As Donald suggests we need a virtual Chinese wall between GDPR and confidentiality.
Bottom line is we DO need consent to process confidential data for social work unless there is a basis to override. That consent can however be implied from the consensual engagement in the process. If the client actually objects to the keeping and use of data then the service cannot be provided.
You can easily adapt the following example which I use in training (summarised so not 100% accurate).
I go to my GP with an embarrassing condition. I ask him not to make a record of it but just advise me as my next door neighbour is his receptionist.
With appropriate explanations he should decline. He must keep a record if he is to advise /treat me. Statutory duty. He cannot keep a record if I object on confidentiality grounds - no basis to override confidentiality. If he cannot persuade me then he cannot treat / advise me. If I say nothing he does not need to ASK for my consent to keep a record for confidentiality purposes - that is implied from my seeking treatment.
If it's a notifiable disease all bets are off - his duties are sufficient to override confidentiality.
In all the above this is nothing to do with GDPR legal basis which is never consent.
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