You should follow certain agreed ways of working when recording, storing and sharing information. Information should always be shared on a need-to-know basis and only when the individual involved has given you permission to do so. You should also attempt to prevent accidental viewing or hearing of sensitive information, for example, when talking with an individual in a public place like on a bus.
You should also be careful when using different ways of communicating with people such as Facebook and other social media websites. Breaching confidentiality can be a disciplinary offence and even a criminal offence in some cases so it is vital you are cautious when communicating with others. Overall, you have a responsibility to safeguard an individual’s personal information.
There is also some legislation related to the recording, storing and sharing of information you should be familiar with as well. One of the main ones is the General Data Protection Regulation 2016, which regulates the use of information to to balance the individual’s right to confidentiality with the organisation’s need to use it. There are six privacy principles contained within the GDPR:
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
- Purpose limitations
- Data minimisation
- Storage limitations
- Integrity and confidentiality
You should also know about The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations. It allows you to access recorded information held by public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Individuals also have the right to view anything written about them, which means that anything you write should be accurate and suitable to be viewed by the involved people.