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Unity Foster Care Privacy Policy

Unity Foster Care Ltd is a private limited company registered in England.  You can find our registered company information in the About Us section of this policy, and contact details on the Contact Us page of our website at www.unityfostercare.co.uk .

We operate as an independent foster care agency; recruiting, training and supporting foster carers and placing looked after children who are in the care of local authorities; with our carers. Depending on who you are, we may collect, process and share information about you, some of which could be sensitive personal information about you or your family.

Everyone has rights with regard to the way in which their personal information is handled. During the course of our activities, we will collect, store and process personal information about our carers, children, staff and third parties and we recognise that the correct and lawful treatment of this data will maintain confidence in the organisation.

Our Privacy Policy sets out the basis on which any personal information we collect from you will be processed by us.  Please read the following carefully to understand our policies and procedures on how we treat your personal information.

With regards to UK data protection laws, the data controller is Unity Foster Care, Unit 4340, First Floor, The Pentagon, Park Approach, Leeds. LS15 8GB. (referred to as “Unity”, “we”, “us” or “our” in this privacy notice).

Data protection principles

When processing your information, we must comply with the six enforceable principles of good practice. These provide that your personal information must be:

  • processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner,
  • processed for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes,
  • adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary,
  • accurate and kept up-to-date
  • kept for no longer than is necessary
  • processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security.

The information you give to us

During your interactions with us, we may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal information about you, including:

  • Data relating to your identity, such as your name, title, marital status, date of birth, gender, a copy of your passport and driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate etc
  • Personal Lifestyle Data, such as your current living arrangements, number of dependents, details of languages spoken, employment details, significant relationships, and details of any previous fostering arrangements
  • Contact Data, such as your address, email address and telephone number,
  • Financial Data, such as bank account details, national insurance number
  • Special Category Data, including your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious or philosophical beliefs and details about your health,
  • Criminal Records Data including details of any spent convictions, cautions or warnings, DBS information,
  • Medical Data, including medical assessment reports
  • Process Data; such as application forms, financial reports, references and checks
  • Transaction Data, financial information relating to payments made to, and from you
  • Technical Data, including IP addresses, your log-in data, browser type and other technical data deemed appropriate
  • Usage Data, including information about how you use our website, products and services, and
  • Marketing Data, such as your preferences in receiving marketing from us and our third parties, and your communication preferences.
  • Referral Data, placement information shared at the matching stage from local authorities relating to children or young persons.
  • Local authority care Data, covering the key care documents and information relating to children and young persons including care plan, placement plan, risk assessments, personal education plan, pathway plan and other related reports.
  • Education Data, such as children or young’s school/other educational information and grades relating to their school performance.
  • HR Data including applications forms, CV’s, references, contracts, medical information, interview documents

Special category’ data

During the course of dealing with you, we may collect information about you relating to your racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, details of any criminal convictions and details about your health (such information is known as ‘special category’ data).

This is most likely to occur if you apply to become a foster carer with Unity.

How we collect your personal information

We may obtain personal information by directly interacting with you, such as when you:

  • Apply, either hard or soft copy, to become a foster carer (application form)
  • request further information about becoming a foster carer,
  • complete consultation forms or take part in a survey
  • participate in our assessment process to become a foster carer;
  • correspond with us by phone, email, or letters

We may obtain personal information by other technical platforms, such as when you interact with our website by using cookies or Google analytics

We may also collect personal information about you from third parties, such as when you apply to transfer from a:

  • local authority or
  • fostering agency
  • Form F assessors and panel members who are involved in the application/assessment process
  • Your GP or medical practice,
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS),
  • your employer or other referees,
  • providers of technical, payment and delivery services,
  • Companies House, or the electoral register.

How we use your personal information

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

  • you have given us consent,
  • we need to perform a contract we are about to enter into, or have entered into, with you,
  • where it is necessary for our or a third party’s legitimate interests and your interests and rights do not override those interests, or
  • where we need to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation.

We will only use ‘special category’ information:

  • provided we have your explicit consent to use it,
  • where we believe that we need to use that data to protect your vital interests where you are not able to provide us with your explicit consent
  • where it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest,
  • where you have previously made that data public knowledge, or
  • if we need to use that data to establish, exercise or defence legal claims.

We will also gather and use information about the children and young people placed in our care. This information will be used to ensure we provide the safe and supportive homes we believe all young people deserve, as well as to ensure the safety of our foster carers, our staff, and the people we work with.

All information provided is private and never sold to any third party.

Purposes for which we will use your personal information

We may use your personal data for various reasons.  For each reason, we will adhere to the requirement to confirm the ‘legal basis’ that allows us to use your information, as follows:

  • To maintain records of:
    • all children placed with foster carers;
    • all persons who apply to become foster carers;
    • all approved foster carers;
    • all employees;
    • all accidents occurring to children while placed with foster parents;
  • To process your application to become a foster carer(s)
  • To carry out references and checks to determine your suitability to be a foster care, and to take the placement of a child including DBS (criminal records), personal and family references, employment references, background checks, medical information, financial information.
  • To complete your registration as an approved foster and maintain a continuous file on our electronic recording database.
  • Share placement information with local authorities
  • To notify you about changes to our policies, including this privacy policy
  • To administer our website and social media platforms
  • It will be necessary to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract. Where this involves special category data, it will be necessary for the provision of social care or treatment, or the management of health or social care systems and services.
  • It will be necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject under Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 legislation.
  • It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to ensure you are aware of our current terms and conditions
  • Where you have received marketing communications from us, we will only continue to send these with your consent.

We will only use your personal information for the purpose(s) for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.

Provision of consent and personal information

Contractually, you will need to provide us with certain personal information. If you are applying to become a foster carer, this will include your name, address, email address, telephone number, details of any criminal convictions, date of birth, employment details and bank account information.

If you do not, or cannot provide us with the required information, we will not be able to accept an application from you. We would also require relevant information from a local authority wanting to place a child, if this is not complete, we may not be able to make a relevant match. Further information will be required if a placement proceeds to support the child or young person’s care effectively.

Storage of your information

How long we will store your personal information

The length of time that we will store your data will depend on the ‘legal basis’ for why we are using that data, as follows:

Stage Timeframe Where
Foster Carers/applicants    
Enquiry: submitting an initial enquiry onto our website. If your enquiry is closed down at the first phone call, your data will be held for 28 days for reporting purposes.

If your enquiry proceeds to home visit and is then closed; your data will be stored for 12 months for reporting and monitoring.

Secure electronic database.
Application stage Part of the application form is a consent form, once we receive this from you and your application is accepted, we will keep your data for 3 years.

There is a legal basis for retaining this data.

Secure electronic database
Approved Once you become an approved foster carer; your data (including case files and other records) will be kept for at least 15 years following your departure from the agency. (in exceptional circumstances, we may be required to keep data for longer than 15 years)

There is a legal basis for retaining this data.

Secure electronic database
Records relating to Children or young people in Unity Foster Cares, care All records relating to children and young people whilst place with Unity and following the end of the placement.  This will include all records relating to accidents and significant events. These will be kept for 15 years following the last entry.  All placement recordings will be sent to the local authority.

There is a legal basis for retaining this data.

Secure electronic database.
Legal proceeding files Files that relate to legal action/proceedings that Unity has been party too bought by the local authority under s.31 of the Childrens Act 1989.  These will be kept for 15 years from date of closure.

There is a legal basis for retaining this data.

Secure electronic database.
All data including:

 

Use and storage of data that is contracted between you and us – for as long as the contract is in situ.

Use and storage of data that we are legally required to – for as long as we are legally required to

Use and storage of data for legitimate business interests - We will use/store your data until you ask us to stop. However, if we can demonstrate the reason why we are using/storing your data overrides your interests, rights and freedoms, then we will continue to use and store your data for as long as it is necessary for the performance of the contract between you and us (or, if earlier, we no longer have a legitimate interest in using/storing your data)

Use and storage of data where you have given us specific, informed and unambiguous consent – until you ask us to stop.

Secure electronic database.
Staff

 

All staff including internal and independents

Hard copy or soft copy received via email – destroyed once transferred to the electronic data base.

 

To allow us to follow robust recruitment processes and to monitor and maintain information for Ofsted, the Fostering Regulations and Local Authority Monitoring.

 

There is a legal basis for retaining this data.

Secure electronic database. If an application is successful, a staff file is opened on the electronic database, storage of all staff related documentation. This will be kept for 5 years following an employee’s resignation.

If an applicant is invited to interview, but not successful, we will retain the basic information for reference or unfair tribunal purposes.

To determine the appropriate retention period for personal information, we consider the amount, nature and sensitive of the personal information, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal information, the purposes for which we process your personal information and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.

Your rights

You have various legal rights in relation to your data, as follows:

  • You have a right to access the information we hold about you free-of-charge, together with various information about why and how we are using your information, to whom we may have disclosed that information, from where we originally obtained the information and for how long we will use your information.
  • You have the right to ask us to rectify any information we hold about you that is inaccurate or incomplete.
  • You have the right to ask us to erase the information we hold about you (the ‘right to be forgotten’). Please note that this right can only be exercised in certain circumstances and, if you ask us to erase your information and we are unable to do so, we will explain why not.
  • You have the right to ask us to stop using your information where: (i) the information we hold about you is inaccurate; (ii) we are unlawfully using your information; (iii) we no longer need to use the information; or (iv) we do not have a legitimate reason to use the information. Please note that we may continue to store your information, or use your information for the purpose of legal proceedings or for protecting the rights of any other person.
  • You have the right to ask us to transmit the information we hold about you to another person or company in a structured, recognised format. Please note that this right can only be exercised in certain circumstances and, if you ask us to transmit your information and we are unable to do so, we will explain why not.
  • Where we use/store your information because it is necessary for our legitimate business interests, you have the right to object to us using/storing your information. We will stop using/storing your information unless we can demonstrate why we believe we have a legitimate business interest which overrides your interests, rights and freedoms.
  • Where we use/store your data because you have given us your specific, informed and unambiguous consent, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.
  • You have the right to object to us using/storing your information for direct marketing purposes.
  • If you wish to exercise any of your legal rights, please contact us at enquiries@unityfostercare.co.uk
  • You also have the right, at any time, to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you believe we are not complying with the laws and regulations relating to the use/storage of the information you give us, or that we collect about you.

Your right to a copy of the information we hold about you 

You have the right at any time to request a copy of the information we hold about you. If you would like to do so, please write to us at the address below. We will respond to you within 28 days of receiving your request. (Please see/request data subject access request policy)

Data Subject Access Request

Unity Foster Care

First Floor 4340

The Pentagon

Century Way

Thorpe Park

Leeds

LS15 8GB

Sharing your information with others

We will share your information with others where we are required to do so by law, or to help safeguard the people in our care. The organisations we may share your information with include local authorities, the police, education and health authorities, as well as people who work with us to help assess your suitability to become or remain a foster carer.

We may also share information about the young people in our care where required by law, to support the education and health of our looked after children, and to ensure personal safety.

Information Security

We take our responsibilities to protect your privacy very seriously. Technical safeguards, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and data encryption are used to help ensure that your information is kept safe and only disclosed to people who are authorised to view it. Where we are required to share your information with third parties, we will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information and we will try to ensure that we only share it in ways that are secure, such as by encrypted email, using password protection or by using recorded post.

Unfortunately, information you submit online via our website, or share with us by email, can never be 100% secure. Any information you share in this way is communicated at your own risk. Where we provide you with a secure area of our websites protected by username and password you are required to keep those details confidential. Please do not share your password with anyone, including members of our staff. We will never ask you to share your password with us.

Visiting our websites and the use of Cookies

You can visit and browse our website without disclosing any personal information about yourself. Our website uses cookies. Cookies are small files of letters and numbers that are stored on your computer if you agree. They help us distinguish you from other visitors to our website to help us provide you with a good experience when you browse and it also assists us in making improvements to it.

Some of the cookies we use are analytical cookies that allow us to count the number of people who visit our website and see where they are visiting from. We use Google Analytics to help us do this.

Cookies used include:

SENT .google.co.uk
NID .google.co.uk
NID .google.com
CONSENT .google.com
1P_JAR .google.com
is_visitor_unique .statcounter.com
is_unique .statcounter.com
sc_is_visitor_unique .unityfostercare.co.uk
_gid .unityfostercare.co.uk
_ga .unityfostercare.co.uk
UULE www.googl

 

Opting out of receiving marketing communications

You can ask us to stop sending you marketing communications at any time by writing to the address at the top of this policy, or by emailing us at enquiries@unityfostercare.co.uk

DBS Privacy Policy 

Unity Foster Care will undertake relevant DBS checks on employees, foster carers, other household members, Form F assessors, panel members and other relevant third parties engaged with the agency.

Please see the relevant link providing relevant information on the DBS Standard/Enhanced Check Privacy Policy for applicants – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-privacy-policies

This also covers how the DBS will process my personal data. Where a person is undertaking Regulated Activity, it is the agency expectation that, where applicable, an Enhanced Check (including a check of the barred list) will be undertaken.

Third Party Websites

Our website may contain links to other sites.  We are not responsible for the privacy policies or practices of third-party sites. If you follow a link to any other sites, please note that such sites have their own privacy policies and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for their policies. Please check their policies before you submit any information to such sites.

Changes to our policy

Any changes we make to our policy in the future will be posted on our website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check our website frequently to see any updates or changes to our policy.

About Us

Unity Foster Care Ltd is a private limited company, registered in England and Wales under company number 09702053. Our registered office address is:

Unity Foster Care

First Floor 4340

The Pentagon

Century Way

Thorpe Park

Leeds

LS15 8ZB

Contact

If you have any questions about this policy, or if you wish to make a complaint about how we have used your personal information, please contact us by email at enquires@Unityfostercare.co.uk.

If you are not satisfied with how we handle your complaint, you are able to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner at:

Head Office Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510