TWC2 collects quite extensive personal identity and case information from our foreign worker clients, including medical information. However, we do not collect, store or use such information unless the client has first been appraised of the need, and has given his or her consent.
We have explanatory notes in the languages commonly spoken by foreign workers, so that they can read for themselves and understand the significance of what they are consenting to. For those speaking uncommon languages, our staff and volunteers will carefully and patiently explain the meaning and purpose of consent to them in simple English.
The vast majority of clients will be asked to give consent in writing. However, some clients only reach us through our helpline (telephone). In such situations, we will explain verbally the need for consent and obtain it verbally as well.
Since TWC2 cannot provide any assistance to a client unless we know enough to assess and advise on a case – this includes eligibility for benefits given out by TWC2 – a worker is not admitted as a client unless that worker gives consent.
The consent forms that clients sign make clear the purposes of information so collected: internal discussion within TWC2 about his/her case; communication with the government and other organisations that will help progress the case; and research and public communication when we feel that these would be of help to the worker or other workers with similar problems.
Nevertheless. TWC2 will remain highly judicious in sharing such information with external parties. Even when some details are communicated, they will be restricted to only such details as are germane to that specific purpose (even if the worker has given us broader consent), and we will expect recipients of such information to be equally bound by professional ethics to safeguard the information.
From time to time, TWC2 receives personal information about workers from third parties (e.g. from hospitals telling us about a patient in need of TWC2 assistance, from police trying to trace a worker, well-wishers asking us to help a worker they’ve met) and our operating assumption is that such unsolicited transfer of information to us comes either with deemed consent or explicit consent obtained by those third parties, or that such transfer of information is within the allowed purposes as listed in the Second Schedule of the PDPA(2012), particularly 1(a), (b), (f), (m) and (q). TWC2 will hold, use and safeguard such received information the same way we hold our clients’ information.