Privacy Policy


Client Privacy Policy – GDPR

Here at Olive Branch Counselling we take the protection of your personal data very seriously. This document tells you more about what data we need, why we need it, how we keep it safe and what rights you have regarding your data. 

What legal basis do we have to process your data?

Olive Branch use what’s called ‘Legitimate Interests’ to process your information (data). This means that we need your personal information in order to be able to provide you with counselling. 

Some of the information that we need from you is classed as special category data and we need your specific consent to have that information so that we can assess your mental health needs.

What is Special Category Data?

The Special Category information that we need from you, for us to be able to provide you with counselling, relates specifically to your mental and physical health history. During the assessment session you may divulge other special category information such as your gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, sex life or religion but we don’t specifically need this information to be able to provide you with counselling. 

What other data do we hold on you?

When you contact us by phone you will usually give us your name and telephone number and one of our volunteers will record this information in our message book which we keep in a locked drawer. We then record this data on a paper contact record sheet so that we can contact you to arrange an assessment session. This is kept in a file in a locked cabinet. 

If you contact us via email, you will usually give us your name and telephone number, or we will ask for it so we can contact you to arrange an assessment session. The same process is followed as phone contact. We use Outlook for our email provider and they are GDPR compliant, which means their emails are encrypted and any data you choose to share there is as safe as it can be. However, we do advise that no personal data is shared via email.

When you come in for an assessment session we need to gather a variety of information about yourself. Things like medication you take, any health issues you may have, as well as notes on your mental health and what you are hoping to discuss with your counsellor. This is kept on a paper form inside a locked filing cabinet. 

During your assessment session we will also ask you for your name, address, telephone numbers, your relationship status, any dependents, medical information, GP name and address, history of mental health and goals for counselling and whether you’ve had previous counselling before.

We need some of this data so we can match you with a counsellor whose skills and experience match your needs. We also need it so that we can keep unidentifiable demographic data of who uses our service for funding applications and statistical analysis. 

How do we keep your data safe?

Once you have had your assessment session, you are then allocated a client number. This will be used on any systems we use to process your data such as the booking system or database. No identifying information is used and nothing is stored online. 

Only two people have access to our locked filing cabinet. 

At the guidance of our professional body the ACC (Association of Christian Counsellors). We will retain any data from your counselling with us, for 3 years after your final session.
You have the right to request the erasure of your data which we will deal with on a case by case basis. 

What data do we share?

Once you have been allocated to a counsellor, they see your assessment form and all the information you have shared. They keep a copy of your telephone number in case they need to contact you regarding sessions, but this is kept safe by our counsellors storing your number only against your client number, not your name, and they will delete this information once your counselling is finished. During your counselling, your counsellor keeps your assessment form and any notes they make on the work you do together in their locked drawer in the OB office. No personal data is taken off premises. 

If you sign our gift aid form, your name and address will go to our treasurer, who needs to keep those details for the HMRC. Your data is kept on a secure encrypted memory stick and kept in a locked drawer. 

There may be an occasion where we legally have to share your information with someone. The specific and only reasons would be the following:
If you have expressed an intent/plan to commit suicide in a way that may endanger the public we have to share that with your GP or the Police.
If you or someone else is at risk from serious harm, we have to share that with your GP, the Police or Social Services.
If you tell us you have laundered or are going to launder money we have to notify the Police.
If you tell us that you have committed or are going to commit an act of terrorism we have to notify the Police. 

If you tell us that you are supplying or profiting financially from the drug trade we have to notify the Police.

If you are committing benefit fraud we have to notify the Police.

We never share your data with anyone else. 

You have a right to ask to see your data and amend any information.