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Seb Anthony

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Data Protection Question for Training


I'm specifically thinking about part time academic (day release) courses, where we only see progress through exam results at the end of each year.

I'd like to ask the college to complete a periodical questionnaire on such things as attendance, punctuality, contribution and interaction with the group. I feel that asking the employee directly won't necessarily give me an accurate result!

I do trust our employees, but there have been recent instances where I have reason to doubt someone's commitment to the course, and need some facts before approaching them.

On contacting the college to check a student had turned up, I was told they couldn't tell me, because of the data protection act.

Is this right, and how can I resolve this issue?

All suggestions welcome.

Helen Ettridge

4 Responses

  1. Data Protection Act and training funded by Employer
    It is something we come across a lot and have overcome by incorporating employer funded training release agreements signed by the employee.

    What needs to be detailed is the exact data that the student/member of staff is willing to allow access to.

    The college is right as the Data Protection Act imposes severe penalties on the holder of the information for breach of the rules.

    You need also to check with the colleges that they actually hold and record the information you seek as a lot do not when the student is privately rather than state funded.

    0870 241 3998

  2. training agreements
    You need to be up-front and open about these arrangements with the college and the student. I assume your organisation is paying for the training, and as such has a right to know what progress is (not)being achieved. There are DP issues, but a signed 3-way agreement between the college, the student, and your org. stating what info you want, when you want it, and how it will be used – if non-attendance is potentially a disciplinary matter then it needs to be made clear in the agreement – should suffice. You also need to clarify why the training is occurring – is it work-related to use new equipment etc, or is it for the person’s individual benefit. Their failure to comply with the agreement may mean they cannot do their job properly. If so, how do you propose to tackle this? If it is purely for their own benefit then how do you want to deal with them wasting your org’s time and money? There’s plenty to think about, so best of luck!

  3. Thanks
    Many thanks for the useful suggestions.

    I’ll have some agreements drawn up before diving in feet-first, and look forward to seeing the results!


  4. Disciplinary
    Hi Helen

    I think a tri-party agreement would be great, but please take care in including terms relating to the disciplinary methods as part of it. You need to dovetail any references in with exisiting disciplinary procedure or develop the exisiting disciplinary procedures to include breaches of training agreements.

    Best of luck

    0870 241 3998


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