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Information sharing

Explains what information sharing is, why is it important, available guidance, information sharing protocols, available training, help on information sharing and other related services. 

What is information sharing?

Sharing information about individuals between organisations is often essential to keep people safe, or make sure they get the best services. The council always ensures that it only ever shares the necessary information with the appropriate organisation, if it has a legal reason to do so.

In social care, it is the term used to used to describe the situation where practitioners use their professional judgement and experience on a case-by-case basis to decide whether and what personal information to share with other practitioners in order to meet the needs of a child. It is essential to enable early intervention and preventative work, for safeguarding and promoting welfare, and for wider public protection. It is the key to the Government’s goal of delivering better, more efficient public services that are coordinated around the needs of children, young people and families.  

Sharing information is essential to enable early intervention to help children, young people and their families who need additional services to achieve positive outcomes, which in turn helps to reduce inequalities between disadvantaged children and others. Effective information sharing can also help to keep children safe or prevent harm. Sharing information helps reduce the chances of children ‘slipping through the net’ such as the case of Victoria Climbie. Practitioners need to share information as part of their day-to-day practice, so it’s important that they understand when, why and how they should share information. Practitioners must use their professional judgement when deciding whether or not, and what, to share.

Why is information sharing important?

Sharing information is essential to enable early intervention to help children, young people and their families who need additional services to achieve positive outcomes, which in turn helps to reduce inequalities between disadvantaged children and others. Effective information sharing can also help to keep children safe or prevent harm.

Sharing information helps reduce the chances of children ‘slipping through the net’ such as the case of Victoria Climbie. Practitioners need to share information as part of their day-to-day practice, so it’s important that they understand when, why and how they should share information. Practitioners must use their professional judgement when deciding whether or not, and what, to share.

What guidance is available?

The Information Commissioner's website includes a large amount of information on the sharing of information:

Information Commissioner's Office (external website)

The revised HM Government Information sharing Guidance: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers March 2015, 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:

Information Sharing Guidance: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (pdf 257kb opens in new window)

What is an information sharing protocol?

An information sharing protocol is a structured agreed guidance for sharing personalised information between two or more agencies. The protocol aims to facilitate and govern information sharing about children.

It is a document describing the agreements made between the agencies listed about when and how they will share information about children. The protocol supports efforts to create a culture of appropriate and timely information sharing which will improve services and outcomes for children.

How does the council share information?

The council is required to share information as a matter of course and is usually essential for the smooth running of a service – for example, information from the benefits section to the Department of Work and Pensions. To share information the council must identify legal gateways, such as those identified in the Data Protection Act.

To help the council share information in a transparent and safe manner, the council has signed up to the Humber information sharing charter. The Humber  Information Sharing Charter is available via the link below:

The Humber Information Sharing Charter (external site)

provides a framework for the effective and secure sharing of information in accordance with legal requirements, ethical boundaries and good practice across the Humber region. 

A number of organisations across the region are signed up to this framework, the details of which are available on the charter's webpage.

What Information Sharing Training is available?

Information sharing training can be requested by contacting:

Early Help and Safeguarding Hub (EHaSH) Telephone: (01482) 395500

Where can I go for help on information sharing?

For professionals working with families there is a wide range of support including immediate line management, data protection officers or caldicott guardians.

Professionals for advice and support contact:

Early Help and Safeguarding Hub (EHaSH) Telephone: (01482) 395500

For families they should speak to the professional working with them in the first instance.

What other related services might I need to know about?

The following are related services and it may be beneficial you visit their sections of the website for further information: