Implementation of Data Protection Act in Childcare
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Published: Wed, 22 Nov 2017
- Choose and evaluate four of the 8 Data protection Act principles, providing examples of how these would be implemented in a child care setting.
- Data should be fairly and lawfully processed.
This means data collected must be obtained legally and without any deceit. The child care setting will require written consent from each individual’s child’s parents/ guardian/ carer in order for personal data to be collected and processed. In this respect it will be taken that consent is implied through the following:
- Clients – by the parent/ carer who signs the registration forms and appropriate consent forms as a ‘contract for nursery care’ for their child/ children.
- Employees – by completing the job application form at onset of employment, and where the employee has not registered an objection to their data being used. Good explanation.
- Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
This is the third data protection principle. In practice, it means you should ensure that:
You hold personal data about an individual that is sufficient for the purpose you are holding it for in relation to that individual, and you do not hold more information than you need for that purpose. You should identify the minimum amount of personal data you need to properly fulfil your purpose.
Child carer should identify the minimum amount for children of personal data they need to properly fulfil their purpose. They should hold that much information but no more. This is part of the practice known as “data minimisation”.
- Personal data shall be accurate and where necessary kept up to date.
This is the fourth data protection principle. Although this principle sounds straightforward, the law recognises that it may not be practical to double check the accuracy of every item of personal data you receive. So the Act makes special provision about the accuracy of information that individuals provide about themselves or that is obtained from third parties
In a child care setting, every child care provider shall keep current records of child and family information for each child enrolled during the period of enrolment and for a period of at least two years after discharge, which shall include
- All child information
- Parent information
- Telephone number of the parent or guardian while the child is attending the child care centre
- Name, address and telephone number of a person designated by the parent or guardian to be contacted in the event of an emergency if the parent or guardian is not available
- Records of any medical, physical, developmental or emotional conditions relevant to the care of the child
- Each child’s Manitoba Health registration and personal health identification numbers and name of the child’s physician
- Where applicable, copies of separation agreements, court orders or other documents setting out custody arrangements for each child.
- Parents to keep carer updated with any change of personal change i.e. change of address, divorce, separation, etc.
Child care regulations require attendance reports to be kept and available for inspection for a period of two years. However, centres are advised to consider keeping attendance reports longer for other purposes, such as income tax
To comply with these provisions child carer should:
- Take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of any personal data they obtain.
- Ensure that the source of any personal data is clear carefully consider any challenges to the accuracy of information and consider whether it is necessary to update the information.
You could also recognise here, the importance of accurate and up-to-date child information records.
- Data should be securely stored
Personal data and records will be maintained under appropriate conditions of security to prevent any unauthorised or accidental disclosure. Records can be hard copy (paper) format and computer files. Particular attention is paid to the following aspects of the record storage.
Hard copy file.
- Identification of storage;
- Identification of those employees authorised to have access.
- Password- protection for access to sensitive data files:
- Who is authorised to have knowledge of these passwords
- Back up, control and management of what are essentially copies of personal data.
In child care setting when personal data is being processed, staff will take reasonable precautions to prevent sighting of data by unauthorised persons:
- Record files are locked away when are not in use.
- Where practical computer screens should be tilted towards the user and away from the general office environment;
- Computers are not left on when not in use to secure the children delete the recording data or either the carer should put separate computer special for children.
- Evaluate the need for accurate, legible and up to date record keeping, and identify the consequences of non-compliance.
It is important to keep records which are up to date to provide accurate, current, comprehensive and concise information concerning the condition and the care required for all individuals.
- Accurate, legible and up to date record keeping provide the basic for planning and help to insure that children’s natural desire to discover, explore and learn are supported and encouraged.
- Keeping goods record help staff and carer to see a picture of the whole child over a period of time and understand children as part of a family and as member of the community, also will help other member to carry on if the key person is absent
- Record should be kept in a clear and logical manner, using clear language that can be understood.
- Accurate information needs to be recorded so that parents can pass this on to HMRC for the calculation of tax and benefits that they are entitled to.
- From a healthy and safety accurate records are necessary to insure that correct medication is administered when necessary for children and that allergy information and special requirements are adhered to. A good point.
- Legibility is also needed because is important from a financial perspective, to insure that correct information is submitted to the HMRC for tax purposes.
- All records which are produced weather written or electronic must be signed and dated, they must also be stored correctly in accordance with that data protection act 1998. It is vital that records are kept up to date, as this ensures that the individual’s needs are being met, and may also help to reduce the likelihood of abuse.
- Service users must be involved and informed about any changes made within their personal records and care plan files; this may also include medical or social service records
- Effective record keeping by health care workers can also ensure that a high standard of health and social care is being provided within the working environment; all information written in files must be clear and relevant and must never be discussed outside of a working environment as this would again breach the customer confidentiality law, the law also states that if it’s not written down, then it never happened, so this is yet another reason as to why it is so important to keep up to date records, regarding an individual’s general health and well-being.
- It is important to keep the record information clearly so everyone who will ever need to have an access to them will not struggle to understand them or read them.
- Accurate and up-to-date recording is important especially when there is an emergency and the staff-in-charge is not available due to illness, vacation, resignation, etc. Good records and documentation will facilitate communication between service providers to ensure coordinated, rather than fragmented service.
Consequences of non-compliance
- The record will not be easily searchable.
- If records are not update in child care setting child carer might be getting the wrong tests and wrong treatments to a child, if they weren’t accurate, they might get wrong medication dosage and if the writing isn’t legible, the child care nurses would not be able to read and carry out the doctor’s orders.
- May not have backup unless copied on routine basis or carbon-copied. Requires legible handwriting Pages may fall out – this can be remedied by the use of reinforced whole paper.
- In child care setting is very important to keep the dada accurate, legible and up to date in case of any absent of someone, anyone in the setting can know exactly what to do as the records shown. Good, an important point discussed.
- Explain the difference ways of recording digital and paper records in the child care setting
Digital recording is the translation and transcription of sound into an on-off format (binary). This binary transcription is called a digital recording, and is done by an analogy to digital converter (ADC). A digital recording can be translated back into sound by computers and other playback devices. (This is a definition of a digital sound recording and is not necessary for this question)
Ways of recording digital and paper records in the child care setting are:-
- Portable hard drives: – This is a piece of equipment that sits outside of a computer or laptop on its own enclosure, the easiest way in child care setting is to use it for backup as it can be plugged in the computer and data recorded or saved onto it, this can be done by saving each individual file or folder for the children and stored securely in a closed cabinet or safe.
- Computer or laptop is also a digital recording means which used in almost every child care settings. Child carers are using computer program as record keeping devices to keep the record of children’s friendship groups, spontaneous play experiences, attendance records, and children academic progress records. These records can be used in mind mapping exercises to plan for children’s long term learning and development.
- Child care providers also using digital cameras to assist children to record their own activities or learning experiences when there in the setting.
- Other devices like USB flash drive and CDs are also used to record digital data in child care settings. These devices can be put together with child’s folder.
- USB Flash. CDs and DVDs
Some centres still favour paper-based methods of recording information.
This includes day-to-day snapshot recording done on Post-its. At the end of the session these are transferred into the child’s individual record or on to the planning sheet as a way of planning the following day’s activities, and to take account of individual children’s interests.
Some centres adopt a ‘Plan do and review’ approach, and the children are encouraged to record their own interests or what they have done that morning on a large sheet of paper or on a whiteboard. This recording can be done on their behalf by an adult or they can draw their own picture.
Child home book. A home book is a book that the child brings from nursery to home and then back again, and is a way of encouraging two-way dialogue. This is helpful for the staff and alerts them on how to prepare the child for whatever changes that are happening at home.
For example, in Great ones Nursery the children go to their key worker at the end of the morning to review what they have enjoyed that day. Kylie tells her key worker that she really liked shining the torch through some coloured glass. The key worker writes this down. Timmy says he liked playing with the cars best and he draws a picture of a car to illustrate this point
- Identify the primary types of data storage for digital and paper records, and evaluate the best option for a home child care setting.
- Digital storage, would be stored on any normal computer hard drive, as well as backed up at least twice on external hard drives which are stored at various locations “Media doesn’t truly exist unless there are 3 copies” You store these at different locations, stops the loss of data through theft and fire as it’s spread over locations.
- Encryption for digital files is also recommended, as it would then be far harder for any thief or unknown person to gain access to any saved data and media Source(s).
- Paper storage would obviously be in Ring binders or folders in plastic wallets and envelops marked with sticky labels for dates and times etc. sorted numerically.
- Files should be stored on their spine with the file pin at the bottom of the box. Where a file only consists of individual documents or items and they can be stored flat on the bottom of a box – take care not to stack too many items on top of one another or retrieval may be difficult and damage items at the bottom
- In a Home child care Settings a dedicated space must be appointed for storage of both digital and paper data storage. The folders or ring binders must be kept in a secured drawer or cabinet which is locker able and easily accessible. The computer and all other files are perfect in child care setting but should be in a specific room (Home Office) that not everybody can access them that is not required or associated with the childcare business this includes members of the family.
Ether all are perfect for child care setting but paper records should not be stored on the top of shelving units. Files may be too close to ceiling lights and exposed to dust and in the event of fire, water damage from fire sprinklers.
Aisles between shelving should allow easy access to, and transport of records.
Suitably sized tables should be located near storage cabinets, so that staff can safely check the contents and retrieve items from boxes and drawers.
Storage drawers should be clearly labelled with their contents so that items may be retrieved with a minimum of handling.
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