At Gingerbread, we are committed to supporting single parents and we act in the best interests of the single parents we work with.

As such, we have a statement of Quality Commitment relating to the whole organisation which also applies to the Single Parent Helpline and advice service. We also have data protection and confidentiality policies in place to protect the interests of the single parents we support.

Our confidentiality policy

Gingerbread’s helpline is confidential for callers. This means we won’t share any details of your call with anyone outside the organisation, without your permission.

There are a few exceptional situations where we may have to pass on your details without your consent.

Situations where we might need to break confidentiality:

  • A child or an adult is at risk of harm
  • A terrorist threat has been made
  • We have been ordered to share information with the courts
  • A caller poses a serious risk to themselves or others
  • A caller is threatening or abusing staff or preventing the service from being delivered to others

If we felt we needed to break confidentiality we would make all reasonable effort to keep you informed of what we intend to do.

Call recording and listening

Some calls to the helpline are recorded and monitored for training purposes. A message at the beginning of each call is played to let all callers know this sometimes happens.

We record calls to help advisers improve their performance and to make sure calls are high quality. Any recorded calls are kept securely and then destroyed when no longer needed. Calls are never shared outside Gingerbread.

Some calls are listened to by another person in real time. This is also for training and induction purposes and is usually by a Gingerbread staff member. If someone outside Gingerbread is authorised to listen to calls, they must sign a confidentiality agreement and the adviser will ask your permission at the beginning of the call for them to listen in. You have a right to refuse and the call will continue without listening in.

Data protection

The Gingerbread single parent helpline does not routinely take identifying personal information from callers. We may sometimes take address or phone number details if referring you onto another service or part of Gingerbread, or if we are sending information in the post.

All personal data are stored and treated according to the Data Protection Act 1998.

Privacy for more information about how Gingerbread protects your privacy see our website privacy policy.

Service standards for the single parent helpline

We have the following service standards for the helpline:

  • Our service is free and we send information free of charge to single parents contacting our Helpline
  • The service is confidential. This means that we will not disclose any personal information without the caller’s consent except in a few circumstances, where we will work within our Confidentiality Policy and procedures.
  • We send information by second class post on the next working day and there will be no indication on the envelope that it has come from Gingerbread
  • Our Single Parent Helpline provides details of other national services which provide advice, information and support with the aid of our database
  • We have a procedure for handling letters from single parents. We will aim to respond to letters requiring an individual response within three working days and no later than five working days
  • We have a complaints procedure for the Single Parent Helpline which we will send to callers who wish to complain
  • In addition to any complaints, we welcome any suggestions or ideas on improving the service. Callers may make suggestions to the worker concerned which will be noted or may write to the Head of Helpline and Information
  • We may ask callers to fill in a feedback questionnaire once a year to help us evaluate our service.