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Client Records

Client records is an area that poses many issues for community workers. The most commonly encountered include:

What are client records?
What client records do we keep?
Who owns client records?
Who has access to client records?
How are records archived?
Can records be destroyed?
Do freedom of information laws apply?
Do privacy laws apply?
Can records be subpoenaed?


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What are client records?
Client records include:


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What factors affect the records we keep?
The nature of client records we keep will be influenced by a number of factors, including:


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Advantages vs disadvantages of keeping records
Advantages of keeping good records or case notes include:


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Requirements to keep records
Requirements to keep records will usually arise under:


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What is confidentiality?
Confidentiality "implies a relationship between two or more persons in which the information communicated between them is to be kept in confidence."...


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What about privacy?
Privacy has been defined as "the interest of a person in sheltering his or her life from unwanted interference or public scrutiny… at common law...


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What about freedom of information?
Freedom of Information laws (FoI laws) provide members of the public with access to documents held by Government departments, agencies and Ministers.


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What about library & archives laws?
Library and archives laws exist at a State (Libraries Act 1988) and Federal level (Archives Act 1982). Library and archives laws regulate the storage...


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What about coercive powers?
There are some statutory examples of coercive powers where a person can be compelled to provide information even where the:


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What about privilege?
One working definition for legal professional privilege is: “the right of a person to have withheld from evidence communications between that person...


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What about disclosure, subpoena and summons?
Each Court has its own set of rules that set out the way in which information relevant to a Court case can be obtained from the parties to the...


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What about contempt?
Contempt refers to the following:


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What is mandatory reporting?
There are a number of situations where community workers are compelled to make a report about client circumstances. This must be differentiated from...


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What is a duty to warn?
A community worker may have a duty to breach their client’s confidence in two types of situations: