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Handling of information in social care settings Essay

1.1 Identify the legislation that relates to the recording, storage and sharing of information in social care.

The Data Protection Act 1998 controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses and the government. Everyone responsible for using data or storing data has to follow strict rules called ‘Data protection principles’ these are as follows: Used fairly and lawfully

used for specifically stated purposes
kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
kept safe and secure
Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection

For more sensitive information such as ethnic background, political opinions, religious beliefs, health, sexual health and criminal records there is stronger legal protection.

The Freedom of information act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities. Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about the activities and members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Public Authorities include Government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and the police force. Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings. The Act does not give people access to their own personal data such as their health records or credit reference file. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998.

1.2 Explain why it is important to have secure systems for recording and storing information in a social care setting.

The various Acts of Parliament that relate to the handling, storing and sharing of information include amongst others The Data Protection Act 1998, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Human Rights Act 1998, Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. It is important to have secure system for recording and storing information in a health and social care setting as all information relating to clients must be kept confidential at all times except when we are legally required to disclose this information, for example, when a court warrant has been issued requesting certain information. Information on Care Home clients and in house information is valuable and critical to the business of the Home. We all rely on information to store and process information, so it is essential that we maintain Information Security, Insecure information can lead to:

• Violation of an individual’s human and civil rights; action or deliberate inaction that results in neglect and/or physical, sexual, emotional or financial harm. Abuse can be perpetrated by one or more people (either known or not known to the victim) or can take the form of institutional abuse within an organisation; it can be a single or a repeated act. • The extent to which people are able to receive the information, services or care they need and are not discouraged from seeking help. Issues involved include distance of travel; physical access (e.g. premises suitable for wheelchairs); communication (e.g. information in Braille/large print and other formats); and the provision of culturally appropriate services.

Outcome 2 know how to access support for handling information in social care settings.

2.1 Describe how to access guidance, information and advice about handling information.

There are many ways to access guidance and information, and advice on handling information, the first people you would speak to are your managers, seniors, office staff and work colleges, they will know where information is kept, how to access that information and how to input information in the future. They will also be able to tell you what sort of information is confidential, what information can be shared and how to do this in a professional manner. You will also be able to find out all this by using the internet reading up in books and attending more training.

2.2 Explain what actions to take when there are concerns over the recording, storing or sharing of information.

Information recorded in a patient’s records is confidential under both common law and the Data Protection Act 1998, and must be protected by health and social care staff. Systems for the safe storage of records must be in place, and no‐one should have access to the records or the information contained therein unless they are directly involved in the care of the client, or the client has given permission. Under the Data Protection Act clients can have access to their records, subject to a situation where disclosure is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of the client or any other person.

If you find out any activities that are harmful to the client, staff or the home itself you must report these, some examples are.

Illegal activities
Miscarriages of justice
Risks to health and safety
Abuse of clients
Misuse of public funds
Fraud and corruption
Damage to the environment

Public Disclosure Act.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act provides workers with protection from dismissal or other damage as a result of making a disclosure of information in the public interest about wrongdoing at work. Such disclosures are protected if they are done according to the Act’s provisions. Disclosures may be made to the employer, prescribed regulatory bodies or on a wider basis to the Police. The Act’s protection is strongest where workers raise matters with their employers.

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