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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Data Protection Policy FAQs

The RCPsych’s Data Protection Policy was agreed by the Central Executive Committee in July 2009 and most recently updated in 2014

The frequently asked questions below may still answer any queries, but please don't hesitate to email with any questions or concerns.

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Why is the College changing its policy about use of personal data?

A: Changes are never made just for the sake of it. Accepted practice in this area is developing quickly and the College monitors this and makes changes accordingly. Our solicitors have now advised us that we can adopt a more flexible approach, and we believe that the new policy will be more helpful and easier to manage.

Q: But aren't you compromising my privacy and security?

A: No, we believe we have the balance right. Home addresses would never be in the public domain without your explicit consent - and information about where you work is broadly in the public domain anyway.

Q: The statement I've seen was a bit vague.

A: You may have seen the plain text version we circulated for the sake of clarity. The full policy in legal terminology is available here.

Q: I don't want my home address details made public.

A: We will not make any home address details public under any circumstances (unless you specifically request it for some reason).

Q: Is there anything you definitely will make public?

A: Yes. Your name, grade of membership, date of election to Membership (if applicable), and College Division will appear on the online membership list, which is open to the public. Please note that inclusion in this list is now a condition of membership. No contact details (or any other information) will appear in the list.

Q: Will you sell the College mailing list or email list to advertisers?

A: No. Data would be supplied to third parties only for research, statistical analysis and related activities, within the field of psychiatry, or for purposes connected directly with the College's objectives.

Q: What is this about photographs?

A: There are two main circumstances in which photographs would appear on the website. College Officers might appear in a posed and captioned picture. We might also publish more general photographs of group events (such as the Annual Meeting or the Reception for New Members). In this case your photograph might appear but not your name.

Q: I hope you are not intending to deluge me with unwanted emails?

A: We control email shots very carefully. A limit is placed on the number that may be sent each one is vetted first to ensure relevance and appropriate timing.

Q: And if I still wish to opt out of these arrangements?

We hope that you won't feel any need to do so - but please put your concerns in writing to Elizabeth Atkinson in the Membership Relations Office in the first instance. We will aim to reassure you on any points you make but you will always have an absolute right of opt-out, apart from inclusion in the membership list (as noted above).

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