2.3.4. Rights of the client
The psychological report is normally released in writing. Before the assessment begins, the client is apprised – clearly, and preferably in writing – of their rights with regard to the report. These include the rights to:
- get a debriefing on the assessment,
- inspect the report prior to its release,
- block the report, if applicable,
- make improvements or additions to data, or to delete data,
- get a copy of the report after its release,
- get guided access to the raw test data (see also 2.2.3, “Raw test data”).
The client has the right to inspect the raw test data at the level of individual items, but they are not entitled to a copy of the raw test data at that level. The client does have the right to get a copy of raw scaled scores and normed scores.
The client has the right to block reporting to the third party, unless this right does not apply or is excluded by legislation, in which case they do not have that right. The psychologist can, if a legislative rule is missing, and on the basis of a serious interest, decide on balance not to accord to the client the right to block the report. The psychologist should notify the client about this in writing prior to the assessment (see Article 94, “Blocking the Report to the External Principal”). The legislation on the right to block the report does not give a definitive answer in all cases. It is advisable, in case of any questions or uncertainties, to seek advice during the walk-in consultation on professional ethics that the NIP runs.
The third party is updated in advance – that is, before acceptance of the assignment to carry out the assessment – on the right to block the report. Where a report is blocked, the psychologist informs the third party of this without further explanation.
A special form of reporting will take place in digital psychodiagnostic instruments where automatically generated reports are used. Here, too, the client has the right to access the data and block its reporting. This means that automatically generated reports should be sent to the client first and can be sent to the principal only after the client has given their consent – see BOX 13.
BOX 13: The right to block the report
In the context of test reports that are generated automatically online, the finding, dated 16 December 2015, by the NIP’s CvT in case 15/31 is instructive. In this example, a complaint was dealt with about the provision to the third party of the automated report on a test that was taken online. The consulting firm that, under the responsibility of the psychologist, was engaged to facilitate the test-taking by the client, had sent the client’s test results directly to the principal, without first having let the client have a look at them or giving them a right to exercise their right to stop others from seeing them. The CvT ruled that the technique for administering the psychodiagnostic instruments should have been set up so as to adhere to Article 91, “Opportunity to inspect the Report before it is issued”, and Article 94, “Blocking the Report to the External Principal”, in the Code. In this case, the CvT ruled that both articles had been violated.
It should also be noted that, for security reasons, sending psychological reports via e-mail is not the most secure way of communicating. It is therefore preferable to use a web portal that is protected by a user ID and password, and where the client can download the report. The key point here is that the psychologist should ensure that the confidentiality of this data is preserved (see Article 72, “Due care in communications”).