Any personal data provided by you to The Oaks Counselling Service Ltd. through any means (verbal, written, in electronic form, or by your use of our website) will be held and processed in accordance with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018, for the purposes for which you have given consent, to provide the services you have requested from us, and to meet the legitimate interests of the charity.
We collect and process your data on the lawful bases of:
Your consent – This is why when you request counselling with The Oaks, or otherwise provide your personal details to us, you will be asked to consent to our processing of your data under the terms of this policy.
Contract – The details we hold about you are necessary because of the contract we have established with you.
Legitimate interest – As a professional counselling service, we have a legitimate interest in processing and retaining your information so that we can fulfil the professional expectations of our role.
What information do we collect, and why?
Requests for counselling
When you contact us to request access to our counselling service, we will ask you for your name, address, telephone numbers, email address and your availability. We may also request information on therapeutic issues, and other details which we deem relevant to dealing with your request. We use this information to offer you suitable counselling appointments, and to allocate you to a counsellor.
Requests for a reduction in counselling fees
If you request a reduction in fees for counselling sessions, we ask for some details about your financial circumstances. We require this information so that we can assess your situation and decide about our offer to you of subsidised counselling.
Initial assessment appointments and ongoing counselling sessions
At the initial appointment we ask about your current personal, social, and medical circumstances. We may also ask about your background and family history, as well as the issues which are affecting you now.
Your counsellor will record notes of the initial assessment and each ongoing counselling session under an identifying code. These notes will be brief factual record of the session. This set of notes will include any agreements made with regard to for example, cancelled sessions or changes to the way the therapy is conducted.
These notes may be shared under the identifying code with your counsellor’s supervisor, counselling professional body or similar for purposes of maintaining professional standards and aiding your counsellor’s professional development
We will only ask for information that is considered necessary to provide you with an effective counselling service. This includes:
- Providing you with the professional counselling service requested from us.
- Notifying you about changes to appointments and other changes to our services.
- Seeking feedback on your experience of counselling with us in order to improve our service to ensure that it is provided in the most effective manner.
- Administering our service, including the arrangement of appointments, recruitment and the handling of donations.
Employment with The Oaks
In order to apply for job opportunities advertised on our website and elsewhere, and/or to become an employee of the charity, you will be required to provide your contact details and other personal information contained in your CV (such as employment history and qualifications), as well as contact details for referees. This information is only processed for the purpose of considering your job application, making any offer of employment, and administering your contract of employment.
The information you give us when making a donation may include your name, postal address, email address, phone number, amount donated, Gift Aid status, and messages. This information is required in order for us to process Gift Aid claims.
Emails and letters and other forms
The information you give us on our forms (including all enquiry and application forms) may include your name, postal address, email address, phone number and other messages to us. If you contact us by email or by letter, we may keep a record of that correspondence.
What information do we share?
The Oaks is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. We will not share any information about you with other organisations or people, except in the following situations:
- Consent– The Oaks may share your information with professional carers or others whom you have requested or agreed we should contact.
- Serious harm– The Oaks may share your information with the relevant authorities if we have reason to believe that this may prevent serious harm being caused to you or another person.
- Compliance with law– The Oaks may share your information where we are required to by law or by the regulations and other rules to which we are subject. , e.g. if terrorism or money laundering is involved; or via a court order for disclosure.
- Supervision – All counsellors undergo regular professional supervision where they discuss their client work in order to be able to offer their clients the best possible service. You will not be personally identified during this process. The Supervisor shares the same commitment to confidentiality as the counsellor.
- Invoices etc. – If your sessions are paid for or arranged via a third party, e.g. a friend, family member, employer or other organisation, your counselling information will not be shared, other than payment requests, invoices, receipts, and confirmation that your counselling sessions are taking place with us. Details about what is discussed in your sessions will remain confidential between you and your counsellor.
How do we keep your information safe?
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect about you.
Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is never completely secure. Although we employ security measures designed to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to us via email, including forms completed on our website which are transmitted by email; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.
Your identifiable personal information is kept separately from any session notes and other descriptive material. Client notes and other documentation are securely destroyed 3 years after the end of counselling. Gift Aid declarations are destroyed/deleted after 2 years, and personal contact details are destroyed/deleted within 3 months after the end of counselling.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to enable you to visit other websites of interest easily. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
You have the right to ask us to provide a copy of the information held by us in our records.
You also have the right to require us to correct any inaccuracies in your information. If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.
You may withdraw your consent for us to hold and process your data at any time. However, if you do this while actively receiving counselling at The Oaks, your counselling would have to end. You can withdraw your consent by writing to us or emailing us.
Changes to this policy