8.1 Information Sharing
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The Partnership has considered what changes are required to the Procedures to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) - implemented through the Data Protection Act 2018. We have taken into consideration guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] which says: ‘The biggest change is for public authorities, who now need to consider the new ‘public task’ basis first for most of their processing, and have more limited scope to rely on consent or legitimate interests’. As a result, the Partnership recommends that ‘legal obligation’ and ‘public task’ (as defined in the GDPR) are relied on as the primary basis for processing information to establish whether or not there is a need to safeguard the welfare of a child. This means that, whilst families will be informed when personal data is being shared or processed, their consent is not required.
The significance of this change is that it is no longer necessary to seek consent to share information for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of a child (i.e. removing the distinction between information sharing for the purposes of assessing need or child protection). It does, of course, continue to be good practice to inform parents / carers that you are sharing information for these purposes and to seek to work cooperatively with them. Agencies should also ensure that parents / carers are aware that information is shared, processed and stored for these purposes.
The Working Together Guidance published in July 2018 by the Department for Education, continues to emphasise the use of consent. The BSCP is working to ensure that the approach taken in these Procedures is consistent with the Data Protection Act 2018, the guidance published by the ICO and the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education. In the meantime, references to consent and information sharing in the Procedures will be highlighted with a link to the advice above. In addition, the information sharing protocol has been withdrawn pending a full revision in line with the new legislation.
Information sharing is vital to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The following documents will provide further information about effective information sharing.
BSCP Multi-Agency Information Sharing Code of Practice
This Code of Practice outlines the principles and practice which govern the sharing of information between agencies, for the purposes of identifying, safeguarding and promoting the welfare and protection of all children and young people.
Seven Golden Rules of Information Sharing
This document from HM Government sets out the golden rules for information sharing, and a flowchart of key questions for information sharing.
HM Government - Information Sharing Advice for Practitioners
This HM Government advice is non-statutory and has been produced to support practitioners in the decisions they take when sharing information to reduce the risk of harm to children and young people.