Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
About Townsville Community Legal Service
Areas of law and how we deliver our services
News
Contact us

What are client records?

Client records include:

client intake sheets
diaries, booking sheets
journals and communication books
notes, whether handwritten or typewritten
correspondence
copies of documents about the client
database records
audio, dictation and video tapes
digital files
photographs, scans, images.

Freedom of information (FOI) laws often do not define "document" and leave such matters for wide interpretation. Most people wouldn’t consider a video tape recording to be a document, however a videotape would be covered under freedom of information laws.

Whilst client records don’t include everything, it is best to consider client records a wide term capable of liberal interpretation.

Records vary between single sheets of paper that would barely identify an individual to thick files that contain the most sensitive of personal information and records. In particular, case notes keep sensitive information such as:

contact details
personal reference numbers such as passport, drivers licence, bankruptcy, bank account, tax file numbers etc
family history
medical history
financial history
personal memoirs, memories, recollections, reflections
confidential and personal disclosures
confidential and personal allegations
incriminating information about the client
incriminating information about others.

Often more than one basis for record keeping will exist. For example, social workers may well have policy, ethical, service agreeement and risk management strategy reasons for keeping records but the scope of the records kept may depend on retainer arrangements and disclosure risk.