Kent Approved Mental Health Professional Service privacy notice

We will keep this privacy notice under regular review and it was updated on 5 April 2024.

Kent County Council respects your privacy and is committed to protecting your personal data. This privacy notice will inform you as to how we look after your personal data and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you.

Who we are

Kent County Council collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so we are regulated under the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. We are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information. Our Data Protection Officer is Benjamin Watts.

The Kent Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) service leads on all of the Mental Health Act work that is the responsibility of Kent County Council and undertakes urgent Mental Health Act assessments for adults and children for Medway Council outside of normal working hours.

The information required if you are being assessed under the Mental Health Act is specified in the Mental Health Act Code of Practice and allows consideration to be given as to whether to admit you or not on both you and those close to you.

The personal information we collect and use

In the course of working with you or working with your child, we use and collect the following personal information provided to us by other services by you or your child:

  • contact details (for example, telephone number)
  • contact details or members of your family and support network (AMHPs are required to consult with your nearest relative when being assessed under the Mental Health Act)
  • demographic details (for example, name, sex, NHS number, date of birth, age).

We also collect the following ‘special category data’ (personal data which is more sensitive and is treated with extra care and protection) when you provide it to us:

  • any information we may need to take account of such as communication needs, religion, ethnicity, and past medical and mental health history
  • details of your physical health and how this could impact on your mental health or require ongoing treatment
  • family and relationship details
  • health data around your physical health needs and mental health held by mental health services or your GP
  • information shared by any relevant professionals involved in your life such as GP, care coordinator, social worker etc.
  • information taken at time of referral such as any mental health history and the reason for the referral
  • social care data such as information on the social care system around and Care Act interventions
  • the impact that any future deterioration or lack of improvement in your condition would have on children, other relatives or carers, especially those living with you including an assessment of their ability and willingness to cope
  • your past wishes and feelings that are linked to a Mental Health Act assessment and potential outcomes of this
  • your cultural background
  • your social and family circumstances.

The information listed above is the minimum that an AMHP will require to carry out an assessment under the Mental Health Act. That is because the AMHP must consider all the circumstances of the case that are relevant to you or your child. The information listed above will be collected from various sources, including, yourself, health services, Kent County Council, police, health and social care records, discussions with others who know you and others involved in your care.

The code also emphasises the importance of involving other people in the decision-making process. Particularly your carers, family members and advocates who are able to offer a particular perspective on your circumstances.

In so far as the urgency of the situation allows, AMHPs should consider consulting with other relatives, carers and friends and take their views into account. Paragraph 14.68 qualifies this by stating that, in deciding to consult other people the AMHP should consider your wishes, the nature of the relationship between you and the person in question, any history of hostility or abuse.

The code states in paragraph 10.1 the following:

  • "Simply asking for information from carers, relatives, friends or other people about a patient without that patient’s consent need not involve any breach of confidentiality providing the person requesting the information does not reveal any personal confidential information about the patient which the carer, relative, friend or other person being asked would not legitimately know."

How we use your personal information

We use your personal information to help us with the following:

  • to determine whether or not an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 is required
  • to undertake an assessment of you under the Mental Health Act, once it has been determined that such an assessment should take place
  • to help inform any assessments or reviews where you may already be subject to the Mental Health Act, such as Community Treatment Orders and guardianship
  • to support Approved Mental Health Professional trainees to develop the required level of competency to fulfil the AMHP Service role. This involves anonymising AMHP reports for the trainees university portfolio to evidence their learning.

Reasons we can collect and use your personal information

  • Article 6(1)(c) - processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
  • Article 6(1)(d) - processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;
  • Article 6(1)(e) - processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller

We rely on Article (9)(2)(h) – health or social care purposes as the lawful basis on which we collect and use your special categories of personal data.

We rely on the Schedule 1 Part 1 (health or social care purposes) of the Data Protection Act 2018 where relying on Article (9)(2)(h) to process your special category data.

Mental Health Act 1983 Section 13(1) If a local social services authority thinks that an application for admission to hospital or a guardianship application may need to be made in respect of a patient within their area, they shall make arrangements for an approved mental health professional to consider the patient’s case on their behalf.

We take the following appropriate safeguards in respect of your special category data when relying on the conditions above:

  • We have a special category appropriate policy document which explains how the data protection principles are secured when using your special category data. This policy is retained throughout the time we use your data and for 6 months after we cease to use it.
  • We have a retention schedule which explains how long data is retained.
  • We maintain a record of our processing in our ‘Records of Processing Activities’ and we record in it any reasons for deviating from the periods in our retention schedule.

As we have a statutory basis for collecting your personal data if you do not provide it, we may not be able to provide you with the right care and support.

How long your personal data will be kept

We will only hold your personal information for as long as necessary. To work out how long we need to keep your information for we use our retention schedule (see section AS4.71) which provides a breakdown of the retention periods relied on by Kent AMHP Service.

Who we share your personal information with

Assessments under the Mental Health Act require 2 doctors to liaise and wherever possible, jointly interview you. Assessments under the act can also be supported by the police and ambulance service.

Other colleagues who we may need to work with to assess your needs include other health professionals from secondary care such as CPNs, care co-ordinators, your GP, and Independent Mental Health Advocates: This list is not exhaustive.

If an assessment is being carried out as a request from your nearest relative and the AMHP decides not to make an application to hospital, then under s13(4) the AMHP must write to the nearest relative informing them of the reasons why. This letter can be written in broad terms so that there is no breach of confidentiality.

Where required, Approved Mental Health Professional trainees will share anonymised AMHP reports to their university to help evidence learning for their portfolio.

Each person or organisation will ensure they have the relevant agreements in place to be able to process your personal information.

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law or in connection with legal proceedings.

We will share personal information with our legal and professional advisers in the event of a dispute, complaint or claim. We rely on Article 9(2)(f) where the processing of special category data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity.

We will not transfer your information outside of the EU.

NHS and care services

We have processes in place for considering requests for data disclosures for purposes beyond direct care which is consistent with national data opt-out policy. Our organisation is compliant with the national data opt-out policy.

To find out more about the NHS’ wider use of confidential personal information and to register your choice to opt out if you do not want your data to be used in this way, visit the NHS website. If you do choose to opt out you can still consent to your data being used for specific purposes.

Your rights

Under the UK GDPR you have a number of rights which you can access free of charge which allow you to:

  • know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it
  • ask to see what information we hold about you
  • ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
  • object to direct marketing
  • make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to:

  • object to how we are using your information
  • ask us to delete information we hold about you
  • have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • stop us using your information in certain ways.

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties. Please note: your request may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation.

If you would like to exercise a right, please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Who to contact

Please contact the Information Resilience and Transparency Team at to exercise any of your rights, or if you have a complaint about why your information has been collected, how it has been used or how long we have kept it for.

You can contact our Data Protection Officer, Benjamin Watts, at

The United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner who may also be contacted on 0303 123 1113.

Read our corporate privacy statement.