Guidance for ALL existing and new volunteers

While the coronavirus sweeps across the world, we feel particular concern for you, especially those of you in all health services and community groups which are forming to help protect our valuable community.  

Whether you are working from home, at your usual place of work or helping out via community groups, we hope that you and your family will manage to avoid the virus.  

We are all humbled by everyone’s efforts, this is however a brief but simple plea to keep everyone’s personal information safe and secure, some of which could be very sensitive, even during this terrible time. Whilst this might feel of lower priority given the magnitude of what we are facing it is important to ensure that discretion, respect and integrity is maintained.

Data protection requirements will not stop the critical use of personal information to support efforts to tackle this global pandemic. The universal data protection principles in all our laws will enable the use of data in the public interest and still provide the protections the public expects. Data protection authorities stand ready to help facilitate swift and safe data sharing to fight COVID-19.

To help you assist Jersey’s vulnerable community we are giving you a few headline key personal information tips which you must follow. None of us wish to see volunteers putting themselves or community members at any more risk than they already are. The law covering personal information integrity (Data Protection) lists simple measures which keeps people’s information safe; 

  • Know what personal data is – any information from which an individual can be identified.
  • Only collect information you actually need for the purpose(s) you are using it for. (Don't collect more than you need on a 'just in case' basis.)
  • Is there a form you have been asked to use when volunteering to collect personal information? Does it provide you and the individual with clear information about how the personal information will be used, who has access to it and where it will be kept.
  • You must keep any personal information safe, secure and not accessible by any unauthorised individuals. 
  • Only keep it for as long as you need it (you may de-personalise it in due course).
  • You must let the person know very clearly if you are sharing the information with anyone else (between support organisations, for example). You may need to consider larger print, different language versions and maybe pictures to help explain what you are doing.
  • What is the basis for the collection of the personal information? If it is consent, this must be a genuine choice, freely given and shown by a positive opt in by the individual. Especially as the community groups will involve the collection and use of health data which carries additional security responsibilities.    
  • Make sure people know how to contact you if they want you to remove their data from your records and make it easy for them to do so (maybe have a designated email address for this).

Everyone has a right to dignity, privacy and confidentiality and volunteer groups should take care not to use data collected to impose assistance on those who have not actively sought help.

The Government of Jersey has set up a Community Taskforce to ensure key organisations are able to access volunteers. This helps to ensure voluntary work on the island is done in a safe and sustainable way. To offer your help, please register at www.volunteer.je

Advice and guidance about the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 is available on the Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner's website or email enquiries@jerseyoic.org or you can telephone (01534) 716530.

A useful document for you all: Data Protection Principles