Information Sharing

Information Sharing - Children
Caldicott Guardian for Primary Care is 

Keeping children and young people safe from harm requires professionals and other to share information about their health and development and exposure to possible harm. Often, it is only when information from a number of sources has been shared and pulled together that it becomes clear that there are concerns a child is in need of prtection or services.

Information can be shared in a multi-disciplinary area with the consent from parents if they are under section 17 of the Children's Act 1989 (with the exception a suspected Fabricated Illness)- this covers Children in Need. If the family are in the child protection arena (Section 47 Children's Act 1989) then professionalshave a statutory duty to share information in order to safeguard the welfare of the child.

Maintaining the balance between maintaining confidentiality and sharing information is important. Decisions to share information must always be based on professional judgement about the safety and wellbeing of an individual  and in accordance with legal, ethical and professional obligations.

If you are unsure about sharing information but are clear that your are acting in the best interest of the child, your regulatory body protects you. You should always clearly document your rationale for sharing.

Please ensure you are up to date with your Information Governance (IG) awareness training.

Information Sharing – Adults
The West Midlands Adult Safeguarding Policy states that sharing the right information, at the right time, with the right people, is fundamental to good practice in adult safeguarding but has been highlighted as a difficult area of practice.

Sharing information between organisations as part of the day to day safeguarding practice is already covered in the common law duty of confidentiality, the Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and the Crime and Disorder Act. The Mental Capacity Act is also relevant as all those coming into contact with adults with care and support needs should be able to assess whether someone has the mental capacity to make a decision concerning risk, safety or sharing information.

Adults have a general right to independence, choice and self-determination including control over information about themselves. In the context of adult safeguarding these rights can be overridden in certain circumstances such as emergency or life threatening situations.

The law does not prevent the sharing of sensitive, personal information within organisations. If the information is confidential, but there is a safeguarding concern, sharing it may be justified. In addition the law does not prevent the sharing of sensitive, personal information between organisations where the public interest served outweighs the public interest served by protecting confidentiality – for example, where a serious crime may be prevented.

The Seven Golden Rules for Information Sharing

  1. Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately
  2. Be open and honest with the person (and/or their family, where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be share, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe (Fabricated Illness) or inappropriate  to do so.
  3. Seek advice if in doubt, without disclosing the identity of he person where possible.
  4. Share with 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, that lack of consent can be overidden in the public interest. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case.
  5. Consider safety and wellbeing: base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and wellbeing of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
  6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, 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 people who need it, is accurate and up to date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
  7. Keep a record of your decision and reason 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

For details about information sharing with the Coroner, please click on the link below: Information sharing with the Coroner.


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