Statement of intent
Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) respects the privacy of children, parents and Playworkers, while ensuring we provide high quality care and play opportunities in our setting.
We aim to ensure that all parents can share information in the confidence that it will only be used to enhance the welfare of their children.
We meet the requirements of the Human Rights Act 1998 with regard to protecting the individual's rights to a private family life, home and correspondence. Our only justification to interfere with this ‘right’ is where we believe that a child may be at risk of significant harm, to prevent a crime or disorder.
We meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 with regard to the information kept about families, including how it is collected, stored and used.
We have regard to the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality and only share information with other professionals or agencies on a ‘benefit to know’ basis, with consent from parents, or without their consent in specified circumstances relating to safeguarding children.
- Registration and admission forms.
- Signed consents.
- Correspondence concerning the child or family.
- Reports or minutes from meetings concerning the child from other agencies.
- An on-going record of relevant contact with parents
- Observations by staff on any confidential matter involving the child, such as developmental concerns or child protection matters, incident and accident logs; care plans; behaviour plans et cetera.
These confidential records are stored securely in the Childcare office. During Playscheme these are stored at the reception desk and are kept secure by the Site Co-ordinator.
Parents have access to the files and records of their own children but do not have access to information about any other child.
Staff will not discuss personal information given by parents with other members of staff, except where it affects planning for the child's needs. Staff induction includes an awareness of the importance of confidentiality in the Playworkers' role.
Information Sharing concerning Child Protection Issues
There are times when we are required to share information about a child or their family. These are when there are:
- Concerns a child is or may be suffering significant harm.
- Concerns about ‘serious harm to adults’ (such as domestic violence or other matters affecting the welfare of parents).
We explain to families about our duty to share information for the above reasons.
Where we have concerns, we would normally gain consent from families to share these. This does not have to be in writing, but a written record will be made that verbal consent has been given.
We do not seek consent from parents to share information where we believe that a child, or a vulnerable adult, may be endangered by seeking to gain consent. For example, where we have cause to believe a parent may try to cover up abuse or threaten a child.
Where we take a decision to share information without consent it is recorded in the child's file and the reason clearly stated.
Where evidence to support our concerns is not clear we may seek advice from the local Social Care agency or the NSPCC.
We only share relevant information that is accurate, factual, non-judgemental and up to date.
Information Sharing Concerning a Child's Development
CUHP is committed to the development of the children attending the Playscheme. With the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and a higher emphasis on providing high quality care through partnership and collaboration, we will be observing the development of EYFS children during their time at Playscheme. With the permission of parents we will be sharing this with other services that may be involved in the care of your children such as schools and external support agencies.
CUHP is also committed in working with children with additional needs. To achieve this, CUHP, with parental permission, will gather and share information between services such as schools, local ‘Inclusion Teams’, Health Care professionals and other outside agencies. The information will be used to provide a consistency of care and offer support suited to a child's needs.
Issues to do with the employment of staff, whether paid or unpaid, remain confidential to the people directly involved with making personnel decisions.
When Students undertaking recognised qualifications and training are observing within the setting, they are informed of our confidentiality policy and required to respect it.
Access to personal records
Parents may request access to any records held on their child and family following the procedure below.
- Any request to see the child's personal file by a parent or person with parental responsibility must be made in writing to the Playscheme Co-ordinator.
- The Playscheme Co-ordinator will inform the Manager of Childcare Services of the request and will send a written acknowledgement.
- The CUHP aims to providing access to requested records within 14 days – once the file is prepared by the Playscheme Co-ordinator.
- All third parties are written to, stating that a request for disclosure has been received and asking for their permission to disclose to the person requesting it. A copy of these letters are retained on the file.
- ‘Third parties’ include all family members who may be referred to in the records.
- ‘Third parties’ also includes workers from any other agency, including Social Care, the Health Authority, etc. It is usual for agencies to refuse consent to disclose, preferring the individual to go directly to them.
- When all the consents/refusals to disclose have been received these are attached to the copy of the request letter.
- A photocopy of the complete file is taken as a record.
- The Playscheme Co-ordinator will go through the file and remove any information that a third party has refused consent to disclose. This is best done with a thick black marker, to score through every reference to the third party and information they have added to the file.
- What remains is the information recorded by CUHP, detailing the work initiated and followed by them in relation to confidential matters. This is called the ‘clean copy’.
- The ‘clean copy’ is photocopied for the parents who are then invited into the Childcare Office to discuss the contents. The file will never be given to the parent, but should be shared by the Playscheme Co-ordinator, so that it can be explained.
- Legal advice may be sought before sharing a file, especially where the parent has possible grounds for litigation against CUHP or another (third party) agency. Support from CUHPs' Childcare and Playworker Advisor would also be sought.
All the undertakings above are subject to the paramount commitment of the Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme, which is to the safety and well-being of the child. Please see also CUHPs' policy on Safeguarding and Child Protection Whistleblowing.
Policy reviewed on 6 December 2011.