I am an independent social worker who is undertaking assessments of parents, special guardians, prospective foster carers and prospective adopters. During the course of undertaking these assessments I will have access to various documents that contain confidential and personal information relating to the individuals whom I am assessing at any one time. I will need to refer to these documents during the course of the assessment therefore I am not able to read and then destroy them immediately; they will need to be stored safely for the duration of the assessment that is approximately 12 weeks plus an additional period of time if an updated assessment is required.
The nature of the processing:
The data that I will be referring to is likely to be in the form of an electronic and/or a hard copy of a court bundle, that has been agreed by all of the parties connected to the particular care proceedings, within which I have been instructed to produce an assessment. That could be either a basic parenting assessment; a PAMS assessment, an SGO assessment; a fostering or an adoption assessment. The data will be for my sole use; if it is in a hard copy format, it will be stored in a locked cabinet; if it is in an electronic format it will be saved onto my business laptop and will be password protected for the purpose of electronic transfer.
The scope of the processing:
The data will contain a background history relating to the person/s that I am assessing. It will include information obtained from local authority records and data bases; it will include PNC check information from the police; it will provide health and employment information and records pertaining to any prison sentences served. It will include any concerns reported by education and/or health pertaining to the children that are in the family as well as incidents of domestic abuse, drug and alcohol use. An agreed bundle will be received for every assessment that I undertake. Each bundle will be stored for the duration of the assessment period.
The context of the processing:
My relationship with the individuals will be as an assessor who has been instructed by the court or the local authority to undertake a piece of work within a set time period. The individuals will have been informed that I will be visiting them on several occasions to ask questions and obtain information about them and their family. There will be an initial meeting that will clearly set out the schedule of the visits, what will be discussed during each visit and an agreement will be drawn up and signed to that effect. As a qualified social worker I am registered with the health care professionals’ council (HCPC). I have a duty to keep all information confidential and to only share the completed assessment with those who have instructed me and who have provided me with a Letter of Instruction to undertake the assessment.
The purposes of the processing:
As an independent social worker I will not have any prior knowledge of the individuals that I am to assess. Before I can commence my assessment I will need to thoroughly familiarise myself with the history of the individuals/family in question in order to gain an understanding of why there is a need for an assessment; what the risks are in relation to any children within the family and any potential risks to myself whilst I am undertaking their assessment. By familiarising myself with the history I will not need to revisit information with the family that they will have probably had to repeat to various professionals on a number of occasions previously. This shows an appropriate level of respect to the individuals because it will demonstrate that I have taken the time to read the background before I go to meet them.
How I will consult with the relevant stakeholders:
I will need to consult with the other stakeholders if during the course of my assessment I am provided with any information that is indicative that the children who reside with the individuals, or who are likely to be placed with the individuals, are at risk of significant harm or are suffering from significant harm. This would be a child protection issue that must be passed on. I would be open and honest with the individuals and inform them that I would be passing that information on to the local authority.
During the course of my assessment I would need to speak to schools and the children’s GP in order to obtain an updating report in relation to their academic, physical, social and emotional wellbeing. This would of course be agreed between the parties at the commencement of the assessment.
My compliance and proportionality measures:
My lawful basis for processing this information/data is that it will already have been agreed by either the court or the local authority in conjunction with their legal department that it is necessary for me to have access to this information. Having access to the agreed bundle is essential for me to undertake a thorough assessment of the individuals concerned and there is no other safe way to have access to this information. Function creep will not occur because I am not authorised to share any of this information with any other party or organisation. I will be open and honest with the individuals whom I am assessing; I will inform them during my initial meeting with them what information I have access to in relation to them. I will promote Article 6 and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in that they have the right to a fair trial and the right to a private family Life.
The source of risk and nature of potential impact on the individuals concerned:
The risk is that confidential information pertaining to the individuals who are being assessed will fall into the wrong hands; that is will somehow be accessed by those who are not permitted to have sight of this information.
Likelihood of harm
Severity of harm
Options to reduce risk
- How information will be stored whilst in my possession.
All of the information that will be in my possession will be stored in a locked cabinet. I am the only person who will have access to that cabinet.
- How long information will remain in my possession.
The information will remain in my possession for the duration of the assessment process (normally 12 weeks) plus any period of time where an updating assessment is required.
- How information will be disposed of when it is no longer required.
The information will be shredded after 1 year.
Effect on risk
Measures approved by – Amanda Cole 30/07/2018
Residual Risks approved by – Amanda Cole 30/07/2018
The DPIA will be kept under review by – Amanda Cole 30/07/2018