Data controller and processor: Nicole Squires
Data subjects: Clients
This policy is written with the intention of providing transparent information relating to how Baytree Counselling Services, a trading name for Nicole Squires Business Support Services Ltd, controls and processes your personal data. To find out more about General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and your rights, please go to https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/ or https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
Lawful reasons for processing personal data
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require that all organisations that store personal information about people may only do so provided that the information is: processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner; collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes; adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary; accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; kept in a form that permits identification of information subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal information are processed; and processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal information.
The GDPR also states that I must have a lawful basis for processing your personal data. There are different lawful bases depending on the stage at which I am processing your data. If you have had therapy with me and it has now ended, I will use legitimate interest as my lawful basis for holding and using your personal information. If you are currently having therapy or if you are in contact with me to consider therapy, I will process your personal data where it is necessary for the performance of our contract.
The GDPR also makes sure that we look after any sensitive personal information that you may disclose to me appropriately. This type of information is called ‘special category personal information’. The lawful basis for processing any special categories of personal information is that it is for provision of health treatment (in this case counselling sessions) and necessary for a contract with a health professional (in this case, a contract between me and you).
We will take all reasonable precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of information you provide. Communications in connection with this service may be sent by e-mail. For ease of use and compatibility, communications will not be sent in an encrypted form unless you require it and give permission for us to communicate with you in that way. E-mail, unless encrypted, is not a fully secure means of communication. Whilst we endeavour to keep our systems and communications protected against viruses and other harmful effects, we cannot bear responsibility for all communications being virus-free.
How we use your information
We will never use your personal data for any purposes other than the administration of the therapy service being provided to you i.e. to arrange, cancel and rearrange appointments. We will only retain your personal information for as long as is necessary.
Prior to therapy: Enquiries to Baytree Counselling Services may be received via a number of channels, including: in person, telephone, text or email. Emails may also be received via the Psychology Today, Counselling Directory, BACP or other directory services. If you visit the Baytree Counselling Services website and click on the appropriate link, this opens an email in your own browser/system. Initial enquiries usually contain some personal information such as names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. When you contact me to book your first appointment I will collect some brief information to help me to process your enquiry. This will include your name so that I can book the appointment into my diary and also a contact method, for example an email address or phone number. Alternatively, an organisation such as your employer, or private insurance company, may send me your details when making a referral.
While you are accessing therapy: Your email address or phone number will be used to provide you with written confirmation of your appointment times if you have given consent for this. Your email address and telephone number will only be used to contact you regarding appointment times unless we have agreed that I will also use your email address to email you information that is relevant to your therapy sessions.
At the beginning of your first appointment I will ask you to complete a personal details form containing your name, address, date of birth, e-mail, telephone number, contact information for your GP and another emergency contact, as well as details of any other medication/treatment you are currently receiving. The form is stored in a locked filing cabinet that can only be accessed by me. Please be aware that I will not routinely contact your GP to inform your GP of your attendance as your attendance is confidential. To fulfil my duty of care towards you while also maintaining your confidentiality I will only contact your GP, or your identified Emergency Contact, if it is necessary and, should these circumstances arise, I would discuss this with you wherever possible.
Once your therapy commences, I may collect further information from you in order to provide you with appropriate support. This may include details of your network of support, financial and employment circumstances, health and physical issues, alcohol and drug use, appetite and sleep, overview of your family situation, and early memories of caregivers.
As a registered member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), I abide by their professional code of ethics. Confidentiality will only be broken if there are legal or ethical obligations to disclose, for example, if you disclose abuse/neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, say something else that implies serious harm to yourself or others, or if a court of law requires me to disclose information. In the event that confidentiality must be broken I will always try to speak to you about this first, unless there are safeguarding, or other issues preventing this.
Counsellors are required to have regular supervision support so I may discuss our work with my supervisor. This would be done without identifying you by name and my supervisor is a counsellor who also abides by the BACP’s code of ethics regarding confidentiality.
I keep brief notes of our therapy sessions for the purpose of assisting our work together. The notes do not include any personal details that could be used to identify you and are stored securely in a locked filing cabinet that only I have access to. Your therapy notes are stored separately to your personal details.
After therapy has ended: Your therapy notes do not include any personal details that could be used to identify you and will continue to be stored securely in a locked filing cabinet that only I have access to for seven years after therapy has ended. This time frame adheres to current industry guidelines. Seven years after therapy has ended your therapy notes will be confidentially destroyed.
Third party recipients of personal data
I share a limited amount of personal data with third parties in order to provide therapy services to you and to fulfil legal obligations in respect of tax and accounting purposes. I will never pass on your contact details to any third-party organisations for the purposes of sales, marketing or research. If your appointments are paid for, or arranged via a third party, such as an employer or a private insurance company, the only information shared with the third party is your dates of attendance and non-attendance for invoicing and payment purposes. Details about what is discussed in your appointments will remain confidential and can only be shared if you give me your written consent to do so.
By accessing the Baytree Counselling Services website, you are consenting to the information collection and use practices described in this privacy notice. Should you choose to contact me using the contact form on the website, none of the data that you supply will be stored by the website or passed to any third party. Instead the data will be collated into an email and sent to me over the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). SMTP servers are protected by TLS (sometimes known as SSL) meaning that the email content is encrypted before being sent across the internet. The email content is then decrypted by local computers and devices.
Under GDPR, 2018 guidelines you have the following rights: The right to request access to the personal information that I store and process about you. You can ask for corrections to be made to the information held or for your personal information to be deleted. You can also ask me to restrict the processing of your personal information or to object to the processing of it altogether in some circumstances. If you would like to make a request relating to any of the rights above, please send a request in writing by emailing email@example.com. Please be aware that in certain situations counsellors may be unable to comply with the above requests. For example, if compelled to retain the records by a court of law. Please also be aware that there may be a charge for complying with a request if it is deemed to be excessive in nature.
Where there has been a breach to this policy, for example data has been shared with a third party without consent or data has not been destroyed in a timely manner, the breach will be reported to the ICO within 72 hours.
This policy is written with the intention of providing transparent information regarding how we control and process personal data. To find out more about General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and your rights, please go to https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/ or https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
If you have a complaint about how I handle your personal data please do not hesitate to get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to make a formal complaint about the way I have processed your personal information you can contact the ICO which is the statutory body that oversees data protection law in the UK. For more information go to: ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint