In accordance with the Data Protection Act, the RMBF can only collect and share personal data which is relevant to its work, and must keep all such data stored securely and only for the length of time it is needed. Applicants are asked to give written permission for RMBF Caseworkers to share their personal data with other organisations, as well as with staff and Volunteers where this is necessary for the assessment of their case. If the Caseworker needs to give another organisation access to an Area Visitor’s report, this will be done only with the permission of the AV concerned. AVs need to be aware that an applicant is entitled to request access to all personal data held about them, including the visit report.
All volunteers, particularly AVs and GA Committee members, should take every precaution to ensure the confidentiality and safekeeping of any personal data about applicants that is given to them by the RMBF’s staff. Please remember all aspects of a visit are confidential and it is important to reassure the applicants of this, as they are often concerned about other people knowing about their circumstances. Please see the RMBF Confidentiality Policy for Volunteers and note particularly the following points about protecting data related to visiting:
- Make sure that the briefing note sent to you by the Caseworker in preparation for your visit is stored securely, either on your password protected home PC or in a locked cabinet.
- Do not copy or share the information with anyone else or discuss the case, even if a friend or relative is accompanying you on the visit.
- When going on a visit, take only the essential contact details of the applicant with you (name, address, telephone number). Please do not take a copy of the Caseworker’s briefing note.
- If using mobile devices (laptop, tablet, phone) to access the applicant’s data or casework briefing, please ensure that your device is password-protected, that it is always locked when not in use, and that it is not left unattended in public spaces.
- Please do not retain information about applicants you have visited. After your report has been submitted to the Caseworker for each visit, in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act, please ensure that you return to the RMBF or securely destroy all personal data relating to that applicant. Speak to a Caseworker if you have any queries about arranging this. If you are asked to visit the applicant again, the Caseworker can provide you with the relevant information, including a copy of your previous visit report.