Implications of the Data Protection Act 1998 Any record system organised to allow ready access to information about individuals comes under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the information must be accessible to the student on request. You therefore need to ensure that any information you put on record is recorded in a way that you would feel comfortable about if the student were to read it. You may release student personal data to fellow University employees who require that information in order to carry out their normal duties, but you and they should avoid disclosing information about a student to anyone else. The DPA defines certain personal information as 'sensitive' and sets out special conditions that must be followed when processing it. 'Sensitive' information is defined as racial/ethnic origins, political opinions, religious beliefs, Trade Union membership, physical or mental health, sexual life, and offences or court proceedings. If you find yourself discussing 'sensitive' matters, consider saying something like: 'I'd like to keep a note of this if you agree - you're free to have a look at my notes before you go.' If you will need to disclose any sensitive information to someone else, you must tell the student who you will pass the information to, and ask them for their written permission for you to do so. The Data Protection Act also has implications for your paperwork at a day to day level, requiring that notes are kept 'securely'. You are therefore advised to keep any electronic records about your advisees in the My Advisees moodle facility.