Additional care should be taken when recording any sensitive personal data. Examples of sensitive personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act include:
- The racial or ethnic origin of the data subject
- Their political opinions
- Their religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature
- Their physical or mental health or condition
- Their sexual life
If you are recording any such information, you need written permission to disclose it. The Data Protection Act states that all personal data should be obtained for a specified purpose, and this data should be adequate, relevant and not excessive. Furthermore, data should be accurate and kept up to date.
You should avoid recording any of the categories of sensitive personal information specified in the Data Protection Act unless you think it is affecting a student’s academic performance or wellbeing. If you think you do need to record such information you need the written consent of the student to record it (email is acceptable).
Disclosure is almost always the choice of the student. The tutor’s role is only advisory.
Data Protection legislation means that students have a legal right to access any personal information about them held by the University. The means that personal tutors need to be aware that everything they record on paper or electronically can potentially be seen by the student in question.