A 10 Step Guide to Sharing Information to Safeguard Children
Guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a 10 step guide on data protection considerations when sharing personal information for child safeguarding purposes. It aims to help professionals feel confident about sharing information when needing to safeguard a child or young person at risk of harm.
Importantly, the message is clear that data protection is a framework to help share information. It doesn’t prevent you from sharing information to safeguard a child. It will never breach UK data protection law to share all the information you need to with an appropriate person or authority in order to safeguard a child.
Read the guidance and watch the video from the Information Commissioner below.
Good information sharing is vital when professionals are worried about people and want to help them. 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. Learning from Serious Case Reviews reinforces the fact that both children and adults can suffer significant harm or death when professionals fail to share information or fail to share it in a timely way. Good communication and appropriate information sharing between professionals is therefore a critical element of effective safeguarding practice.
Whether you are sending an e-mail to another professional, making a phone call or participating in a meeting it is important that your focus remains on the safety and welfare of children and young people and that you share information consistent with the law and statutory guidance. If you are worried about someone, you are allowed to talk with other professionals without fearing you are doing something wrong. You aren’t. Talking to each other and sharing information when trying to protect people from harm or to prevent a crime is lawful and in the substantial public interest.
London Multi-Agency Safeguarding Data Sharing Agreement
Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children
This Data Sharing Agreement has been developed by the London Safeguarding Children partnership. It documents how the parties to this agreement will share personal data about children and families for safeguarding purposes. The key agencies are listed in Appendix A, and the agreement is to be signed by all relevant parties, including local partners, voluntary sector, and any specialist organisations. By signing this agreement, the named agencies agree to accept the conditions set out in this document, according to their statutory and professional responsibilities, and agree to adhere to the procedures described.