Client Confidentiality and Record Keeping

Who we are

The Apple Tree Centre (South Yorkshire) Limited is a Limited Company owned by Rosie Dymond and Jenny Reid. We employ Associate Therapists on a sessional (contractor) basis to provide therapy. All records of this work are stored by the Apple Tree Centre, at 27 Brocco Bank, Sheffield S11 8RQ.

What information we store

During our referral process, we collect the following information about you:

  • Full names of child, parents or carers, and other significant family members
  • Date of birth
  • Address, telephone numbers, and email addresses
  • GP and school contact details
  • Reasons for seeking counselling or therapy
  • Family history
  • Experiences of school, social interactions, and relevant medical information
  • Support networks, strengths and interests

We also store brief records of therapy sessions and review meetings, including dates, times and a brief overview of content.

Why we store this information

The General Data Protection Regulations define specific legal bases for storing information. Several of these apply to the information which we store about our clients and their families:

  • We ask clients and/or parents to consent to us storing and using this information
  • We only store the information which we need to provide the therapy which you have asked us for
  • In some cases, we need to use the information we have collected in order to protect vulnerable children and young people (Safeguarding)
How information is stored and used

The Apple Tree Centre keeps records of our work with young people and families. These are to help your therapist in their work with you. They also help us to check that we are offering a good service and that our work is effective. We collect some basic information when we arrange to work with you, and your therapist will keep a brief written record of each session with you and copies of any letters sent or received in relation to our work.

Records of work which took place before March 2020 are kept on paper, and are stored securely at the Apple Tree Centre. Individual records are not available off site. 

Records of work which has taken place since March 2020 are stored digitally in password protected, cloud-based storage. This can be accessed by your individual therapist, the Centre Manager and Directors of the Apple Tree Centre. If you arrange appointments with more than one therapist at the Apple Tree Centre, your records will be stored in one folder and may be accessed by all therapists currently working with you.

We will securely dispose of all records five years after your therapy ends. When an Associate Therapist leaves the Apple Tree Centre, their cloud storage password will be changed and they will no longer be able to access your records.

Unless you ask us not to, your address, phone number, or e-mail address may be used to contact you in relation to your therapy. Any email contact will be stored and processed in the usual way by our email provider and yours. 

Confidentiality

We will not usually tell anyone outside the Apple Tree Centre anything that happens in therapy unless the family explicitly asks for information to be shared.

Clients have the right to share whatever they like from their experience of therapy with anyone they choose. We encourage parents / carers not to ask children what they have done or talked about in therapy. We offer regular review meetings to parents / carers, and we will discuss these in advance with the child or young person and agree what information we will share.

All therapists receive professional, external supervision, which is also kept confidential.

There are some situations where we may pass on information without a client’s agreement. These are:

  • When a therapist is concerned that a child, young person, or someone else would be at serious risk if we did not pass on information.
  • When we have information relating to acts or potential acts of terrorism or money laundering, we are legally obliged to report this.

If at all possible, we will discuss our concerns with the client first and come to an agreement about what is best to do. We will tell the client what information we are going to share, and who we are going to tell. If the client is under 18, the therapist will also discuss the situation with parents / carers before sharing information, as long as it is safe to do so.

If a therapist does need to share information without the client’s or family’s consent, they will consult the Apple Tree Centre directors before taking action, unless waiting to do this would increase the risk. We will write down what information has been shared and why we breached confidentiality.

Access to records

You have the right to see records that are kept about you. If you would like to do this, please ask your therapist. They will explain anything in a record that is unclear. You have the right to correct any part of a record that you believe is wrong. 

There are two circumstances in which access may be refused to any part of your record. These are:

  • Where the counsellor believes that to do so could be harmful to you.
  • Where information has been supplied confidentially by someone else. (Consent must normally be obtained from that person before sharing information with you.)

According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), parents and guardians do not have automatic access to information relating to their children. We have a duty to act in the best interests of the child or young person when deciding what information to share with parents and carers, and the law states that sharing details of therapy sessions will not usually be deemed to be in the child’s best interest.

Parents have the right to ask to see information which is stored about them, for example records of meetings where they were present.

Monitoring and evaluation

We evaluate all our work at the Apple Tree Centre, to ensure that all of the services we deliver are effective, to enable therapists to continue to grow and improve their practice, and to help us plan and develop our service.

We don’t want to ask clients to fill in lots of forms or take time out of your therapy sessions, so we have worked to develop what’s known as a holistic, heuristic system of monitoring and evaluation. This means that therapists may record your comments in relation to your experience of therapy and its effects. We will store this information anonymously and analyse it within the Apple Tree Centre, to ensure that there is no possibility of individual clients being identified.

Clients’ written and art work

We provide secure storage for art and craft work which clients produce during face-to-face therapy sessions. At the end of therapy, you can decide whether to take your work home or whether you would prefer us to destroy it for you.

If we lose contact with a client before the planned end of their therapy, we will store artwork for up to three months, during which time you can arrange to come and collect it from the centre. After three months any work which has not been collected will be disposed of securely.