Releasing information to parents and third parties
Privacy rights of the student* (applicants, enrolled students and alumni)
The Data Protection Act protects individuals’ rights with regards to their personal data, regulating the information that can be held, how it is processed and to whom it can be disclosed. It establishes a set of principles and conditions about the use and disclosure of personal data with which the Institute must comply. This means that the Institute cannot pass on information about its students unless it is permitted to do so under the Act: so the policy of the Institute is not to disclose personal data about its students to anyone unless the student has given fully-informed consent for the information to be released. When a student registers at BIMM, part of the process is to accept our Student Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice, which outline the main ways in which BIMM will process a student’s personal data. Normally personal data will only be disclosed to third parties if the disclosure is the purpose for which the data was collected and provided the data subject is aware or would reasonably expect the release.
What can BIMM tell you?
Parents, other relatives and third parties occasionally contact BIMM to request personal data about students. For instance, it is very common for parents, particularly those who are contributing to tuition fees, to ask for information about the academic progress of their son or daughter, to inquire how they are settling in or to try and find out where they are since they have not been in touch. Unfortunately, BIMM is not able to disclose this sort of personal data (even to parents) other than in the most exceptional of circumstances because of the provisions of the Data Protection Act.
The DPA is very strict, so even confirming/denying that an individual is a student here would infringe the DPA and may, in extreme circumstances, result in placing an individual in danger. However, we do understand that parents may be concerned about their son/daughter and will happily discuss BIMM procedures i.e. explain examination procedures, discuss the implications of failing a module, etc.
BIMM is not able to disclose personal data if there is no authorisation to do so. If a student has given us consent to discuss a certain matter with a third party then we will happily do so.
How does a student provide consent to share their data with third parties?
If a student has consented to the release of information we are happy to comply. We usually ask that the student send an email (from their BIMM email account) to [email protected], stating that they are happy for us to speak with a specified person about a particular matter. Students are also given the option to complete a ‘consent to share’ form where they would provide us with permission to share any information with academic staff, external agencies, and/or next of kin. It is at the students discretion if they chose to provide this consent.
In some circumstances you may have major concerns (e.g. you have not heard from your son/daughter for months, or they have a serious, but not vital, medical condition), in these cases if you leave contact details/correspondence with us, should the individual be a student here we will endeavour to pass them on and encourage the student to make contact. If the individual is not a student, the details will be securely destroyed.
There may occasionally be exceptional circumstances (life or death situations) in which the usual need to obtain consent before disclosing information may be waived. In these circumstances the Institute would disclose information to a nominated emergency contact, provided by students at registration. If an enquirer claims to have a legal right to the information we would assume that they represent an official organisation which is fully aware of the Data Protection Act and which has its own code or procedures. We would therefore not expect any objection to a small delay in providing the information while we check credentials and the claimed right of access.
*‘Students’ applies to Higher Education students only, i.e. those on a BIMM degree course or over 18 years of age.