The Importance of Confidentiality & Data Protection for a Home Based Childcare Service

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The Importance of Confidentiality & Data Protection for a home based childcare service

In order to run a childcare service there is a need to retain a large amount of information on each child. The Data Protection Act 1998 covers correct storage and sharing of both manual and electronic information. There are eight principles put in place by the Data Protection Act 1998 to make sure that information is handled properly: * fairly and lawfully processed

* processed for limited purposes
* adequate, relevant and not excessive
* accurate
* not kept longer than necessary
* processed in accordance with individuals' rights
* kept secure
* not transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection. Childminders need to comply with all of the above but can avoid registering with the Information Commissioner as a "data controller" for data protection purposes: * if one keeps all your childminding records on paper.

* If you keep information about the names, ages and addresses of children and their parents, details of payments, or any data for staff administration on a computer, purely for accounts and records purposes, you are also exempt from notification.

* But if you keep more extensive records, or information of a more sensitive nature, for example about children's health, behaviour or development, on a computer then you need to contact the ICO to find out if you need to notify. * Also, if you are going to be taking digital photographs of the children in your care, you will be expected to register with the ICO.

* Notification costs £35 pa and is paid to the Information Commissioner. It is necessary to maintain a record of parent(s)’ and/or emergency contact details, the contact details of the child’s GP and appropriate signed consent forms. If a child is identified as a child in need (section 17 of the Children Act1989) it will, normally with the parent’s permission, be...
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