Policies

Confidentiality
Policy

The HelpLine is committed to providing a high quality service to individuals from the Jewish  Community facing challenges. We hold the privacy and dignity of those seeking our support  in high regard, and we recognise the importance of confidentiality in our interactions with  individuals who contact us for help. It is important that anyone contacting The HelpLine has  complete confidence and trust in our services. Our service is confidential, and we protect any  information that individuals choose to share with us. The HelpLine therefore operates  through an independent telephone system and app, which acts to remove the caller’s number  before it comes through to The HelpLine. Calls, SMS text and WhatsApp conversations are  therefore completely anonymous, conversation histories remain within an anonymous  conversation thread. The HelpLine therefore hold no identifiable personal information  regarding the telephone number called from. No one within The HelpLine can access that  information.  

The HelpLine is instead provided with an anonymous identifier, so we are able to keep  general records of previous calls (see Record Keeping below). However, we have no way to  link this to a telephone number or a person’s name. Where identifiable information, such as  real name is shared, this will not be recorded, and callers are encouraged to give an alternate  name they wish the person taking the call to use during a call.  

Any information that an individual discloses to a member of The HelpLine, support email or  live chat team, (both staff and volunteers) is treated respectfully and sensitively. The team  work closely to ensure that individuals receive the best support we can offer, so sometimes it  is necessary to share information within the team. Personal information conveyed to The  HelpLine will not be shared with HelpLine and non-HelpLine (including support email and  live chat) staff and volunteers or external organisations without explicit and informed consent  (other than in the exceptional circumstances listed below). Sometimes in order to help an  individual we may need to liaise with external organisations so that we can provide effective  support, e.g. contacting other support agencies or counsellors. In these circumstances we will  ask for permission to share any relevant information needed at that time, which will not be  stored. 

The Jewish community is relatively small, and all staff and volunteers sign a confidentiality  agreement that they will respect confidentiality and privacy policies even where they may  think they know someone. This is to provide assurance to callers that they can call us in confidence. It is good practice to hand over a call to another volunteer if personal knowledge  could compromise the caller or person responding to the call.  

Exceptional circumstances and limitations to confidentiality 

As we do not hold or have access to callers’ numbers there are no instances when we are  unable to maintain our commitment to confidentiality. If a caller provides information in  extremis we will agree the purpose of that information, e.g., to call an ambulance and that  

information is not retained. Calls are not recorded. Calls can be listened into in real time by  The HelpLine’s supervisors for quality assurance and training purposes only. Again, no  identifiable information is recorded or stored. 

Record Keeping

Individuals may provide information of a personal and sensitive nature about their health,  finances, work circumstances or personal difficulties during calls. A record of the discussion  will be kept to ensure that the appropriate response is provided, particularly if the individual  contacts The HelpLine again. Notes may record the key points or issues raised, the  information given by HelpLine staff/volunteers, relevant background information and any  follow-up action. Access to this information is limited to staff only on a need-to-know basis. 

We keep computer-based records of all the information provided to us. All personal and  sensitive data is processed in accordance with the requirements of the General Data  Protection Regulation 2018. 

We collect routine statistical information about those using our services, which is  anonymised and used for reporting and evaluation purposes. This information may be  summarised and used in The HelpLine publications. We take great care to ensure that no  individually identifiable information is disclosed. 

The period for which records are held before destruction is informed by current data  protection legislation and good practice within the HelpLine sector. 

Access to Records 

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (2018) individuals have the right to access  information held about them. Individuals may request a copy of the personal data held about  them by The HelpLine by emailing info@thehelpline.org.uk Information which is truly  anonymous is not covered by the UK GDPR and to be absolutely clear, we do not hold any  identifying information on any individual calling The HelpLine. Individuals may call or  contact our offices for other purposes such as for newsletter or volunteering and contact  information may be stored for those purposes only.  

Rigorous Recruitment 

We adhere to the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP) Key Standards for  Recruitment and guidelines for recruiting all staff and volunteers, paid or unpaid by obtaining  full personal details and application forms with particular relevance to previous work with  children and young people, and vulnerable adults. We operate a similar safe recruitment  process for volunteers. 

We always take up two written or documented verbal references and insist that any  appointment, will only be confirmed subject to a satisfactory DBS check at the appropriate  level. For overseas volunteers the equivalent process will be access by the individual  themselves. For Israeli citizens this is Certificate attesting existence/non-existence of a  Criminal Record and for US citizens this Identity History Summary/Rap Sheet (or Proof One  Does Not Exist).  

At interview we have sound procedures and recording to ensure we are satisfied and can  evidence that the applicant is appropriate and suitable. We aim to have at least one person on  each interview panel will have undertaken Safer Recruitment Training.

Induction & Training 

We have a clear induction and training strategy. All new staff and volunteers will undertake  induction that covers protection and safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults before  taking calls on the HelpLine. All staff and volunteers will have on-going training in  safeguarding and protection. 

Confidentiality 

We have a clear policy covering confidentiality and information sharing and these details will  be made available to all adults, children, parents and carers through The HelpLine’s website. 

May 2023