Sensing Friends works from, and operates an open policy system. This ensures that management, staff, service users and all who interact with the organisation, are clear about Sensing Friends Policies and also have a voice in relation to the policy making

Sensing Friends Privacy Policy

We are a “data controller” for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 and (from 25 May 2018) the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“Data Protection Law”). This means that we are responsible for, and control the processing of, your personal information.
The Sensing Friends designated data controller office is Emma Crossland

1 Personal data we collect

We collect the personal data that you may volunteer as part of receiving our services, registering for events and completing evaluation surveys. Personal information we collect may include:
• your full name and title
• date of birth
• postal address, email address and phone number
• Information about your computer and about your visits to and use of our website including your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit and number of page views.

We will also collect and hold information about any contact you have with Sensing Friends such as:
• key issues and actions when providing services to you
• contact preferences
• details of correspondence sent to you, or received from you
• any other information provided by yourself at the request of Sensing Friends

2 Sensitive Personal Information or Special Category Data

Sensitive Personal Information can include information about a person’s physical and mental health, race, ethnic origin, political opinions, sex life, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
We collect Sensitive Personal Information from you if you use our services by telephone, email or by other means and we will treat that information with extra care and confidentiality and always in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

We use your personal sensitive information:

• for the purposes of dealing with your enquiry, offering you support, quality monitoring or evaluating the services we provide
• we will not pass on your details to anyone else without your express permission except in exceptional circumstances such as anyone reporting serious self-harm or posing a threat to others.

3 What we will do with your data

When we ask you to provide your personal information we will let you know why we are asking, and how we will use your data, by directing you towards this notice.

Data we hold will be used by us to send you information by post, telephone or electronic means. This may include:

  • informing you about services or events related to Sending Friends
  • news and updates about Sensing Friends
  • dealing with enquiries and complaints made by you

4 Lawful basis for using your information

We will only use your personal information when we have your consent or because we need to use it in order to fulfil a contract with you (for example, because you have signed up to an event or service). We would need your express consent to send you updates about future events and will send you an email requesting this consent.

We would also need your consent to share any of your data with third parties in order to deliver our services to you.

However, there are other lawful reasons that allow us to process your personal information and one of those is called ‘legitimate interests’. Sensing Friends legitimate interest in processing your information is to help us to achieve our vision of providing creative and peer support groups as well as one to one support and counselling for children and young people with a sensory needs and their family and friends also involved.

Whenever we process your Personal Information under the ‘legitimate interest’ lawful basis we make sure that we take into account your rights and interests and will not process your personal information if we feel that there is an imbalance.

If you use our services we will be storing data about you which is classed as ‘special category data’ because we will have info about your medical needs. In order to provide you with a service we need this information but we will not share this unless with your express consent.

5 Sharing your information

We may disclose information about you to Sensing Friends staff, volunteers and trustees as far as reasonably necessary for the purposes as set out in this privacy policy. In addition, we may disclose information about you:

  • to the extent that we are required to do so by law
  • in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings
  • in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk)

Except as provided in this privacy policy, we will not share your information with third parties unless with your express consent.

6 Security of your personal data

We will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information. Your data will be stored securely in locked paper files or electronically in password protected files and databases.

We will store all the personal information you provide on our secure password- and firewall- protected servers. Of course, data transmission over the internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the internet.

7 How long will we keep your data?

If you are a service user we keep your data for 7 years after you have finished working with us and then we shred and delete.

8 Your rights

If you wish to exercise any of these rights or make a complaint, you can do so by contacting our Data Processor at Sensing Friends.

You can also make a complaint to the data protection supervisory authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office, https://ico.org.uk/

• Access to your personal information

You have the right to request access to a copy of the personal information that we hold about you, along with information on what personal information we use, why we use it, who we share it with and how long we keep it for. You can make a request for access free of charge. Please make all requests for access in writing, and provide us with evidence of your identity.

• Right to object

You can object to our processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. Please contact us as noted above, providing details of your objection.

• Consent

If you have given us your consent to use personal information (for example, for marketing), you can withdraw your consent at any time.

• Rectification

You can ask us to change or complete any inaccurate or incomplete personal information held about you.

• Erasure

You can ask us to delete your personal information where it is no longer necessary for us to use it, you have withdrawn consent, or where we have no lawful basis for keeping it.

• Portability

You can ask us to provide you or a third party with the personal information that we hold about you in a structured, commonly used, electronic form, so it can be easily transferred.

• Restriction

You can ask us to restrict the personal information we use about you where you have asked for it to be erased or where you have objected to our use of it.

We understand that your personal information and privacy are important to you. We make every effort to ensure that the information you share with us is recorded accurately, retained securely and used only according to your wishes. We protect your personal information and adhere to all current data protection act legislation with respect to protecting privacy. We do not give out, sell or trade our mailing list data with third parties. The information you provide will be used primarily to deliver services to you, to gather feedback and also keep you informed about Sensing Friend’s activities. If at any time you no longer wish to receive communications from us by email or phone please contact us, see our website for contact details.

Sensing Friends Health and Safety Policy

1. Sensing Friends has a designated Health and Safety Staff Member (DHSSM) who has overall responsibility to carry out regular health and safety checks in relation to the venue, event or situation that Sensing Friends is facilitating.

Name: Pat Beach

2. The DHSSM will identify any risks in relation to the health and safety checks and resolve any identified risks to service users, staff and volunteers before attendance.

3. Any health and safety risk and the appropriate action taken is recorded in the health and safety risk book held by the DHSSM.

4. Sensing Friends has a designated First Aid Staff Member (DFASM) who has overall responsibility for dealing with any first aid. This Member of staff member will hold up to date appropriate first aid training and attend any event that Sensing Friends facilitates.
Name: Pat Beach, Emma Crossland, William Berkley Smith

5. The DFASM needs to make himself known to service users, staff and volunteers but also all staff and volunteers need to make sure they are aware of who the relevant DFASM is.

6. Any medical or first aid incident and any action taken is recorded in the incident book held by the DFASM. All relevant information in relation to this incident is then passed onto parent/ careers or others that need to know about the incident.

7. Any relevant health, allergies or medical conditions related to service users, staff and volunteers must be identified prior to attendance. Any action or support required in relation these conditions must be clearly explained to staff who will make sure the DFASM is aware of the situation.

8. Sensing Friends aims to have all staff first aid trained at a basic level.

This Policy was reviewed on
Date 07/02/19
Signed by Chairperson Penny Wright

This Policy will be reviewed again on
Date 07/02/20

Sensing Friends Confidentiality Policy

1. At Sensing Friends we believe that everyone one has the rights to their own privacy and we respect that everyone we connect with through the organisation has the right to confidentiality. All aspects of a persons personal information will be treated by the organisation as confidential.
Sensing Friends uses Write Up, a data protected, safe secure online database to hold records confidentially and securely

2. Any personal information about an individual that is specific to them will be treated in confidence.

3. When discussing individuals in relation to supporting them such as in supervision we will discuss only the relevant personal information in a confidential, impartial and non judgmental way.

4. It is important that a persons personal information is only shared with trusted members within the organisation and that, unless we are required by law or the person is in danger of coming to serious harm or harming other*, or permission has been granted from the person concerned stating clearly that relevant information can be passed on, this information will not be shared beyond trusted, individuals within the organisation.

5. If we do have to take confidential information outside the organisation for legal or safeguarding reasons we will endeavour to discuss this matter first with the individual with a view to seeking their consent and agreeing on a suitable way of disclosure for the persons concerned.

6. Any records or notes will be recorded using a client number without using personal information, such as names, so as to maintain the individuals privacy.

7. Records and notes will be kept confidential and stored securely either electronically or as a hard copy.

Sensing Friends Safeguarding Policy

1. Sensing Friends has a designated safeguarding staff member (DSSM) of staff who has overall responsibility for dealing with the organisations safeguarding referrals. The DSSM will be suitably qualified to take overall leadership responsibility in this area.

Name: Moira Vincent

2. All staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with the Sensing Friends safeguarding policy.

3. All staff will undertake essential safeguarding training overseen by the Sensing Friends DSSM. The training of all staff will be updated regularly.

4. All staff will have appropriate, satisfactory, DBS checks insuring that they meet the necessary current safeguarding legal requirements for staff working with vulnerable individuals. The DSSM will organise essential DBS checks for all staff.

5. Sensing Friends staff who have Safeguarding concerns will raise the issues firstly with the DSSM and seek their advice. In extreme cases where a serious safeguarding threat has been disclosed and the DSSM cannot be reached a member of staff must contact the Front Doors For Families team themselves.

6. If it is felt that a safeguarding issue is occurring at the current moment, while the disclosure is taking place staff must alert the police immediately using 999.

7. Disclosures related to possible safeguarding concerns from a service user to a member of staff must be handled in a sensitive may, respecting where possible the service users autonomy and confidentiality.* Please see related Sensing Friends Standard Safeguarding Referral Procedures Document.

8. In the case of disclosures that do not pose an imminent risk, to the service users or relevant others such as involved family members, it is important that safeguarding concerns are first discussed in supervision, with the service user and relevant others before a Safeguarding referral is made to Front Doors For Families, this is important to maintain trust with service users.

9. All safeguarding referrals must be documented and where possible disclosed to service users, this is important to maintain trust with service users.

10. Sensing Friends will use regular external objective consultations, as supervision, from suitably experienced and qualified professionals in relation to the ongoing social and emotional issues that may arise when working with service users.

Sensing Friends Standard Safeguarding Referral Procedures

1. If a Sensing Friends member of staff or volunteer receives a disclosure from a service user that raises safeguarding concerns it is important that where possible this is discussed in a sympathetic way, in more detail with the service user. The aim in doing this is firstly to highlight to the service user that the member of staff or volunteer has recognised the disclosure as raising a safeguarding issue. Secondly further discussion will enable the member of staff to gather further important information that may need to be passed onto the Front Doors For Families team.

2. With general safeguarding concerns, after consulting the DSSM and seeking their advice, the member of staff will speak to the service user and inform them that they are going to make a referral to the front doors for families team. This needs to be done sensitively after supervision has been received in relation to discussing this with the service user.

*Where disclosure about the pending Front Doors For Families referral might cause more risk in relation to the safeguarding issue it might be advised by the supervisor or DSSM that the Front Doors For Families referral needs to happen before discussing it with the service user. These type of referrals will only happen if it’s deemed that vulnerable individuals may be at risk of more harm if the disclosure of the pending Front Doors For Families referral was disclosed to the service user.

3. After carrying out the above steps the member of staff or volunteer will contact the Front Doors For Families team and pass on the information to the team.

4. After the referral is made the member of staff or volunteer must record the incident in the Sensing Friends incident book

5. When the service user is next contacted or spoken to the member of staff or volunteer needs to inform the service user that the referral has been made and that someone from the Front Doors For Families team will be contacting them.

6. Any further disclosures relating to the safeguarding issue need to be discussed in supervision and either also reported to the Front Doors For Families team but also recorded in the incident book as they may be relevant and needed by the Front Doors For Families team.

7. The service user will need support and reassurance in relation to the referral and it is important that the member of staff or volunteer facilitates this by talking it through individually with the service user. This process needs to be supported for the member of staff or volunteer with the aid and advice of the DSSM or supervisor.

This Policy was reviewed on
Date 07/02/2019
Signed by Penny Wright (Chairperson)

This Policy will be reviewed again on
Date 07/02/20

Sensing Friends Equality Policy

1.1 Sensing Friends believes in equality for everyone and upholds equality for everyone in all its interactions with other people. There will be no case where not treating individuals equally and or discrimination against an individual or individuals will be accepted or tolerated within the organisation.
1.2 Sensing Friends recognised that discrimination exists in our society in many forms. Examples of discrimination, but not inclusive of all types, are prejudices around race, gender, disability, mental health, sexual orientation, belief and or religion. Sensing Friends challenges discrimination in any form.
Sensing Friends recognised that discriminating behaviour takes form in many ways. Discrimination can be direct and or indirect, conscious and or unconscious.
Examples of discriminating behaviour, but not inclusive of all types of behaviour, are stigmatising, bullying, discounting, name calling, *ostracising, excluding, using derogatory terms to refer to someone.
1.3 Trustees, committee members, staff and Volunteers at Sensing Friends have a responsibility to address any discrimination that is witnessed or suspected in relation to individuals involved with Sensing Friends. If such a situation arises then the Trustee, committee member, staff or volunteer will discuss it with the organisation and after considering the specific situation appropriate action will be taken to address it.
1.4 In the case where Trustees, committee members and / or Sensing Friends staff, volunteers feel that the discrimination has happened through a lack of awareness, knowledge or understanding in relation to the discrimination by individuals carrying it out, Sensing Friends staff, volunteers and management will seek to address this by assisting in informing/ educating those concerned about the implications and issues around such discrimination to others can have on them.

Complaints Policy/ Procedure

This Policy was reviewed on
Date 07/02/2019
Signed by Chairperson Penny Wright

This Policy will be reviewed again on
Date 07/02/2020