Current or former clients, staff members and/or volunteers have the right to reasonable access to any file held about them by the Firm. Requests for such access should be made in writing and will be dealt with within 2 working weeks from the date of application.
Information received from or about, third parties will be kept separately within the clients, staff members and/or volunteer’s personal files. Some third parties may have specifically given the information with the proviso that it was not to be disclosed to the person it referred to, and this is to be respected.
Individuals with a right to access may request access to their files verbally. The file may be viewed once the third party’s information has been removed. If the individual wishes to have access to the third party’s information, the Firm will make contact in writing with the relevant parties and seek their permission to disclose the information.
Disclosure of Information
At the beginning of a relationship with a client, the Firm’s staff will explain the company’s policy on confidentiality. It will be made clear that there are exclusions from the general policy of not disclosing information without the client’s permission.
Information will be shared between the agency’s representatives purely on a ‘need to know’ basis, i.e. information that is required to fulfil specific immigration requirements. As such, there will be different levels of disclosure.
In order that the Firm’s staff are fully supported and supervised, confidential information disclosed to its staff is to be shared only with the staff dealing with the client. Generally, disclosure to other persons or agencies will only be made with the informed consent of the client to whom the information relates.
If the health, safety, security or welfare of the client or others is seriously compromised, the Firm will ensure that all client information will be kept confidential except where the adviser is compelled to disclose information by reason of legal obligation.
Storage of Information
All application forms and supporting information, including former clients, where any advice or services have been provided, regardless of whether a case is seen to its conclusion will be maintained for a minimum of six years.
Computerised information on clients will be kept indefinitely as this enables the Firm to monitor its services from year to year and to identify trends. Database forms will be destroyed at year end to which they relate.
The Firm’s staff records and management information will be kept indefinitely as a management resource