Information Sharing & Consent
In every Serious Case Review that has ever been undertaken, information sharing has been a key theme. It is essential that all professionals gain consent and share information appropriately within the network of those working with a child and their family. If you do not have consent and are unsure about whether to share information, discuss it with your line manager in the first instance. We recommend you undertake the LSCB E-Learning courses and read the guidance and legislation detailed below.
LSCB Training Programme
The LSCB recommends all professionals undertake the E-Learning courses as follows:-
- Information Sharing & Consent
- Data Protection Act
Missing, Exploitation and Trafficking Information Sharing Guidance
Successful partnership working depends substantially on effective communications and information sharing between agencies. MET Information Sharing Guidance document.
Working Together 2015 Extracts
- Effective sharing of information between professionals and local agencies is essential for effective identification, assessment and service provision.
- Early sharing of information is the key to providing effective early help where there are emerging problems. At the other end of the continuum, sharing information can be essential to put in place effective child protection services. Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) have shown how poor information sharing has contributed to the deaths or serious injuries of children.
- Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children. To ensure effective safeguarding arrangements:
- all organisations should have arrangements in place which set out clearly the processes and the principles for sharing information between each other, with other professionals and with the LSCB; and
- no professional should assume that someone else will pass on information which they think may be critical to keeping a child safe. If a professional has concerns about a child’s welfare and believes they are suffering or likely to suffer harm, then they should share the information with local authority children’s social care.
- Information Sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2015) supports frontline practitioners, working in child or adult services, who have to make decisions about sharing personal information on a case by case basis.6 The advice includes the seven golden rules for sharing information effectively and can be used to supplement local guidance and encourage good practice in information sharing.
The seven golden rules to sharing information
1. Remember that the Data Protection Act 1998 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.
2. Be open and honest with the individual (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
3. Seek advice from other practitioners if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
4. Share with informed consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent if, in your judgement, there is good reason to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case. When you are sharing or requesting personal information from someone, be certain of the basis upon which you are doing so. Where you have consent, be mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared.
5. Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions.
6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely (see principles).
7. Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
Gillick / Fraser Competence - NSPCC
When we are trying to decide whether a child is mature enough to make decisions, people often talk about whether a child is 'Gillick competent' or whether they meet the 'Fraser guidelines'.
The Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines help us all to balance children’s rights and wishes with our responsibility to keep children safe from harm
Data Protection Act
The Data Protection Act controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government.
Everyone responsible for using data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. They must make sure the information is:
- used fairly and lawfully
- used for limited, specifically stated purposes
- used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
- kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
- handled according to people’s data protection rights
- kept safe and secure
- not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection
There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information, such as:
- ethnic background
- political opinions
- religious beliefs
- sexual health
- criminal records