Any personal data provided by you to the Serene Counselling Service 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 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 business.
This policy only applies to data collected by Serene Counselling staff, and via our own forms and website. Third party agents, and websites which are linked to ours, are not covered by this policy. If you have any queries concerning your personal information or any questions on our use of the information, please contact the Owner
When you request counselling with the Serene Counselling Services, become an employee or volunteer with the Serene Counselling Services, 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.
What information do we collect?
- Counselling Requests– Registering with us to request access to our counselling service can be done online, on paper or in person. Our request process involves providing us with your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. We may also request information on your availability, therapeutic issues, and other details which we deem relevant to processing your request.
- Initial Assessment Appointments– At an initial appointment we ask about your current personal, social, medical and financial circumstances. We may also ask about your background and family history, as well as the issues which are affecting you now. We require this information so that we can decide about our offer of counselling to you and to manage the service we provide to you
- Donors – 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.
- Website – We use Google Analytics to collect anonymous data relating to user behaviour and ‘web traffic’ statistics. The collection and use of this data by Google Inc. is subject to their own Privacy Policies.
- Other Forms – The information you give us on our forms (including all enquiry and registration forms may include your name, postal address, email address, phone number and other messages to us.
What do we use your information for?
We use information held about you in the following ways:
- To provide clients with the professional counselling service requested from us.
- To enable us to offer appropriate opportunities and support to our counsellors
- To offer suitable counselling appointments, and to allocate clients and counsellors for counselling.
- To notify you about changes to your appointments and other changes to our services.
- To seek feedback from you on your experience of counselling with us.
- To improve our service to ensure that it is provided in the most effective manner for you and for us.
- To administer our service, including the arrangement of appointments and for financial control, data analysis, research, statistical and survey purposes.
- To keep in touch with those who consent to this, for the purposes of organisational, service and professional development.
- To fulfil our administrative, legal and contractual obligations as an employer.
What information do we share?
We will not share any information about you with other organisations or people, except in the following situations:
- Consent – The Serene Counselling Services may share your information with professional carers or others whom you have requested or agreed we should contact.
- Serious harm – The Serene Counselling Services 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 Serene Counselling Services may share your information where we are required to by law or by the regulations and other rules to which we are subject
How do we keep your information safe?
All information you provide to us is stored as securely as possible. All paper forms and correspondence are kept in locked filing cabinets on our premises. All electronic records are stored on our own on-site computer server, all access to which requires password-protected authentication, or by reputable service providers using secure internet ‘cloud’ technology.
Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is never completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your information using industry-standard protocols and encryption, 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 destroyed 3 years after the end of counselling and personal contact details are destroyed/deleted after 10 years of no contact or updates.
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 would like to do this, please contact the Director
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 Serene Counselling Services, your counselling would have to end. You can withdraw your consent by contacting the Director.
- Google Analytics – Like hundreds or thousands of websites you visit, we use Google Analytics to collect generic, anonymous data from all visitors to monitor how our website is used. This data is shared with Google in return for the service they provide.
That’s it. If you are aware of, or find any other cookies on this website, please let us know immediately as they have not been installed by us!
Changes to this policy
We may edit this policy from time to time. If we make any substantial changes we will notify you by posting a prominent announcement on our website.