Encompass Counselling takes your privacy and handling of your data very seriously. Encompass Counselling is a registered data controller with the Information Commission Service (ICO).  Our registration number is: ZA072720 and can be viewed on the ICO website:   www.ico.org.uk

What is this privacy notice for?

You are being given this privacy notice to let you know how Encompass Counselling collects, uses and stores your personal data and lets you know your rights.  

Who is responsible for data control at Encompass Counselling (the data protection officer) and how do I contact them?

Claire Blackburn, Counsellor and Counselling Manager: 17b Northgate, Sleaford NG34 8BH. 07704 251 237. claireblackburn@hushmail.com

What personal details will Encompass Counselling take from me?

Personal data, or details, means any information about an individual from which the person can be identified. On your request to have counselling sessions at Encompass Counselling we take, store and handle your name, telephone contact number, address, emergency contact number, your GP details, any diagnosed mental health conditions/relevant medication/treatment (past or present) and date of birth. Your details are taken in paper form.

Why do you take these details and how are they used?

Your details above are taken to help us provide you with the counselling services you have requested from us. We use your details for administration purposes and for matching you to the most appropriate counsellor. Your details are held so we can respond to any enquires you make, to investigate complaints or concerns, protect you and other people, identify and protect those at risk of harm, to keep track of the services we provide and to help us conform to ethical, legal and insurance requirements. Further explanations follow:

Name: So we can identify you in our filing system and help us maintain records.

Telephone contact number: So we can contact you if we need to rearrange or cancel a session date and time or for any other relevant reason. 

Address: If there are outstanding monies owing to Encompass Counselling by you, we may write to you at this address.

Date of Birth/Age: Knowing your age allows us to work in your best interest and can be used to provide a GP or other agencies with your DOB for identification purposes if necessary.

Emergency Contact Details: These are taken so we can call your chosen contact in the event you become ill or distressed during your session and need assistance home.

GP Details: GPs are contacted and given your name, address and date of birth to help identify you in situations where you pose a serious risk of harm to yourself. Your GP isn’t contacted for any other reason unless you request us to. If so a discussion takes place between you and your counsellor first, and you will be asked to sign a consent form.

Diagnosed mental health conditions/relevant medication and treatment: This helps Encompass Counselling tailor any counselling services offered to your individual needs and allocate you with an appropriate counsellor. Relevant medication includes any medicated treatment for depression or anxiety as an example.

Ethical and Legal requirements.  At Encompass Counselling we have a duty to share your information in certain situations under UK law. These include situations which involve the protection of a child, vulnerable adult, yourself or the public. Additionally, we are required to disclose information/details for the prevention and detection of crime or in any situation where we are required to do so by any court or law. 

Encompass Counselling can only provide/promote an effective ethical service if we have information available to us that allows us to act/work in your best interest and comply with relevant laws and ethics.

If you do not wish to give your personal data

Where we need to collect personal data by law, or under our terms of contract and you fail to provide them when requested, we would be unable to provide you with counselling sessions. 

Can I request to see my data?

Yes. Your request can be made verbally or in writing to the email or address at the end of this leaflet and we will respond within 28 days. 

You will not incur a fee for viewing your personal data. 

If you are receiving couples counselling then both parties or one half of the couple can request to view the personal data held. Depending on your situation you may be able to view them together or separately depending on the consent you give after you have had a response from Encompass Counselling.  If only one half of the couple requests to view details or you wish to view them separately then you can only view the sections of data that refer to you.  

Accuracy of Personal Details

It is important that the personal details we hold on you are accurate and current. Please keep us updated and informed of any changes. You have the right to ask us to correct any details we hold on you if they are incomplete or incorrect.

Website and Email

Encompass Counselling’s website and email address are fully compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). If you make an enquiry on our website or via email, your personal details entered are not retained or stored in any way. Details from email or website enquiries will be deleted after a reply has been sent. Claire Blackburn will respond to any email or website enquiry you make on the legal basis that by making the enquiry you consent to your details being used for the purpose of dealing with and responding to your enquiry.

Where is my personal data held?

Your data is held in lockable filing cabinets within Encompass Counselling offices. Only Claire Blackburn has full access to all client’s personal data. At times specific counsellors who have placements within Encompass Counselling may be given access to relevant personal data should they need to call you. Your data is never held or stored online. 

If you are seeing a trainee counsellor within Encompass Counselling, then your trainee counsellor will have access to your client notes.

Client notes

Client notes are kept as a requirement by professional bodies and insurance companies. They help us to keep a track on themes from your sessions and may be used in any ethical or legal complaint/issue. They differ from your personal data as no identifiable information of yours is stored in them, for example your name/address. When you request to have counselling sessions at Encompass Counselling we assign you with an individual client number which appears on your client notes instead of your name. These notes are held in a locked filing cabinet in a different file to your personal data. You have the right to view your client notes if you so wish. Please make your request verbally or in writing to Claire Blackburn and your request will be replied to within 28 days. No fee is incurred at any point. 

Couples counselling client notes can be viewed by both of the couple after a written request. If both parties request access you may be able to view them together or separately depending on the consent you give after you have had a response from Encompass Counselling.  If only one half of the couple requests to view the notes or you wish to view them separately then you can only view the sections of the notes that refer to you. Clients notes are NEVER shared with anyone outside of Encompass Counselling unless areas of the law dictate so. 

How long are client notes kept for?

Encompass Counselling only retains your client notes for as long as necessary and in line with insurance and ethical bodies requirements. Encompass Counselling cannot meet legal or ethical requirements without keeping client notes. Client notes are stored for a 5 year period after your sessions end and destroyed at that time. 

Is my data shared with third parties for marketing?

No, never. 

Will Encompass Counselling ever use my personal details to contact me for promotional purposes?

No, never.

If I have a trainee counsellor will they keep any of my personal details on them?

No, never. It would constitute a breach of your data protection rights if this occurred. All your details are strictly held in locked filing cabinets to protect your data.

Can my data be accessed by anyone outside of the agency on their request?

No. In rare cases personal data and client’s notes may be disclosed if the law requires so.

How long is my personal data held for?

Your personal data is held for the duration of your counselling sessions. When you end your sessions your data is held for a further five years in line with the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) ethical framework and insurance companies requirements. Examples of why your files/data are held for five years is they might be needed in events where you make a complaint against Encompass Counselling or one of its counsellors to a professional body, if you re-enter the counselling process, if they’re required by law after your sessions end or if you make a legal claim against Encompass Counselling or one of it counsellors for any reasons. 

Can I request my personal data is destroyed at any time?

You have the right to request that your personal details are destroyed. Please send your request in writing to Claire Blackburn and you will receive a response within 28 days. Any request to destroy personal data will be assessed in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and your particular situation. In some circumstances Encompass Counselling may have legal grounds to override your request as we have a legal basis for taking your personal information upon your request for counselling sessions. In circumstances where we are unable to destroy your data after a request we will write to you and let you know on what legal basis we are retaining your details. In situations where removal of your personal data request is accepted we would be unable to continue providing you with counselling sessions. In cases of couples counselling where one half of the partnership requests removal of personal data the above process will be followed, and sessions may end for both parties of the couple. 

Lawful Basis

Under GDPR law (General Data Protection Regulations) Encompass Counselling requests, securely stores and holds your personal details under the following legal bases:

  1. Consent – You freely give your consent for your information to be processed for specific reasons. (To deliver counselling sessions.)
  2. Contractual –  You freely enter a contract with us where processing, handling and storing your data is necessary to provide you with ethical  therapeutic practice. 
  3. Legitimate Interests: So Encompass counselling can run the practice, effectively, ethically and lawfully. Without retaining client notes/personal data for a 5 year period we cannot conform to our ethical bodies and insurance companies requirements.
  4. Legal Basis for special category data: We ask you about your current or past mental health conditions and/or relevant medication in order to work in your best interest and provide you with the most appropriate counselling. For example if you are suffering depression we invite you to tell us so we can tailor your counselling to address the needs of your depression. It is necessary for the purpose of carrying out the obligations of our contract (providing you with appropriate, ethical and safe therapy sessions) that we know this information about you. This information taken is stored on our ‘intake’ form which is only identifiable via your client number. Any such information disclosed is safeguarded and confidential. Safeguarding measures include keeping this data separate from your personal data and is only identifiable via your client number, all paperwork is kept in a lockable filing cabinet within our secure building and access is limited to Claire Blackburn and/or your trainee counsellor if appropriate. It can only be disclosed where the law dictates Encompass Counselling to do so. We legally store this information under Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulations as Claire Blackburn and all trainee counsellors are professional members of counselling and psychotherapy bodies. This means we are under an ethical obligation of confidentiality to you.

Your right to complain

You have the right to make a complaint about how your data is stored, used, processed or handled at any time. Complaints can be made at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UKs supervisory authority for data protection issues (www.ico.org.uk). Encompass Counselling would be happy to deal with any complaint in the first instance if you so wish.


Please check the website for updates to this policy. Alternatively updates to this policy are available verbally or in hardcopy form at Encompass Counselling’s offices.

Encompass Counselling

17b Northgate


NG34 8BH

07704 251 237


 11th May 2018