Student Services provide confidential information, advice and support to students studying at the University. Many students who use our services discuss sensitive personal information with us and it is important that we ensure that we keep this information confidential. Students who share information with us should be secure in the knowledge that any information they disclose to us is handled in a respectful and appropriate manner, we believe this is important in encouraging students to come and seek help and support.
As part of our commitment to supporting students, we ask all students to complete and sign a confidentiality declaration. Please take time to read this information so you are aware of the reasons why we ask you to do this. If you have any concerns about confidentiality, please speak to a member of any service.
Your records will only be shared by staff within the Student Services on a need to know basis, unless we have your permission to discuss your issue with someone else. No information will be divulged to anyone outside of Student Services without your express permission and we will usually ask you to sign a release of information consent form to confirm this in writing.
Any information will be stored on your student case file which is held exclusively by Student Services. The file can be paper, electronic or a mixture of the two. The University will always store your data safely and will never disclose it to any other person unlawfully. To do this the University complies with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The University will never sell, licence or trade your personal data to any third party.
Staff within the Services will only keep information that is relevant and appropriate. Paper-based information is kept in locked secure areas within the Services and electronic files are held securely with limited access and appropriate protection.
Students should be aware that their needs and any intervention offered may be discussed by the staff within the appropriate supervision structures. This would include caseload supervision with an appropriate independent professional clinical supervisor and appropriate line management structures within Student Services. Supervisors also operate within the relevant professional guidelines eg the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Health and Care Professions Council or other relevant professional bodies.
Access to your record
Student Services comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and respects the rights of users to request access to their records. For further information about accessing your records please ask your adviser or visit the data protection pages where you can request access to your records. All data is held in accordance with the University's privacy notices.
Sharing information outside of Student Services in the wider University
Confidentiality is important and we want students to be assured that the information they provide is treated with sensitivity and care. However, in order to fully support students, it is sometimes necessary to work with colleagues outside Student Services in University departments. In these situations, we would ask your permission to share relevant information with staff in other University departments to enable us to provide you with the most appropriate support. We will explain our reasons to you and advise you about whom we feel needs to have information about you. We will then usually ask for your signed consent to do this.
We will not share information about you with staff outside of Student Services without your permission. If we do have your permission to share information we only share the information needed to ensure that appropriate support is in place. In some situations you may wish to restrict the type of information we share, if you wish to do this then please discuss this with a member of our staff.
However, if you do wish to restrict the sharing of your information this may limit the support and effectiveness of help that we can offer you.
The Counselling and Mental Health Advisory Service work to recognised professional standards of confidentiality. Our counsellors work to British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy standards of practice including ethical guidelines covering confidentiality whilst our Mental Health Advisers are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council or other relevant body and work in accordance with their standards of professional practice.
Sharing information outside of the University
In some instances, staff may need to share information with organisations outside the University to ensure support is in place. This could include services such as; Student Finance England, the Student Health Service, Liverpool Guild of Students, NHS or Local Authorities.
You will be asked to confirm who you are willing for us to contact/discuss your support with on your consent form. We will explain our reasons to you and advise you about whom we feel needs to have information about you. We will then usually ask for your signed consent to do this.
Exceptions – breaking confidentiality
If we have serious concerns about your safety or the safety of others we may have to share information with other people from the University or from outside organisations. Wherever possible and where the delay would not increase the likelihood of harm we would try to discuss this with you and get your consent to share relevant information.
However, this may not always be possible; in these circumstances, we would discuss with you our reasons for sharing this information with others as soon as possible after this had taken place.
These exceptional circumstances are rare and would arise only:
- Where there is a risk of harm to yourself or others, including safeguarding issues eg child protection or where disclosure is required by law eg a court subpoena records required in court or under prevention of terrorism legislation
- If we are legally obliged to provide information to outside agencies we will do this in line with the Data Protection Act.