Information Sharing & Consent

Child Protection records retention storage and Information sharing

Sharing information

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 interagency working is dependent upon effective information sharing whether a child or young person just needs some additional support (early intervention) or whether there are concerns that they are at risk of significant harm (safeguarding). 

Early Intervention

Where a professional believes that it is necessary to share information to help them to better understand the needs of a child or family or to enable the child or family to receive a service from another agency and the child is not at risk of significant harm they should seek the consent of the parent or carer before requesting the information or contacting the other agency. This will ensure that the family understand the issues and are more engaged with any services provided by agencies. 

Safeguarding

It is important that professionals share information in an appropriate and timely fashion. Professionals should, without delay, discuss with their line manager or designated safeguarding lead the need to share information when there are concerns about a child or young person. They will be able to discuss the need to speak to the parent or carer (and child / young person if appropriate) about contacting Children’s Social Work Service, and how to inform the family. This is not the same as seeking consent but will help the parents to understand the concerns and why they will be contacted by Children’s Social Work Service and is consistent with a restorative approach to working with families.

There will be rare occasions when it would not be appropriate to inform parents / carers that Children’s Social Work Service  are being contacted, when by doing so the child / young person  would be placed at immediate or greater risk of harm. Such an approach is supported by legislation (Children Act 1989, 2004) and the professional guidance from individual agencies.

 

Key Points on Information Sharing

  • Explain at the outset, openly and honestly, what and how information will be shared
  • Always consider the safety and welfare of a child or young person when making decisions on whether to share information about them
  • Seek consent to share confidential information. You may still share information if, in your judgment, there is sufficient need to override the lack of consent
  • Seek advice where you are in doubt
  • Ensure the information is accurate and up to date, necessary, shared only with those people who need to see it, and shared securely
  • Always record the reasons for your decision – whether it is to share information or not.

Local Resources

KSCB has its own Information Sharing policy which covers

  • Information collection, use and security
  • What are your rights concerning the personal information you provide to Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board
  • Direct marketing and user surveys
  • Opting out
  • Disclaimer and External Links
  • Malicious Software/Virus Issues
  • Copyright
  • Personal and non-commercial use
  • Limitation of liability
  • Download the KSCP Information Sharing Policy here

 

National Resources

Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (in folder)

 

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