Information Sharing and Confidentiality
Practitioners recognise the importance of information sharing, but in some situations may feel constrained by uncertainty about when they can do so lawfully. This is especially so in early intervention and preventative work, where information sharing decisions may be less clear than in safeguarding or child protection situations.
Islington adopts the ‘Seven Golden Rules’ for information-sharing, developed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, for those who have to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Information Sharing: the Seven Golden Rules:
- Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but is a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.
- 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 shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
- Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.
- 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 overridden in the public interest. Judgement must be based on the facts of the case.
- Consider safety and well-being: base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
- 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 to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion and is shared securely.
- 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.
See also our SEND Information Sharing Agreement.