It is one of the primary roles of parents to teach their children to ask for permission when they want to get something. Up until adolescence, this behavior is expected upon personal interactions. In the academe, you expect students to ask permission when they take days off school. You would want workers to do the same thing once they enter the workplace. Moreover, permission takes on different forms and acquired through various methods. And one way of asking and granting permission is through a legal consent letter. 

Consent letters are essential documents in both asking and granting permission for a particular purpose. Its use is common among corporate and personal communications. Corporations and organizations make sure to gain consent before entering business deals. Consent also has legal implications. If one party fails to secure it or was able to acquire it through unfavorable means, there are several consequences. On a more personal note, a common occurrence that requires a consent letter is when parents or guardians grant permission to let their minor children travel overseas.

Granting and asking for permission takes on different forms. It is also a common occurrence in everyday life. We see children asking their parents to go on trips. Then parents themselves are asking their bosses to take some time off for their children. Even strangers ask other individuals for permission when they need to pass through or get something. So as standard as it is in everyday life, consent is also a common occurrence in professional settings. However, in the professional context, it appears as letters and forms. Read on to know more about the different faces of consent letters and their respective uses.

Subject Consent Letter: This form is the standard document when circumstance requires direct contact with the representatives of the other party, as they are the subjects. These are usually the forms signed by the respondents before taking part in research—whether scientific, academic, or market research. This document essentially contains the purpose of the study and the role of the respondents’ contribution to the research. Moreover, in light of transparency, it also mentions the possible risks of taking part in the study. And most importantly, the form mentions that the participation is purely voluntary and that the respondents have the right to back out from their participation if they no longer feel safe and comfortable.Guardian Consent Letter: As a general rule, contracts signed by minors are null and non-enforceable. And to remedy this, any legal decision made by a minor is consented by a parent or a guardian. The parents or guardians waive medical processes and operations on minors through a consent form. On more common circumstances, the school also requires guardian consent forms when there are extracurricular activities that involve traveling, such as educational field trips. On the note of traveling, even if a guardian accompanies a minor, a letter is still needed for security purposes. A travel consent letter from a guardian typically indicates the personal information and passport details of the minor. And justifications that a legal guardian accompanies the child. Apart from permission, security is the main concern because of several possible threats.Assent Form: A shorter version of consent letters are assent forms. Ultimately, it serves the same purpose as consent forms, but it does not ask for all the information required by the latter. Assent forms are used for granting permission in lieu of children and people who have developmental challenges. And because it is catering to a particular demographic, it makes use of simple and easy to understand language. Both the headings and content are easy to comprehend. There may be some difficulties in differentiating assent forms and guardian consent forms, but the fundamental difference is its point of view. The latter document makes written with the parent or guardian’s point of view. It asks the consent through a representative, who is the parent or guardian of the minor.

The act of giving consent is permitting something to happen without your direct supervision. If you give your consent to your child to go on a trip, you are allowing them to travel without your presence but with your full knowledge of its purpose. Likewise, consent letters in several industries serve the same purpose. The main purpose behind asking and granting permission must be specific, and its use must be for that reason alone. Listed below are the importance and methods of consent among some business sectors and corporate operations.

In Banking and Finance

Consent is a vital factor in keeping afloat in one’s financial activities. Open communication between the client and the management is necessary to ensure that all the interactions are legitimate. Consent letters play a crucial role in fostering open communication. A letter is essential when the primary account holder delegates the role to another person. This circumstance happens when the primary holder travels overseas, thus their presence is not readily available once demanded by the bank. Consent letters are also necessary when a bank transaction, made by an individual who is not the account holder, deals with a large sum of money. Again, the use of consent letters in this situation goes beyond the need for permission. Dealing with money and highly sensitive personal information bears a high risk. A consent letter is one of the security measures employed by the organization.

In Recruitment

One of the year-round activities of an organization is employee recruitment. A company goes through piles of resumes and application letters for months until they settle with a pool of proficient applicants who can work well with the company’s culture. During this rigorous screening process, the applicant grants consent to the human resource specialists in the company to review their personal information. In the same way, the references of these applicants also give consent to the company to use their personal information to contact them for background checks. In these circumstances, the company does not have the responsibility to explicitly ask the other parties if they can use their information. The act of including their details in the document is an explicit act of granting permission. On the other hand, the specialists handling the recruitment process must make sure that the information will only be used for its sole intention.

 In Research

Industries succeed because of research. Research, throughout time, birthed new manufacturing methods, operating systems, and equipment that revolutionized particular sectors. A critical factor that helps makes researches successful are the respondents. In a way, the respondents pitch in the most significant contribution to the study’s success because of their responses. As much as their responses are necessary, researchers cannot impose these people on participating. These people must express their consent to join, granted that they know what it is about and where the details of the result will be used. Moreover, consent is also necessary for the part of the respondent. For the sake of the study’s success, the researchers can impose a strict rule on non-disclosure. The participant’s consent in not disclosing the information and methodology of the study helps protect the credibility of the organization.

Consent letters may seem to be as easy as writing a, “Yes, I allow the other party to take over my account.” Generally, it might be simple, but there are several factors to consider before even starting to write one. Reviews and background checks are necessary that writing the letter has proper intentions. Listed below are the other factors to consider and remember when you start to write your consent letter for whatever purpose it may be.

Step 1: Review the Need for Permission

Disguised behind granting permission, consent letters can also provide power and authority to the other party, within certain limits. The passing of power and authority makes it essential for the initial step to review the need for permission. As the writer of the letter, you need to make sure that you are fully aware of the circumstance that requires it. You must also be knowledgeable of the organization or people who will handle the said information. As a matter of fact, you can also choose to consult with a lawyer to ensure that the entire process will go on without setbacks.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Details

After the much-needed review and background check, it is time to prepare the pieces of information that are the vital content of the consent letter. If you are dealing directly with your respondents, make a list of your organization’s details to present to them. As for guardians who are assigning their consent for their children, organize the minor’s information first. Especially when dealing with consent letters for international travel, the passport details are as essential as the personal data of the child. And do not forget to enclose your personal information. Preparing the needed data beforehand decreases the possibility of forgetting to include some details in the consent letter.

One thing to remember when writing a consent letter is that it also follows the formal way of writing a standard business letter. The format precedes the content of the message. Make sure that you supply the necessary information in starting the letter. As you begin to write the body of the letter, be extra careful with how you word each statement. Granting consent is the primary content of the letter. Make sure to incorporate the party granting the request and the recipient party. Moreover, indicate the purpose of the request and the use of the information. It should also show the limitations of using the information or the limits of what the recipient of the permission can do. Most importantly, this part of the letter must mention the contact information of the involved parties.

Step 4: Allocate a Specific Timeframe

Alongside the explicit expression of consent, the letter must also include a timeframe. This timeframe places limits on the validity of the permission. In travel consents, the schedule usually runs for as long as the travel time of the minor. However, the consent granted for researches may have validities that cover the entire length of the study. This length of validity allows the researchers the freedom to utilize the pieces of information until the study reaches its conclusion. Securing the validity period of the permission also upholds security. It ensures that the letter cannot be used for several instances, other than the one it was intended for.

Step 5: Legalize the Letter

A consent letter is straightforward. After incorporating all its essential elements and following the standard business letter format, the consent letter is good to go. This letter bears legal implications, so it is vital to sign it before a lawyer. The sole role of the lawyer, at this point, is to serve as a witness for the signature’s validity. He needs to make sure that it was marked by the authorized signatories. But, before signing the document, make sure to review the letter. Review the format, ensure that it follows the proper structure and guidelines. More importantly. Check if the content does not have grammatical errors. A simple mistake in spelling may lead to lengthy revisions that can prolong the process. It is better to make sure before setting everything in stone.

Consent remains to be everyone’s business, especially at the height of everyone’s easy access to the online world. But there are several methods to protect and uphold its importance wherever it may be. One of these measures is the continued use of consent letters in several industries. Consent letters are easy to formulate; anyone can do it.