4.1 Identify relevant legal requirements and procedures covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information
When you work with children and young people, you need to have some idea about legislation. The legislation is an area which is constantly under review, and you will need to keep up to date through reading.
Every Child Matters (England 2003) based on Children Act 2004
This Act is important because it shares information between professionals. It came into being after the tragic case of Victoria Climbie when there was no communication between authorities. It aims to transform children ‘s services through maximising opportunities while minimising risk, for children and young people. Every child has the support that they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.
Data Protection Act 1998
In schools, it is essential that you know lots of information about children, so you effectively care for children while they are with us. For example, you ask for information as health or medical information, records from previous schools, or records for children who have special educational needs. The information is confidential and should use only for the purpose for which was collected. If the information needs to pass on to others for any reason, the parents should sign a consent form. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, an organisation, which holds information on individuals, should register with the Information Commissioner’s Office ( ICO). It is designed to ensure the confidentiality of the information. There are eight principles of practice that state that information must be processed fairly and lawfully, be used only for the purpose for which it was gathered, be adequate, relevant and not excessive, be accurate and kept up to date where necessary, be kept for no longer than necessary, be processed in line with the individual’s rights, be kept secure and not be transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
You need to know a range of information in your role as a teaching assistant, from issues around the school to the individual needs of every child. If you should not know what you can speak to, your first point of contact should be your line manager. Many teaching assistants working in primary schools are parents of children at the same school, and other parents can put pressure on them to reveal information. You should not pass any information about schools or pupils before you know if it is correct to do. You should be very careful when taking photographs for displays or filming children and you should check if parental permission is. Moreover, you should not pass on information to other children in the school, other parents, other professionals, and visitors.
4.2 Describe the importance of reassuring children, young people, and adults of the confidentiality of shared information and the limits of this
It is important to respect confidentiality because we gain and keep the respect for others. When you are gathering information, you will need to reassure others that it is confidential and any information will not be passed on to others. So, it is very important that you let others know your obligations. Parental consent must give before sharing any information about children with other professionals. However, if there are any issues which say that the child is at risk from the parents or when there is a legal duty placed on the school to disclose information, this happens. In addition to this, there are cases when information on children should be accessible to all staff, for example, when children have specific medical conditions such as asthma and epilepsy. Some schools display photographs of children in staff rooms or dining areas to make sure that all staff is aware of these children. But the staff should remove the photographs when the premises are used by others because information is confidential.
4.3 Identify the kinds of situations when confidentiality protocols must be breached
When someone confides in you, it is important that you remember them that there are situations in which you should tell others. So, you should share the information only with the person who needs to know it. The confidentiality protocols must be breached when there is a case of suspected child abuse or neglect, or when a child or young person is at risk. In this situation, you should tell the child or young person that you have to tell someone who can help them. You should always remember others that if they divulge something, you are not able to keep it to yourself and maintain confidentiality.