Staff of the Student Financial Adviser will not pass on personal information about a client (including information on attendance) to anyone outside the Service subject to the following exceptions:
- Where the Student Financial Adviser has the express consent of the client to disclose the information or data.
- Where the Student Financial Adviser would be liable to civil or criminal court procedure if the information was not disclosed.
- Where the Student Financial Adviser believes the client is in serious danger.
- Where the Student Financial Adviser needs to consult another department to obtain further information relating to the appointment.
In any of these circumstances, the adviser will normally encourage the client him/herself to pass on information to the relevant person/agency. If there is no indication that this has happened, and if the crisis or danger is sufficiently acute, the adviser may pass on the information directly. Consent to disclose information will be sought from the client, if at all possible.
In line with their professional requirement advisers may discuss their work with a consultant external to the Service. In this process, the identity of the client is not revealed. The purpose of consultation is to help the adviser reflect on their work.
Record keeping and data protection
It is usual practice for adviser to keep records on clients and their sessions. These will vary in length and detail. Points of concern are also noted. All notes are kept safely under lock and key.
Access to notes
Under the Data Protection Act, clients have a right of access to all notes kept on them. If those notes contain references to other individuals these may not be available to the client, as protection is also granted to third parties. It will be important not just to show the notes to the client, but for the adviser to talk to them about what their file contains and why. If a client wishes to see their file, they should ask their adviser or counsellor giving two weeks' notice.
All notes and records are kept securely locked within the Service. In line with legal requirements, an adviser's notes are kept for a period of 3 years. After this time they are destroyed by shredding.