The role of SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information, Advice and Support Service) in Norfolk is to ensure parent/carers have access to impartial information, advice and support so that they can make informed decisions about their child’s special educational needs.
This is achieved by working in partnership with parent/carers or the young person, providing information, services and training, working with relevant agencies and ensuring parents views influence local policy and practice.
The information, advice and support we offer should promote independence and self-advocacy for children, young people and their parent/carers.
The Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice January 2015 require local authorities to arrange for children with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, and their parents, and young people with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, to be provided with information and advice about matters relating to their SEN or disabilities, including matters relating to health and social care.
These Information, Advice and Support Services should be impartial, confidential and accessible and should have the capacity to handle face-to-face, telephone and electronic enquiries.
The Data Protection Act 2018 makes provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information.
What is confidential information?
For the purpose of this policy Confidential information is any information about an individual or their family that is specifically communicated to SENDIASS orally or in writing, by the parent, young person, child or anyone else. This includes any information about an individual parent/carer, young person or child, including their family and personal life, which may be observed or discovered by a member of the SENDIASS team.
Requirements on SENDIASS
Information about parent/carers (including details about their children) should not be passed from SENDIASS to any statutory or voluntary organisation unless the parent(s)/carers know and agree to this in advance.
If parent/carer’s do not want their details passed on to anyone else their wishes should be respected.
Information about a young person should not be passed from SENDIASS to any statutory or voluntary organisation, unless they know and agree to this in advance.
If young people do not want their details passed on to anyone else their wishes should be respected.
Information about a child should not be passed from SENDIASS to any statutory or voluntary organisation unless they know and agree to this in advance.
If a child does not want their details passed on to anyone else their wishes should be respected.
- Child protection issues will take priority.
- All information discussed will remain confidential within the IASS team except where the parent/carer or young person has agreed otherwise or where there is believed to be a child protection issue.
- Respect for the parent/carer’s, young people’s and the child’s right to privacy
- Observations or information about the parent/carer, young person, child or their family are not recorded or communicated unless they are directly relevant to the issues under discussion.
- Parent/carer’s, young people and children are not required to state the nature of their enquiry in front of other people.
- Wherever possible, booked appointments are held in private where they cannot be overheard or observed. Where this is not possible we will seek parent/carer permission.
The parent/carer’s, young person’s and the child’s right to contact SENDIASS in confidence anonymously
- Norfolk SENDIASS will not inform anyone else that the parent/carer, young person or child has contacted us unless they agree.
- Norfolk SENDIASS respects the right of anyone to contact the service anonymously.
Practical arrangements to ensure confidentiality
- “Coded” information such as initials and date of birth should be used in electronic and insecure communications.
- Identities of parents, young people and children will be protected in any information published by Norfolk SENDIASS.
- Records are kept securely and comply with the provision of the Data Protection Act.
- The service will not store or have access to reports about a child or young person without the consent of parent/carer’s, or the from the young person if they are over 16.
- Any statistical information provided by SENDIASS to help the local authority or health make provision more responsive to parent/carer’s young peoples and children’s needs, or to identify a potential problem, will be anonymised to ensure individuals cannot be identified.
Confidentiality between Norfolk SENDIASS and Norfolk County Council
- Norfolk SENDIASS has ownership of the information provided by parent/carers, young people and children who access the service.
- Access to parental, young people’s and children’s records held by Norfolk SENDIASS by other Local Authority Departments or other bodies is only with the consent of the relevant parent/carer’s, young person or child, subject to safeguarding requirements.
Information to parent/carer’s on SENDIASS confidentiality policy
- Parent/carer’s, young people and children will be informed of the SENDIASS confidentiality policy.
- Parent/carer’s, young people and children can be informed as to who has access to Norfolk SENDIASS records should they request.
- Parent/carer’s, young people and children will be informed of their rights to see any information held on them. Access to this information is by way of a printed report on request.
- Parent/carer’s, young people and children will be informed that information is kept securely and will not be passed on to anyone else without their permission.
How we store your information - Procedures
- No information provided by a parent/carer, young person or child should be stored without their permission.
- Referral/information recording:-
a) All information relating to parent/carer’s, young people and children must be recorded on the Norfolk SENDIASS agreed database and booking system.
b) The Database/booking system should not be accessible by the local authority and should only be accessible by SENDIASS staff.
c) Access to the database and booking system is password protected.
- Computer screens should not be left unattended with confidential information about parent/carer’s, young people or children visible.
- Computer screens should be locked when left unattended.
- Information from ‘Written’ materials, either electronic or paper, should be only be uploaded onto the database if they are relevant to the advice and support being provided, or if they relate to Safeguarding. The original ‘Written’ paper materials should be disposed of in the locked confidential waste bins to be shredded.
- Papers for and from meetings should be shredded as soon as practically possible and stored securely until this is possible.
- Correspondence relating to parent/carer’s or their families, young people and children should not be left on desks overnight but must be locked away.
- All SENDIASS staff will be aware of the Confidentiality Policy.
- All SENDIASS staff will receive training and advice regarding data protection and information storage.
Working with Children and Young People
- The Children and Families Act (CAFA) 2014 and subsequent guidance requires young people and children to be offered confidential advice i.e. without their parent/carer’s knowledge.
- The CAFA takes into account the Gillick case, the Gillick Competencies and the Fraser Guidelines.
- As per the SEND Code of Practice Norfolk SENDIASS staff should where possible ensure the parent/carer’s of young people, while they are under 18 years old, and children are involved with their child’s decision making. If the child or young person does not want them involved their right to make this decision should be recognised subject to Safeguarding/Child Protection and Mental Capacity Act requirements.
- All SENDIASS staff will be made aware of the Confidentiality Policy and will be given training and advice regarding information storage.