13.2 Seven Golden Rules of Information Sharing
Last updated 18/05/2017
Seven Golden Rules of Information Sharing (taken from Information Sharing: Guidance for Practitioners and Managers)
Effective sharing of information between professionals and local agencies is essential for effective identification, assessment and service provision.
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. Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) have shown how poor information - sharing has contributed to the deaths or serious injuries of children.
Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children. (Working Together 2015)
- 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.
- 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. You will need to base your judgment 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.