SPCS privacy notice

Privacy notice for Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS).

The information provided here about SPCS is supplementary to the main UCL Student Privacy Notice.

Confidentiality and data protection 

The service we provide is strictly confidential. That means that any information you provide to us, whether in your registration form or face-to-face with a counsellor, will not be shared outside our service unless you provide explicit permission to do so. You may agree with your counsellor to share information with your GP in the event that your GP may be helpful in your treatment process, but you can discuss this with your counsellor.

The Service retains counselling records according to the criteria specified by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and records that hold psychiatric data are held according to the criteria specified by the British Medical Association. 

The Service stores all information about each student on a secure and confidential database, which is also kept separate to any other student record system.

Statistical data is collected throughout your therapeutic intervention, and may be used for annual reports, Freedom of Information requests and research purposes. All data provided is anonymised and will not contain data that would make you identifiable in any way, ensuring confidentiality is maintained.

The only circumstance where we might share your information without your explicit consent is in the event that your counsellor believes you are in danger of harming yourself or others, if there is a risk of serious harm to an individual, or where necessary for the detection/prevention of serious crime.  Even in this circumstance, we would normally seek to speak to you first before contacting anyone else.
If you have any questions about confidentiality, please contact us.


As qualified counsellors we are professionally bound to share relevant information about counselling clients with other counselling professionals such as clinical supervisors and other trusted colleagues. Only a minimum of personally identifiable data will be shared, in order to protect the confidentiality of our clients and any third parties. Counsellors share information in this way in order to promote safe, effective and ethical therapy

Counselling management system 

Occasionally we may need IT assistance with our client counselling management system. UCL IT staff and our external supplier Bellside Designs are bound by Data Protection laws, and will not disclose or pass on information from the client counselling management system. 

Access to Records

Clients have the right to request access to or copy of information stored about them through a Subject Access Request.

Further details on your rights as a data subject can also be found in the UCL Student Privacy Notice.

Legal basis for processing personal data and special category data

The lawful basis for processing your data is the performance of a task in the public interest and vital interest. UCL processes personal data in its capacity as a public authority in connection with its core purposes of education, research and innovation. Please see UCL’s Statement of Tasks in the Public Interest for further information. Your personal data may be processed by SPCS and transferred to the emergency services and other services as necessary where this is required to protect your vital interests. 

The condition for processing special category data is for the purpose of the provision of healthcare (psychological and counselling support) to include safeguarding and monitoring risk. 


There may be situations where we are unable to obtain your consent to use your special category personal data before providing counselling. In these circumstances, we will be processing any special category personal data in order to provide you with confidential counselling.

Safeguarding of children and individuals at risk

There may be situations where we are unable to obtain your consent to disclose personal data and special category data to third parties (for example your doctor, your next of kin or emergency services) but SPCS deem it necessary in order to safeguard children or individuals at risk.

Vital interests

Your personal data and special category data may be processed by SPCS and transferred to the emergency services where this is required to protect your vital interests.


If you would like to raise any complaints about data protection within the Service, you can discuss with your counsellor or e-mail the Service admin team on spcs-info@ucl.ac.uk.

You can also e-mail Barry Keane the Deputy Director of Student Support and Well Being (SPCS) on b.keane@ucl.ac.uk

Read information on UCL Student Complaint Procedure.

Referring to partner organisations

To ensure that you access the most appropriate referral pathway to counselling support, SPCS may refer you to one of our partner organisations.

To undertake your referral, SPCS will share your personal data with our partner organisation, to include: the information provided on your registration form, assessment report, counselling records, as well as any other relevant information related to your engagement with SPCS.

We will notify you once your referral has been completed. Following the referral, our partner organisation will contact you directly to arrange your appointments. Your personal information is kept secure and confidential.