How to contact us for advice

Find out more

Telephone Handler
Close form

Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

Telephone Handler

By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Telephony Advice Service Privacy Policy

At Family Rights Group’s telephony advice service we collect and use your personal information to:

  • Help us to provide you with advice and information about the situation or difficulty you are facing
  • Improve our service
  • Inform our policy and research work, which aims to reform and improve child welfare law and practice.

Below you will find details of the personal information that we ask for and how we use it. We explain the ‘the lawful basis’ on which we collect and use your personal data. And provide information about your rights.

The information that we ask for

Information to help us provide you with advice

When you get advice via Family Rights Group’s telephone advice line, an adviser will ask you for information that is relevant to the situation that you are calling about. The lawful basis on which we will seek to collect this information from you is ‘legitimate interest’. However, if when describing the situation that you need help with you share with an adviser relevant but especially sensitive information (e.g. about your health, race, ethnic origin, religion – known as ‘special category data’) then we will usually be processing this information on the basis of ‘social protection’ unless the information shared indicates an immediate threat to life and limb, in which basis will the ‘vital interest’.

The information that an adviser will ask you for will include:

  • Your name and contact details so that we can:
    • Send you follow up advice materials after your call (e.g. advice sheets)
    • Identify the record relating to your call which will help advisers understand the background and the advice you have previously been given, if you call back for further advice.
  • Relevant personal information that will help us to provide you with the right information and advice for your situation.

We keep this information in a case record and an adviser will: explain this to you at an early stage of your call and confirm if you agree to a record being created (there is further information about how we use case records in the ‘if we are concerned about your safety or the safety of someone else’ tab below).

We will only ask for the personal information that we need and we will:

  • Always let you decide what you’re comfortable telling us about your situation
  • Explain to you why we need the information that we ask you for and how we use your information
  • Treat your information as confidential.

If there is certain information that you don’t want to give to us, you don’t have to. For example, if you want to stay anonymous we’ll only record information about the problem you are calling about and make sure you’re not identified.

Information to help us understand who is using our service

After we have provided you with the advice you need, advisers will usually ask you for some additional monitoring information. Collecting this kind of monitoring information helps us to understand more about who is using our advice service. If there is certain information you don’t want to give us, then you do not have to share this with the adviser.

The lawful basis on which we collect and use monitoring information is ‘legitimate interest’. If however, the monitoring information being sought is about whether you have a disability, or is about your ethnicity, this is considered to be a more sensitive type of information. It is known as ‘special category data’.

The lawful basis on which we collect and use that kind of more sensitive information is ‘explicit consent’. An adviser will ask, and formally record, whether you consent to us collecting and recording that information about you. It is up to you whether you give your consent or not. You do not have to.

Information to help us understand more about children involved with, or in need of help from, children’s services

After you have been provided with the advice you need, advisers will also usually ask you for some additional monitoring information about the child/ren whose situation you have called about.

The information about the child/ren that the adviser will ask for is their:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • And whether they have a disability.

Information about a child’s ethnicity and disability is considered especially sensitive. It is known as ‘special category data’. Collecting this kind of sensitive data helps us to understand more about which children social workers become involved with. The lawful basis on which we collect and use this information is ‘legitimate interest’ and on the condition of ‘substantial public interest – equality of opportunity or treatment.’

If there is certain information that you do not want to give us about the child or children, then you do not have to share this with the adviser.

How we use your information

When we record and use your personal information we:

  • Only access it when we have a good reason
  • Only share what is necessary and relevant
  • Don’t sell it to anyone.

The main reason we ask for your information is to help us to provide the most accurate information and advice to help you with your situation.

We will however also access your information so that we can use information for:

  • Training and quality assurance purposes to help us to provide a high quality service
  • Looking into complaints.

We will also access your information in order to help us understand more about families involved with the child welfare system and the difficulties that they face. This includes creating statistics and case studies about:

  • Who is contacting us for advice and help
  • What problems families most commonly face.

This information is always anonymised. This means you can’t be identified. We share this kind of information with funders and government departments. And publicly in Family Rights Group reports, articles and presentations, press releases, social media and blogs. The statistics also inform our policy research, campaigns, or other media work.

Sharing information to help you further with your situation

If we are providing you with telephone advice as part of a specific indirect or self-advocacy project that FRG is running, then we might also need to share some of your information with other organisations.

For example:

  • Within a letter to a children’s services department social worker or manager that you have asked us to write to on your behalf
  • In order to refer you to another organisation for specialist advice on an issue that we cannot assist you with.

We would only share your information in this way if you have given your permission for this to happen.

Any organisation we share your data with must store and use your data in line with data protection law.

Storing your information

During an advice call, advisers may take notes to assist in the conversation. These notes are shredded afterwards.

When you receive advice and information from an adviser via the telephone (or in writing by post or email as part of any follow-up advice being provided) our adviser will enter information about your situation and the help you need into our secure case management system. We will keep the information you provide to us and be able to see:

  • The history and main details of your case
  • The advice the adviser has given to you.

Doing this helps us to provide accurate information and advice and support to you including if you receive advice from us on a number of occasions.

Some of your information might also be kept within our secure email and IT systems.

Monitoring the quality of our service

With your permission, we may contact you so that you can provide feedback on our service, for example via a survey.

When you call our national telephone advice line, from time to time a member of the advice service team (e.g. a manager) or external accreditation body may listen in to a call. This is for training or quality assurance purposes.

You will always be informed if someone wants to listen in for this reason. You will be told about this before any personal data collection takes place. Listening in to a call will then only happen if you give your permission.

From time to time, an adviser may ask you if you agree to your call being recorded. This is for the purposes of induction and training of a new adviser. You will always be informed if an adviser wants to record your call. And you will be told about this before any personal data collection takes place. Recording a call will then only happen if you give your permission.

If you agree for your call to be recorded then:

  • The recording will be securely and electronically stored
  • Only the adviser you have spoken to and the managers involved in their induction and training will have access to the recording, and
  • Once the induction and training of the new adviser is concluded, the recording will be permanently deleted by the adviser’s manager.

If we are concerned about your safety or the safety of someone else

If something you’ve told us makes us think that either:

  • A child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and that the relevant statutory agencies are unaware; or
  • You or another adult is at serious risk of harm

then we will consider whether there is a need to breach confidentiality and share that information with a statutory agency (e.g. children’s services, adult social services).

You can find full information about this in our Confidentiality and protection of children and vulnerable adults policy.

If you make a complaint

If you make a complaint, we collect personal information from you so we can help deal with your complaint. We collect your information from you via phone, email, online form or letter – depending on how you complain. For further information about making a complaint and how we deal with complaints please see our Complaints, Comments and Compliments Policy.

Your rights

You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information. You have the right to:

  • Be informed – which is what this privacy notice is for
  • Request access to the personal information that we hold about you
  • Object to processing carried out on the basis of legitimate interests
  • Request erasure of your personal information when certain conditions apply
  • Data portability in some circumstances
  • Request rectification of your personal information – which means you are able to have inaccurate personal information corrected without undue delay
  • Restrict processing under certain circumstances
    Object to processing.

If you have any concerns or questions about the way in which we have used your data, please get in touch with us by:

Telephone: 020 7923 2628
Post: Family Rights Group, The Print House, 18 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL.

If you are not happy with the way we have handled your data, and are unable to resolve the issue with us personally, you can complain to the Information Commissioners Office.

People pie chart

Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

Your donation will help more families access expert legal advice and support from Family Rights Group.

Donate Now