Your information on file
We collect a range of data about young offenders.
The following frequently asked questions explain what information is collected, why we collect this information and how we use it.
Why do you collect information about me?
How is the information used to help me?
How do you keep my records confidential?
Will all staff have access to my records?
Can I have access to my records?
How long do you keep my records?
We keep records about each young person we work with and the work we undertake with you. This helps us to ensure we are offering you the best service we can and our services are consistent between each young person throughout the time you are working with us.
We are required by statute (Criminal Justice Act 1998) and the Youth Justice Board (our governing body) to record the work we do. This is so that our service can be inspected to make sure we are providing an effective service for reducing offending by young people in Staffordshire.
The records that we hold on a young person are mainly held on a computer database. Some information will be in paper files such as court papers. The records we hold would include any or all of the following:
- Personal details about you such as date of birth, address and next of kin
- Any contacts we have had with you either in the office or as a home visit or telephone call
- Notes, assessments and reports about you and our work with you
- Relevant information from other professionals involved with you or from your family or carers
We are required by law to look at the situation of every young person we come into contact with.
We must assess possible reasons why they may have committed the offence and any difficulties they may be experiencing which may increase the chances they will commit more offences in the future.
Sometimes we do this because a court has asked for a report on a young person before deciding how to sentence them.
The records that we keep on each young person help to plan our service around your needs. They also help us to co-ordinate the work undertaken to make sure that:
- Youth offending team officers have up-to-date information to assess your needs and progress, to be able to plan the most effective way of working to maintain your progress.
- Full information is available should you need to see other professionals, so that you do not have to repeat everything.
- Your concerns can be properly investigated if you needed to complain.
- Identifying any further resources needed and giving the evidence to support this.
It will also be used to obtain services from other agencies to assist you, for example:
- Helping you get into education, training or employment.
- Making referrals to health workers.
- Getting additional support for your parents or carers if you live at home.
Where information is used for service need identification or purely for statistical purposes, the data is anonymised to ensure that no individuals can be identified.
We have a legal responsibility to keep all personal information confidential. Only staff have direct access to your information but they may need to share some information with other agencies in certain circumstances. We would only ever share information if there is a genuine need to do so.
Some examples of these circumstances would include:
- You move to another area, we would then pass information to your new home area so that the work we do can continue. We would only share information if your order was currently being undertaken.
- If your youth offending worker needs assistance from other services to give you the best possible support.
- If a young person is placed in custody by the court the team will make sure that the unit where the young person is going to are given relevant information, particularly any concerns, worries or health problems the young person may have.
In most cases the young person and their carer will be advised that information has or will be shared. We would only disclose your information to others without your consent where we were legally or professionally obliged to do so.
- Where the health and safety of others is at risk, e.g. child protection concerns.
- Where the police need to contact a young person because they believe he/she has been involved in an offence.
- Where information must be provided in court proceedings or to enable Staffordshire County Council to comply with a legal obligations.
Your contact details, information from assessments, offences, plan and contacts will be available to all staff with database access.
This is important as it is not always possible to speak to your case worker and enables another member of the team help a young person with a problem or query.
We understand that some information is confidential and some young people may have sessions with health workers or substance misuse workers that is personal and of a private nature.
Not all information is required to be recorded for example we may record that we met you, the time and date and not the individual contact of the meeting on the computer database. It will be kept in a separate file that only your worker and case manager can see.
The Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Action 2000 allows you to find out what information about you is held on file within agencies. This is known as 'right of subject access'. It applies to your Youth Offending Service records.
Young people have the right to read the information that is recorded about them, as long as it does not place them or others at risk, or contain details about another person.
How do I get the information?
You must make a written request to the Staffordshire Youth Offending Service County Manager.
They will write back to you within 21 days either with the arrangements to see the file or if the request has to be refused the reasons for that decision.
Your case worker can help you write the request if you ask them. If you would like any further information about how we use your records please speak to your case manager.
As part of the Criminal Justice Act 1998/2003 we must keep your case management files for:
- 25 years from your date of birth
- 6 years from the end of supervision of order or licence if you are over 18