OCST Online Counselling Services & Training

OCST Privacy Policy

OCST takes the privacy of personal data very seriously and has written this policy in line with the GDPR regulations, which have become law from May 25th 2018. This policy is available for those use access the services provided by OCST. Further information regarding GDPR can be sourced at: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/
The OCST privacy policy has been written in conjunction with the direction of the revised 2018 BACP Ethical Guidelines in mind, to help ensure that OCST is practicing legally and also inline with Ethical requirements for the delivery of counselling, supervision, and training.

The main principles of GDPR
GDPR states that personal data must be:

Processed lawfully
Collected purely for specific and clearly stated legitimate purposes
Sufficient for purpose and limited to what is necessary for it's purpose
That is accurate and up todate
Is stored for a period of time necessary, and no longer
Processed and stored in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data.

The term personal data applies to any identifiable information which is kept by OCST on their service users. For OCST this relates to clients, supervisees, and students.

What does OCST privacy policy mean for me as a service user

This will depend on how you are using OCST services. Below are details which relate to each aspect of GDPR and the relevance of the service you are accessing with OCST

Online Counselling Clients

1. Your personal data will be kept securely using an offline encrypted storage facility.
2. Any material relating to your contact details will be stored separately to any notes kept for each time you have a counselling appointment/exchange. This helps to ensure anonymity for online clients using OCST services.
3. These records will be deleted after a period of 7 years
4. After you have ended your counselling details of email contact will be deleted from the counsellor's mail account and the platform used for synchronous online counselling sessions.
5. Where client material is taken to a supervision meeting (Ethical Requirement), the counsellor will not share any personal data or session material with the supervisor which would in any way identify a client. The purpose of supervision is to monitor Ethical practice of the counsellor and although clients issues may be discussed, this is presented in a general manner, and not necessarily specific to a client.

In respect of confidentiality of client work, the counsellor will not break confidentiality or pass on any identifying material of a client unless there is immediate risk of harm to a client, and the risk cannot be safely resolved by the counsellor and client. Wherever possible the client will be informed if it becomes evident that confidentiality cannot be maintained. Exceptions to this are acts of terrorism and other UK legal requirements for breaking of client confidentiality within counselling relationships.

Under GDPR, clients and other service users have the right to ask for copies of any personal data stored by OCST and also to ask for this data to be deleted. For legal and ethical reasons OCST is required to keep limited client data for a period of seven years. Copies of any data can be provided upon request.

Online Supervisees

OCST will keep the personal data provided by supervisees (eg-online supervision agreements), in a secure and encrypted online storage facility. At the end of the supervision relationship all data will be permanently deleted. This includes any contact via email or secure online platforms used for supervision meetings.

Online Counselling and Online Supervision Students

OCST students are required to complete an application form prior to beginning training. The personal data provided within these forms is securely stored in an offline encrypted device by the tutors . At the end of training this data will be removed and permanently deleted. OCST will not pass on any personal data they have provided to a third party, or use the data as part of a mailing list, unless students have given their explicit permission for this.
Role play activities with other OST students are an integral part of the training programmes provided by OCST. These may include requesting personal data from other students in order to complete simulated assessment processes. Students are required to delete this data and any case study material from their devices or mail accounts after course work has been submitted for assessment.
The OCST course tutors will also delete copies of this material following certification of a student's course work.

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