September 2013

Date for review:
February 2016


Hugh Jones

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Data Protection for the Guidance Counsellor: Compliant Data Management


The role of the Guidance Counsellor has been an essential element in providing students and job seekers with professional, objective advice on their strengths, abilities and aptitudes.
As such, the role necessarily involves the processing of personal, and often highly confidential information regarding people of all ages. In that context, the activities of the Guidance Counsellor must be compliant with the Irish Data Protection legislation.
This article offers a brief overview of the legislation, as well as setting the day-to-day activities of Guidance Counsellors within that context. The article considers the data being used by the Guidance Counsellor, the particular challenges of working with minors, and the differences between those working as employees of schools or colleges, and those operating as self-employed professionals.
Throughout, we try to offer pragmatic suggestions on how to manage personal data in a manner that is both accessible and relevant for the professional Guidance Counsellor.

Further Recommended Reading

Best Practice, Ethical and Legal Considerations in Psychometric Testing for Guidance Counsellors by Declan Fitzgerald and Ciara Farrell should be read in conjunction with this article.  It can be found here in 'Delivering the Guidance Programme' section.

Also, Data Protection Consent in the School Context:  Issues to Plan For by Hugh Jones may be read in conjunction with this article.  It can be found here in the 'Policy and Practice Guidelines' section.