Our Policies

Confidentiality

Policy

  1. All personal information is stored and shared in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act (1993), the Health and Disability Information Privacy Code (1994),The Health Information Regulation (1996) and HELP staffs' Professional Code of Ethics.​

  2. HELP respects that information shared by a client belongs to the client. However, appropriate client information may be shared within the agency, as deemed necessary for the client's safety and wellbeing.

  3. Client information will not be shared with others unless:​

    • The client gives permission, preferably in writing

    • There are significant issues of safety or wellbeing that legally or ethically require HELP staff to breach confidentiality

    • HELP is legally required to meet accountability and contractual requirements of government funding agencies

    • HELP staff and ACC Contractors are summoned to give evidence in court proceedings or HELP is subpoenaed to provide case notes in relation to the court​​

  4. Where HELP suspects a child or young person may have been abused or if a worker has reason to believe that a child is unsafe  or in need of care and and protection, a notification will be made to Oranga Tamariki.

Procedure

All clients receiving services from HELP are made aware at the initial assessment of the confidentiality policy and of the limitations to client confidentiality as outlined above. 

All clients receiving counselling or social work services discuss, sign and receive a written confidentiality agreement outlining HELP's policy. When a client refuses to sign the confidentiality agreement this is recorded clearly on their individual file.

Procedures when client confidentiality is limited:

  • Harm to self or others

    • If there is reason to believe that a client is in danger of harming themselves or someone else, the staff member will discuss this with the appropriate emergency service. Where possibly, the staff member/ACC contactor​ will inform the client of their ethical responsibility to involve emergency services for safety reasons. If the person is under the age of 17, a parent or guardian will also be notified.

  • Team case management within the agency

    • HELP staff and ACC contractors work as a team and as such client information may be shared within the agency, as deemed necessary for client safety and wellbeing and the maintenance of agency and professional best practice. ​

  • Individual case management during supervision

    • All HELP staff and ACC contactors work as a team and as such client information may be shared within the agency, as deemed necessary for client safety and wellbeing and the maintenance of agency and professional best practice. ​

  • MSD Community Investment (CI) contractual requirements

    • As part of accountability to CI, HELP service delivery, policy and procedures are regularly audited. This process may involve auditing individual files of HELP clients. All clients will be informed of this as part of their intake into the service. Confirmation of this will be included in the client files. ​

    • If a client objects to their file being audited by CU this must be notes clearly on the front of the file. While it is impossible to maintain some clients who can sit outside of the CYF audit process this must be the exception rather than the rule.

    • In the event of closure the details of clients, with open case files and who are funded by CI and who have not been transferred to another provider, may be requested by CI to ensure appropriate follow up and access to services. 

  • ACC-funded clients

    • Reporting requirements for ACC funded clients are determined by ACC requirements and should be discussed with the client to ensure a thorough understanding.​

 

Code of Ethics

Policy

This document is a framework for ethical practice.

For the purposes of this document “workers” shall be taken to mean all workers associated with HELP, including ACC contractors, other contractors, volunteers and trustees, unless otherwise specified.

Fundamental to this Code is the responsibility of every worker to self, to clients, to the organisation and its community, and to the provision of service. Workers primary responsibility is to their clients. Workers also have a responsibility to their colleagues and to HELP and are entitled to respect within all their relationships.
 

This Code of Ethics includes:

  • Ethical principles

  • Ethical decision making

  • Ethical complaints procedure

1.   Ethical Principles

1.1.   HELP requires high professional standards

All workers will endeavour to:

 

  • Uphold the mission, vision and values of HELP at all times.

  • Act with integrity, and maintain and improve the quality of service provided by HELP.

  • Act responsibly and to avoid unnecessary compromise and to use HELP’s resources responsibly and appropriately.

  • Seek continuous improvement through regular professional development and on-going training and up-skilling.

  • Work within their professional expertise and in areas of practice where they maintain their expertise through regular supervision.

  • Where workers consider that they have reached the limits of their expertise, they refer clients to more appropriate staff within HELP, or to an outside the agency.

  • Workers promote cooperation with others to further professional interests and concerns.

  • To work and act with integrity with clients, and maintain and improve the quality of service provided by the organisation.

1.2.   HELP requires respect for human dignity

HELP wants to deliver a service that reflects fairness and social equity. HELP does this by ensuring that workers:

  • Demonstrate respect and competency in working with the client’s customs, values and spiritual beliefs.

  • Support and protect a client’s cultural identity, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, political beliefs, abilities, disabilities or lifestyle.

  • Deliver a service that is acceptable to the client within the parameters of HELP’s mandate to operate.

  • Terminate their services to clients in a suitably therapeutic professional manner when either the worker and/or the client decides that continuation is no longer in the interest of either party.

  • Acknowledge that service boundaries should be provided and respect for self within a therapeutic relationship is maintained.

  • All HELP workers will treat each other with respect, courtesy and responsibility. Acting always toward one another, in fairness and good faith.

1.3.   HELP requires confidentiality and privacy

HELP does this by requiring workers to:

  • Respect client’s right to privacy and take every measure to preserve the confidentiality of information obtained in the course of their work.

  • Explain to clients any limitations on their ability to preserve confidentiality: such limits may be placed where there is clear or imminent danger to the client’s or others safety.

  • Uphold the principle of free and informed consent; no information will be shared without consent.

  • Permit clients, when requested, to check any documentation with regard to their case-notes.

  • Respect professional confidences regarding the clients of other workers. Counsellors will not solicit the clients of colleagues.

1.4.   HELP requires provision and maintenance of a trusting environment for clients, and amongst workers

HELP does this by requiring workers to:

  • Avoid any practices that may be seen as taking advantage of clients: this includes taking advantage for personal, institutional, political, financial or sexual gain.

  • At no time suggest or require a client to provide any advocacy services on behalf of HELP or any other related body.

  • Declare any conflict of interest in relation to the client which may affect their ability to provide comprehensive treatment. Any conflicts, real or perceived, should be discussed in clinical supervision and with the Chief Executive.

  • Make every effort to obtain as much information as possible directly from the client.

  • Uphold the client’s right to self-determination at all times: where it is assessed that a client is not capable of such self-determination workers will ensure that their best interests, rights and well-being are protected.

1.5.   HELP requires honesty, integrity and fairness in all dealings with clients and colleagues

HELP does this by requiring workers to:

  • Be aware of the need to avoid any action which may damage the trust of their clients or bring their colleagues into disrepute.

  • Be honest in admitting any limits to their capabilities where clients are concerned.

  • Understand that their biases must be put to one side when dealing in an open and sincere way with each client.

  • Declare with both the client and the Chief Executive where any potential or real conflict of interest in dealing with a client exists

 

All clients are entitled to fairness in the quality of processes, procedures and services being offered by HELP regardless of cultural identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, age, religion, political beliefs, abilities, disabilities or lifestyle.
 

1.6.   HELP requires all workers to demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity 

HELP does this by requiring workers to:

  • Pro-actively work to honour HELP’s obligations under the Te Tiriti o Waitangi through using an article-based framework to underpin and guide their work with tangata whenua.

  • Practice with complete and positive regard for the socio-cultural beliefs and practices of every client.

  • Be familiar with the appropriate legislation (Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act) which aims to enhance the rights of all cultures within New Zealand.

2.   Ethical Decision Making

Workers may take action through the channels set out below against unethical conduct by other workers, particularly where it is harmful to clients.

Workers will communicate to the Chief Executive any organisational issues which they regard to be barriers to supporting their carrying out their ethical obligations.

Workers should also refer to complaints/disputed policies.

Workers may take action to:

  • Identify individuals potentially affected by decision making.

  • Identify ethically relevant issues and practices, including interests and rights of the individuals involved, and the circumstances in which the ethical problem arose. Apply consideration for potential personal bias, personal stress or influences which may have contributed to a course of action. Analyse short-term, long term or on-going risks and the benefit of any/each course of action on the individuals involved- client, client’s whānau/family, workers, students, HELP as an organisation etc. 

  • Select a course of action after considered application of values, principles and systems as set down in organisational policies and procedures. Plan action to be taken. This includes a commitment to assuming responsibility for the action taken, and its consequences.

  • Plan to evaluate action.

  • Assume responsibility for consequences of the action taken, including any negative consequences, should they arise. Be prepared to re-engage in the decision-making process, if the ethical issue is not resolved.

  • Take appropriate organisational action to prevent further occurrences of a similar ethical dilemma occurring.

3.   Ethical Complaints Procedure

 Any ethical complaints by either a client or another worker should be forwarded to the Chief Executive. Should the Chief Executive be the subject of the complaint, it should be made in writing to the Board of Trustees.

A full investigation of the complaint will be carried out. However, where there is any legal implication this matter may be handed over to the appropriate investigating authority.

Should the investigation require significant time and financial investment, for example in the case of requiring extensive professional advice, the Board of Trustees may reserve the right not to progress with the investigation.

The worker involved will receive a written copy of the complaint.

The worker will have the opportunity to provide a detailed written response to the complaint, within a period not to exceed 10 working days.

Additional investigation may be made by the Chief Executive or the Board of Trustees. Results of these investigations will be made known to the complainant.

Following all investigations and explanations a course of action, will be agreed, this may include:

  • Disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal

  • Dismissal of the complaint

  • Suspension of the worker until agreed action has been taken

All matters shall be respectful of confidentiality, as appropriate and as far as a full investigation will allow.

 


NB:
This Code of Ethics relates to day to day operations within HELP, and should be regarded as complimentary to any other Codes of Ethics (e.g. NZAC, ANZASW) to which a worker may be affiliated.

 

Complaints

Throughout the complaints process, both parties may take a support ​person of their choice. Submitting a complaint about Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation services will not result in any prejudicial/negative treatment for you at HELP.

If you wish to make a complaint:

Your complaint will be acknowledged in writing within five working days and an investigation commenced. The person responsible for making sure the complaint is investigated is the Chief Executive. Should the Chief Executive be the subject of the complaint, the complaint will be investigated by the Board.

If you have made a verbal complaint, it will be written down by the staff member you make the complaint to. The complaint and the actions taken will be maintained on the file at the HELP Office.

A result of the investigation and any actions to be taken will be communicated to you in writing within 20 working days or a full explanation with an expected timeframe will be given to you.

Positive feedback is always appreciated as well and will also be held on record.

 

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