Confidentiality policy

This confidentiality policy sets out Talk ED’s practices and procedures on the disclosure of personal information relating to service users. The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Protect the interests of our service users.
  • Ensure all service users have trust and confidence in the Talk ED
  • Protect Talk ED, its staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Comply with data protection law.

We take confidentiality very seriously and aim to create a trusting relationship between services users and our team of staff and volunteers. Any personal details provided to us will be treated as confidential and not be shared with third parties unless consent has been given, and only on a ‘need to know’ basis. Exceptions to this are detailed below and are made only where there is a potential risk to the caller or others and/or where required by law.

We are committed to:

  • Protecting your personal information
  • Providing a service where you feel able to speak openly about your concerns, knowing that the information is kept private
  • Ensuring the protection of service users and our team of staff and volunteers
  • Adhering to the Data Protection Act 2018
  • Ensuring that staff and volunteers are understand this policy, and are sufficiently trained to implement it in practice.

Personal information will only be collected if it is necessary and relevant to the work in hand. It will be stored securely, only accessible on a need to know basis to authorised staff or volunteers.

Service users requesting ongoing support (for example follow-up bookings or emails) will be asked to give their verbal consent. Any email correspondence will be kept for as long as the enquiry is ongoing, and deleted within six months.

Service users are free to speak to us anonymously or using a pseudonym if they wish.


Exceptions when confidentiality may be broken

Talk ED will break confidentiality and share information with other agencies only under the following circumstances:

  1. You are perceived as a serious and immediate risk to yourself by our team. This may include actively planning to end your own life or self-harming.
  2. You are perceived as presenting a serious and immediate risk to others.
  3. Correspondence which seems to indicate abuse to children or vulnerable adults.
  4. Correspondence which indicates possible terrorist action.

If you present as at risk of significant harm, you will be encouraged to seek support by contacting emergency services or another appropriate agency (local crisis team, Samaritans).

If you are not ready, able or willing to contact the appropriate organisation and identifying information about you is known, the Talk ED team member will contact the Chief Executive to discuss the safeguarding concern and whether breaking confidentiality is necessary to share information with relevant agencies and emergency services.

If a decision is made to breach confidentiality and another agency/emergency service is to be contacted, the Talk ED team member will inform you with a clear explanation.

When a decision is taken to break confidentiality, then all available identifying information should be released to the appropriate authority. This includes telephone numbers (if immediately available), email addresses and IP addresses if given by the service user and not automatically gathered at the point of contact by computing systems. Information gathered by computing systems will only be released if requested by the police.

Updated: February 2022.