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There are 8 principals principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 these can range from accurate of personal data to personal data being processed in accordance with the rights of data protection act. This question will look at four of the main principals.
- personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.( This fourth principal of the data protection act is about keeping up to date with personal information and the accuracy of it. When implementing this principal into everyday business it is not always the easiest thing to do. However this principal of the act would help employers to help employer to store information as accurately as possible. When adopting this principal within a child care setting accuracy plays a big part for example, much of the information recorded by the child care provider may be required by HMRC to claim benefits for children in their care by parents. This information is needed by the parent in order for them to provide information to receive the correct amount of benefits. HMRC will calculate how much money can be provided to assist parent to receive care for their children. Not only is this information beneficial to parents but is beneficial for the child care provider this will help them to calculate business tax. If the child care provider is self employed and is working on a private basis, this information would be useful to complete self assessment tax return. Child minders, are encouraged to complete accounts which detail every financial transaction that is made. Good point. Accuracy is also important to ensure the children are kept safe.
- Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purpose. (This principle contains commonly asked guidance as to how long data should be kept for before it is destroyed. The act is not specific about the length of time data should be held for, but gives guidance on good practice so that organisations are better informed to write their own policies. A child care setting must be aware of this principal and comply by making sure that records are kept only for its purpose and no longer than deemed.
- Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.( A child care provider should be specific about the reasons fir requiring the information to be gathered, and what they are going to use it for. If, after collection the data, it is decided to use the information for another purposes, consideration, should, be given as to whether this is fair to the individual. if you wish to use data for an additional purpose, further consents should be obtaining from the individual and securely held.
- Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes or purposes for which they are processed.( Childcare providers must ensure that they uphold this principal by ensuring that all data stored on individual i.e. staff, parents, children is relevant to serve its purpose. For example the provider should not hold information on individuals where not deemed necessary for business or other purposes.
Evaluate the need for accurate, legible and up to date record keeping, and indentify the consequences for non-compliance.
An integral part of a successful child care setting is its administration department. Administration and records should be kept in a logical and protected manner and should be clear and formatted and easy to understand. In regards to a child care setting there will be several different types of information which will be needed and stored. The main purpose of the child care provision is the safe guarding of children. Sometimes this information would need to be accessed by outside agencies. As mentioned above accuracy plays a big part in the data protection act and also in the running of a successful child care setting. Not only does accurate information help parents to provide information to HMRC to receive benefits but also, to aid the business in tax and other financial responsibilities. if this information was not accurate and precise parents claiming benefits could receive the wrong amount of money to receive childcare and also the business could be affected by wrong taxable income. Health and safety records must also be accurate and precise when considering a child care environment. For example the listing of medication and allergies of children is integral if this information is correctly and accurately documented staff and other members would be aware of the Childs need. The correct dosage of medication would be administered and allergies to certain products could be avoided. If this information was incorrect and not documented children could fall ill and be put in a medical dangerous position. All special requirements regarding children should be adhered to at all levels avoiding mistakes and inaccuracy.
legible records are essential from a safety perspective. Scruffy or illegible writing is dangerous, particularly if the information is written on a medical or child information record, and is not clear. Legibility is also important from a financial perspective, to ensure that correct information is submitted to the HMRC for tax purposes. In a child care setting where there is more than one worker or staff member it is vital that all recorded information is legible and accurate. This is to avoid mistakes and ensure that children information is documented in a clear manner, for example child journals and where food and medication are documented. If this information was not legible it would increase the risk of safety of children being breached and could result in accidents such as a child receiving a double dosage of medication.
There are some general rules of some that should be considered concerning legible information:
- Where possible, Information should be recorded in black ink. It is considered that black ink is more legible, and is clearer to read if it is photocopied.
- Handwriting should be legible.
- Changes to documentation, such as the child medication form, should be signed and dated.
- it is good practice not to use white correction fluid when amending records as they should be transparent according to the Data Protection Act, and not covered up with a physical barrier. Mistakes should be crossed through with a line so that they still.
Up-to-date information is particularly important with regard to medication changes, food requirements and particular needs that a child may have. Having up to date contact information is highly important, for example if in case of an emergency of a child not being able to contact parents due to mobile numbers being not in use is the worst case scenario.
Explain the different ways of recording digital and paper records in the child care setting. Digital data can be a very unpredictable way of storing data as computers are unpredictable. Adequate methods should be adopted when using digital record keeping this is to ensure in case of computer malfunction digital records could be safe guarded to ensure that filed can be retrieved from the system. There are several methods available for doing this.
- Save on to portable hard drive
- Backing up data on a regular basis
- All portable hard drives should be stored safely and securely
The data is stored on the computer should be protected by a password. When you switch a computer on, the settings allow a desktop password to be employed. This should be used so that if the laptop is ever stolen, the data contained within it will be safe.
If the use of desktops is permitted for children within the childcare setting it is beneficial to have a separate pc which allows them to do this separate from pc holding records and personal information. This prohibits children from accessing personal data or information which is private and confidential and reducing the risk of deleting files and records. This simple rule will also ensure confidential to data stored in the PC.
Paper records in some respects require a different type of storage to digital media. Paper records are general more accessible and so should be stored safely and securely depending of the type of information that is recorded. For example records which contain information regarding a child's medication or special requirements should be easily accessible. However such information regarding financial information of staff payments etc should be stored in a locked cupboard. Where paper records are concerned safe storage should be considered especially to avoided and damp area as this would destroy the information recorded and stored. If keeping paper records as opposed to digital records the child care provider should consider storing records and documentation in a lock filing cabinet. this will ensure that they are in their own dedicated area and having an added security feature. If working in a home child cares getting it would be advantageous to purchase a filing cabinet which would resemble furniture.
There are two main types of primary data storage, one being digital and the other being paper. There are many ways in which digital records can be stored and secured such as:
- Portable Hard drives
- Mobile Phones
All these devices can be a useful tool to store information in a business child care setting. However many of these if not all are susceptible to theft. Many of these devices can be password locked which is a useful tool as it prevents people who should not have access from accessing personal data, Records and files which are stored using a digital format could be backed up and secured within the device and multiple storage devices could be obtained. With the sue of password and pin this acts a good security feature. However paper records would not have the same benefits.
Storing of paper records could be bulky and unsecure if not locked away in a secure filing cabinet or cupboard, data could be easily accessible. Not only is the security of paper records not as efficient as digital records but also be inefficient in backing up. For example with a digital device a small USB stick would hold many record and files, however, if multiple copies of records are needed when using paper format this would result in many pages needing large amount of storage space. Another thing to consider regarding paper records is damage/ Paper records could easily be destroyed in fires and water damage, which would result in a lot of work in order to retrieve the files. Whereas if you using a digital method of storage this could be easily done with minimum destruction and effort. If working in a child care setting this is useful to record and maintain a file and personal data in a digital format. This would be easier, more secure and easy to back up.
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