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Strathclyde Students' Union Advice Hub – Confidentiality Policy

Managing the Confidentiality Policy

Strathclyde Students’ Union Advice Hub is committed to providing a confidential service to its clients.

This policy will be reviewed annually and any amendments agreed by the Executive Officers. Copies will be available on request. Advice Hub staff will be responsible for ensuring the current policy is held on the shared drive and for the destruction of previous copies.

Conduct of the Advice Process

1. Advice Hub employees will not confirm a client’s attendance to the service to a third party without their expressed consent to do so. Additionally, no details of any matter you discuss with our will be released to any third party, excluding the detailed exceptions below.

2. Clients will be offered a confidential interview space online or in person.

3. Advice Hub employees may discuss cases between themselves in order to aid the advice process but will ensure that no discussions which could identify clients of the service take place outside of the service or its staff. All statistical recording shall be anonymous.

4. Case files including case notes, copies of correspondence and calculation sheets will be held in lockable offices or password protected computer drives. We maintain case notes and information on Advice Pro, a secure online casework recording system.

5. Documentation will be kept in a secure archive for a maximum of six years after which time it will be destroyed using appropriate confidential waste procedures in line with data protection legislation.

6. Staff will clarify with clients their preferences in terms of contact and will record on the case file where clients have indicated that certain forms of contact are insecure or unacceptable.

7. When leaving voice messages for clients, staff will not identify themselves as working for an advice service.

8. Where clients request that no contact be made with certain parties this will be recorded and adhered to.

Breaching Confidentiality

Where it becomes apparent that the client is committing or has committed a serious crime the adviser will warn the client of the implications of their actions, bring the interview to an end, and refuse to give further advice on this matter. If such a situation arises, it must be treated with utmost seriousness and consultation with Strath Union Senior Management will be sought at the earliest opportunity.

The Advice Hub understands confidentiality to mean that no information regarding a client shall be given directly or indirectly to a third party without the client’s expressed consent except in the following cases:

  1. Conflict of Interest

Where the Advice Hub identifies a potential conflict of interest which necessitates informing one party that we can no longer act on their behalf this may draw attention to the fact that we are already acting on behalf of another party. In these circumstances the compromised party will be informed of the breach and no further action will be disclosed.

       2. Where required to by Act of Parliament.

       3. Where required to by order of a Court of Law.

      4. Where an adviser believes there to be a substantial threat to life, either of the client or another person (see Safeguarding Policy in Terms & Conditions document).

Where an adviser believes that there may be a need to breach confidentiality deliberately they should inform the client then raise the matter with the Advice Hub Manager. In their absence, the matter should be raised with the Head of Student Engagement or another member of Strath Union's Senior Management Team.

The Advice Hub Manager will explore the issues with the adviser and decide on whether confidentiality should be breached. A written record of the discussion and decision will be placed on the case file.

Where the decision is to breach confidentiality, a full briefing will be referred to either the Strath Union President or Vice President Welfare and the Chief Executive Office for information.

Awareness of Policy

All members of staff at Strath Union Advice Hub will be made aware of this policy through their induction and training.

All Union employees or Executive Officers who may encounter confidential information will be required to be aware of the policy. This policy will be displayed in all Advice Hub staff staff offices and on the Strath Union website.

This policy was adopted: September 2016

Reviewed: August 2021

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