10.10 Information sharing
‘Sharing information is an intrinsic part of any frontline practitioners’ job when working
with children and young people. The decisions about how much information to share, with whom and when, can have a profound impact on individuals’ lives. It could ensure that an individual receives
the right services at the right time and prevent a need from becoming more acute and difficult to meet. At the other end of the spectrum it could be the difference between life and
Information Sharing: Advice for practitioners providing
safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (HM Government 2015)
At Thorpe Acre Preschool Playgroup, we recognise that parents have a right to know that
information they share will be regarded as confidential as well as be informed about the circumstances, and reasons, when we are obliged to share information.
We record and share information about children and their families (data subjects) in line with the
six principles of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) (2018) which are further explained in [my/our] Privacy Notice that is given to parents at the point of registration The six principles
state that personal data must be:
- Processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject.
- Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed for other purposes incompatible
with those purposes.
- Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which data is
- Accurate and where necessary, kept up to date.
- Kept in a form that permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which
the data is processed.
Processed in a way that ensures appropriate security of the persona data including protection
against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures
We are obliged to share confidential information without authorisation from the person who
provided it or to whom it relates if it is in the public interest. That is when:
- it is to prevent a crime from being committed or intervene where one may have been, or to prevent harm to a child or
- Not sharing it could be worse than the outcome of having shared it.
The responsibility for decision-making should not rely solely on an individual, but should have
the back-up of management committee team. The management committee provide clear guidance, policy and procedures to ensure all staff and volunteers understand their information sharing
responsibilities and are able to respond in a timely, appropriate way to any safeguarding concerns.
The three critical criteria are:
- Where there is evidence that the child is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant
- Where there is reasonable cause to believe that a child may be suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant
- To prevent significant harm arising to children and young people or serious harm to adults, including the
prevention, detection and prosecution of serious crime.
Our procedure is based on the GDPR principles as listed above and the seven golden rules for
sharing information in the Information sharing Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers. We also follow the guidance on information
sharing from the local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
- Remember that the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 and human rights law are not barriers to justified
information sharing as per the Children’s Act 1989, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.
- Our policy and procedures
on information sharing provide guidance to appropriate sharing of information both in the setting, as well as with external agencies.
- Be open and honest to the individual (and/or their family where appropriate).from the outset about why, what,
how and with who information will, or could be shared, and seek their consent, unless it is unsafe or if I have a legal obligation to do so. A Privacy Notice is given to parents at the point of
registration to explain this further.
In our setting we ensure parents:
- Receive a copy of our
Privacy Notice and information about our information sharing policy when starting their child in the setting and they sign a form to say that they understand the circumstances in which
information may be shared without their consent. This will only be when it is a matter of safeguarding a child or vulnerable adult. This is on our registration form;
- have information about
our Safeguarding Children and Child Protection policy; and
- have information about
the circumstances when information will be shared with external agencies, for example, with regard to any special needs the child may have or transition to school.
- Seek advice from other practitioners if we are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without
disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
- Staff discusses concerns
about a child routinely in supervision and any concerns are recorded in the child’s file.
- Managers routinely seeks
advice and support about possible significant harm.
- Our safeguarding Children
and Child Protection Policy sets out the duty of all members of our staff to refer concerns to the manager, deputy manager or designated person who will contact Children’s Social Care for advice
where doubts they have doubts or are unsure.
- Managers seek advice if
they need to share information without consent to disclose.
- Share with informed consent where appropriate and, where possible and respect the wishes of those who do not
consent to share confidential information. We may still share information without consent if, in our judgment, there is good reason to do so, such as where safety may be a risk. We will base our
judgment on the facts of the case. When we are sharing or requesting personal information from someone we will be certain of the basis upon which we are doing so. Where we have consent, we will be
mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared.
- We base decisions to share without consent on judgments about the facts of the case and whether there is legal
- Our guidelines for consent are part of this procedure.
- Our Manager is conversant with this and will be able to advise staff accordingly.
- We consider safety and well-being and base the information sharing decisions on considerations of the
safety and well-being of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions.
At Thorpe Acre Playgroup:
- Record concerns and
discuss these with the setting’s designated person and/or designated officer from the management committee for child protection matters.
- Record decisions made and
the reasons why information will be shared and to whom; and
- Follow the procedures for
reporting concerns and record keeping as set out in our Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy.
- Information shared should be accurate and up-to-date, necessary for the purpose it is being shared for,
shared only with individuals who need to have it, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
- Our Safeguarding Children and Child Protection policy and Children’s Record Policy procedure set out how and where
information should be recorded and what information should be shared with another agency when making a referral.
- We keep a record of any decisions made and the reasons for it whether it is to share information or not. If
we decide to share information we record what we have shared, with whom it was shared with and for what purposes. Where information is shared we record the reasons for doing so in the child’s file;
where it is decided that information is not shared that is recorded too.
When parents choose our setting for their child, they will share information about themselves and their families. This information is regarded as confidential. Parents have a
right to be informed that we will see their consent to share information in most cases, as well as the kinds of circumstances when we may not seek their consent, or may override their refusal to give
consent. We will inform them as follows.
- Our policies and procedures set
out our responsibility regarding gaining consent to share information and when it may not be sought or overridden.
- We may cover this verbally when
the child starts or include this in our prospectus.
- Parents sign a form at
registration to confirm they understand this.
- Parents are asked to give written
consent to share information about any additional needs their child may have, or to pass on child development summaries, to the next provider/school.
- Copies are given to parents of the
forms they sign.
We consider the
following questions when we need to share:
- Is there legitimate purpose to sharing the information?
- Does the information enable the person to be identified?
- Is the information confidential?
- If the information is confidential, do you have consent to share?
- Is there a statutory duty or court order requiring us to share information?
- If consent is refused, or there are good reasons not to seek consent, is there sufficient public interest to share
- If the decision is to share, are you sharing the right information in the right way?
- Have you properly recorded your decision?
Consent must be freely given and informed – that is the person giving consent needs to
understand why information will be shared, what will be shared, who will see the information, the purpose of sharing it and the implications for them sharing that information as detailed in the
Consent may be explicit, verbally but preferably in writing, or implicit, implied if the
context is such that sharing information is an intrinsic part of our service or it has been explained and agreed at the outset.
Consent cam be withdrawn at any time.
We explain our information sharing policy to parents.
- Consent to share need
only be sought from one parent. Where parents are separated, this would normally be the parent with whom the child resides. Where there is a dispute, we will consider this
- Where the child is looked
after, we may also need to consult with the Local Authority, as ‘corporate parent’ before information is shared.
All the undertakings above are subject to our paramount commitment,
which is to the safety and well-being of the child. Please see our Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy.
- General Data Protection Regulations 2018
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Information Sharing: Advice for practioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parent and
carers (HM Government 2015)
- What to do if you’re worried…….
- Working Together……..
This policy was adopted at a meeting of
Thorpe Acre Playgroup
(name of provider)
Date to be reviewed
Signed on behalf of the management committee
Name of signatory
Role of signatory (e.g. chair/owner)
UPDATED APRIL 2020