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23rd July 2024 

OCST Privacy Policy

OCST takes the privacy of personal data very seriously and has written this policy in line with the GDPR regulations, which have become law from May 25th 2018. This policy is available for those use access the services provided by OCST. Further information regarding GDPR can be sourced at:
The OCST privacy policy has been written in conjunction with the direction of the revised 2018 BACP Ethical Guidelines in mind, to help ensure that OCST is practicing legally and also inline with Ethical requirements for the delivery of counselling, supervision, and training.

The main principles of GDPR
GDPR states that personal data must be:

Processed lawfully
Collected purely for specific and clearly stated legitimate purposes
Sufficient for purpose and limited to what is necessary for it's purpose
That is accurate and up todate
Is stored for a period of time necessary, and no longer
Processed and stored in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data.

The term personal data applies to any identifiable information which is kept by OCST on their service users. For OCST this relates to clients, supervisees, and students.

Online Counselling and Online Supervision training
Terms and conditions with students

OCST Programmes Director: Jane Evans MA BACP (Snr Accred Member)

OCST has been delivering a broad range of high quality and certificated online training programmes for students since 2006.
To maintain these standards for service delivery and each student’s experience the following policy is provided to outline terms and conditions for students and their course fee payments etc.

Upon payment of course fees students are committing to the full term of their course and completion within the required number of weeks for each training programme. This includes meeting attendance and course work to be submitted for assessment. The time frame for the overall study period and course work submission is stated within your student handbook and varies according to the programme you have registered for.

Refunds, full or partial are not available once the course fee payment has been processed and the initial course meeting has been agreed

Where the initial meeting date has not been agreed and there is less than 15 days since payment was made, a refund can be available, but a £100 cancellation fee is applied.

In exceptional cases where a client requests to defer and is granted by OCST, due to health or other related grounds, a maximum period of 3 months can be allocated. Upon re-commencing the training an administration charge of £100 is paid to the tutor for preparation required on their part to continue the delivery of the student’s training programme.

Where a student cancels a pre-arranged course meeting and does not negotiate with the tutor to re-arrange within the same week this is counted as absence and has a direct impact upon the student’s potential to go forward to certification. Where the student is not able to arrange an alternative time that meets with the tutor’s availability a fee will be charged for arranging a replacement meeting to bring the student’s attendance back in line with certification requirements. The fee will be £50.00

Where the course tutor experiences technology difficulties which prevents them meeting with a student for a scheduled course meeting or supervision meeting an alternative platform will be suggested, telephone meeting, or an offer to reschedule will be given to the student.

Where role play activities with other OCST students are included within a student’s training programme, either as role play ’counsellor, role play ‘client’ etc, students are required to be mindful of meeting agreed schedules so that either theirs or the other students course completion isn’t delayed. Failure to complete role play activity requirements will result in students not being able to proceed to certification and their training being cancelled. A certificate of attendance will be provided based upon the attendance hours to that point.

Compliance with GDPR (2018). Any data you hold in your email account or online platforms such as Vsee, relating to role play activities with another student is to be deleted once you have submitted course work for assessment. OCST also agrees to delete case study material or in-meeting role play data from its system once the assessment process for each student’s coursework has been completed and certification has been completed.

Where a student’s course programme is a group learning experience and the student is not able to attend a course meeting it is necessary to inform the tutor and course colleagues in advance that they will not be attending. In respect of the OCST2 a maximum of 2 meeting absences are permissible due to ill health or annual holiday arrangements.

OCST group meetings are held via Zoom. The course meeting invites are sent as a group email. If you are not in agreement to receive a meeting invite by a shared email loop, please inform your course tutor well in advance of the first course meeting.

It is recommended that students set up a free protonmail account for all course communication and role play activities. Students can then delete this email account at the end of the training programme.

Course assignment feedback provided to students is confidential between the student and OCST2 tutors. It is not permissible for students to share feedback with other OCST students unless explicit permission has been provided by your tutor.

This agreement has been made with OCST on the date of payment

What does OCST privacy policy mean for me as a service user

This will depend on how you are using OCST services. Below are details which relate to each aspect of GDPR and the relevance of the service you are accessing with OCST

Online Counselling Clients

1. Your personal data will be kept securely using an offline encrypted storage facility.
2. Any material relating to your contact details will be stored separately to any notes kept for each time you have a counselling appointment/exchange. This helps to ensure anonymity for online clients using OCST services.
3. These records will be deleted after a period of 7 years
4. After you have ended your counselling details of email contact will be deleted from the counsellor's mail account and the platform used for synchronous online counselling sessions.
5. Where client material is taken to a supervision meeting (Ethical Requirement), the counsellor will not share any personal data or session material with the supervisor which would in any way identify a client. The purpose of supervision is to monitor Ethical practice of the counsellor and although clients issues may be discussed, this is presented in a general manner, and not necessarily specific to a client.

In respect of confidentiality of client work, the counsellor will not break confidentiality or pass on any identifying material of a client unless there is immediate risk of harm to a client, and the risk cannot be safely resolved by the counsellor and client. Wherever possible the client will be informed if it becomes evident that confidentiality cannot be maintained. Exceptions to this are acts of terrorism and other UK legal requirements for breaking of client confidentiality within counselling relationships.

Under GDPR, clients and other service users have the right to ask for copies of any personal data stored by OCST and also to ask for this data to be deleted. For legal and ethical reasons OCST is required to keep limited client data for a period of seven years. Copies of any data can be provided upon request.

Online Supervisees

OCST will keep the personal data provided by supervisees (eg-online supervision agreements), in a secure and encrypted online storage facility. At the end of the supervision relationship all data will be permanently deleted. This includes any contact via email or secure online platforms used for supervision meetings.

Online Counselling and Online Supervision Students

OCST students are required to complete an application form prior to beginning training. The personal data provided within these forms is securely stored in an offline encrypted device by the tutors . At the end of training this data will be removed and permanently deleted. OCST will not pass on any personal data they have provided to a third party, or use the data as part of a mailing list, unless students have given their explicit permission for this.
Role play activities with other OST students are an integral part of the training programmes provided by OCST. These may include requesting personal data from other students in order to complete simulated assessment processes. Students are required to delete this data and any case study material from their devices or mail accounts after course work has been submitted for assessment.
The OCST course tutors will also delete copies of this material following certification of a student's course work.