Information sharing is vital to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults.
A key factor identified in many Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPR’s) and Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) has been a failure by practitioners to record information, to share it, to understand its significance and then take appropriate action.
Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard children or adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Practitioners should not assume that someone else will pass on information which may keep a child, young person or adult safe.
Practitioners should use their professional judgement when making decisions on what information to share and when. They should follow their organisation’s procedures and seek advice, if in doubt.
The most important consideration is whether sharing information is likely to safeguard and protect a child, young person or adult at risk.
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.
Wiltshire Information Sharing Charter
The Wiltshire Information Sharing Charter (WiSC) assists in the lawful and integrated sharing of information between partner organisations for the residents of Wiltshire.
WiSC aims to provide the foundation for the sharing of personal information between partner members in the public, private or voluntary sector organisations. This is achieved by common commitment to principles and processes which support fair and lawful sharing of personal information to enable partner organisations to meet their statutory obligations, and in doing so, to facilitate integrated service provision across the county, and delivery of improved service provision for our residents.