What’ this about?

A TMO is likely to hold information that is properly kept confidential. This includes

  • personal information about tenants and their families,

  • personal information about people who apply for homes and membership,

  • personal information about other people that the TMO may deal with, such as people who are not tenants but whose behaviour may affect the way tenants use their homes,

  • personal information about staff and job applicants, and

  • commercially sensitive information about contractors or firms applying for contracts – ‘commercially sensitive’ means information that is not public and could be of use to someone competing with or dealing with the firm.

A confidentiality policy (or code) is assures the wider community that confidential information will only be kept if necessary for the TMO to do its work, will only be seen by people to need to, and will be kept confidential in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

TMOs are usually small organisations where the committee or Board members are themselves tenants and neighbours of other tenants. This makes it especially important to ensure that the Board or committee only sees confidential information when absolutely necessary and information does not ‘leak.’

All TMOs at all stages should have a confidentiality policy.

Before it manages homes, this policy should show how the committee or Board keeps information confidential.

When the TMO manages homes, the policy should cover all the confidential information it handles as a housing manager. The full, detailed policy should be discussed with the landlord, making use of professional advice.
Under the Modular Management Agreement, your TMO must ensure that confidential information is protected and the TMO must have a Code of Confidentiality.

What should be in our Confidentiality policy?

The policy (or ‘code’) lists the types of confidential information that the TMO needs to keep, and why. The TMO ensures that all this information is kept confidential and that the TMO complies with the Data protection Act.

The policy says

  • How confidential information is kept secure

  • Who has access to this information (certain staff) and who does not (including the committee or Board unless essential for it to make a decision on a matter)

  • The rights of people to see personal information about themselves (in accordance with the Data Protection Act)

  • The circumstances in which confidential information may be passed to other bodies (for instance in connection with rent arrears or court proceedings)

  • What happens if, in very unusual circumstances, the committee or Board needs to record a confidential matter (a confidential Minute can be prepared and kept separate from the public minutes; confidential reports are individually numbered and are returned before people leave the room)

  • What happens if a committee or Board members discloses confidential information (this should normally result in immediate expulsion from the committee or Board)

  • What happens if a staff member discloses confidential information (this is a serious disciplinary matter which may be considered gross misconduct leading to instant dismissal).