To achieve the best outcomes for children and young people; to promote their welfare and safeguard them from harm, agencies need to work together. Children and young people’s needs and circumstances can be complex and it is only by agencies coming together and working collaboratively that we can achieve a holistic assessment of the child or young person within their family and community and ensure that they receive the services that they need.
Effective inter-agency working is dependent upon effective information sharing whether a child or young person needs some additional support (early intervention) or whether there are concerns that they are at risk of significant harm (safeguarding).
THE SEVEN GOLDEN RULES OF INFORMATION SHARING
1. Data Protection legislation is not a barrier to sharing information - Remember that the Data Protection Act 2018 / GDPR 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 about information sharing - 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. Share information necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure way: 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.