a parent who is likely to abscond but also from predatory people looking for a child or family who can be abused. This is information that can be used to obtain false information by having personal details such as health information, medication, whether or not the child is in care, or under the care of social services. The point is children are people to who need extra protection rather than less than that of an adult.
There are some circumstances in which a member of staff may be expected to share information about a child, for example when abuse is alleged or suspected. In such cases, individuals have a duty to pass information on without delay, but only to those with designated child protection responsibilities. If a member of staff is in any doubt about whether to share information or keep it confidential, he or she should seek guidance from a senior member of staff. Any media or legal enquiries should be passed to senior management.
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