Confidentiality is about respecting people’s rights to a private life. In a childcare setting, certain information is required from parents (or carers) about themselves and their children, like telephone numbers, address and child health information. It is important that this information is kept securely and only accessed by the relevant people. This kind of information is called ‘confidential’. Sometimes parents, carers or children will give us information that is of a personal nature, and is not intended to be shared.

This information is therefore ‘confidential’ and we must ensure that we follow our confidentiality procedure and do not pass this information on. This information should be stored securely if it is paper-based or electronic based. If it is verbal information we have received in the setting, then we must be sure not to gossip or spread the information. In conclusion, any information given to you, that you could not find out as a member of public is likely to be confidential and should be treated as so.

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Confidentiality is important because parents need to trust us to keep their information confidential. Children’s safety/well-being may be at risk if details about their property, address, phone numbers, medical records etc. are shared publicly. The setting also has legal obligations to meet the laws and codes of practice, and breech of these laws could result in complaints or prosecution.

While maintaining confidentiality is of utmost importance, there are times where this confidentiality has to be broken. Reasons for this could be if there are concerns about a child or young person’s wellbeing or if a crime has been committed. If confidentiality has to be broken, then it is important that the correct procedures are carried out as stated in the policies of the setting. Breaching confidentiality because of a concern does not mean that you can openly talk to anyone about the information.

You should be as discreet as possible when sharing the information and, depending on the concern, have one person you pass the information on to for them to access and take appropriate action. This way other staff members or parents will not even know anything about the concerns you have raised. It is also vital that you record all information you have been given, that has caused you concern, including dates and times.