3.3 Sharing information
Sharing information between professionals and local agencies is essential to provide effective early help and to put in place child protection services. Often it is only when information is shared that it becomes clear a child may be at risk of significant harm. Indeed, Serious Case Reviews have shown that poor information sharing has contributed to deaths or serious injuries of children.
Consent to share information should always be sought unless doing so is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay, or the parent's actions or reactions, or lead to the loss of evidential material. Information may be shared without consent if it is to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
All professionals should ensure that they understand the guidance on information sharing in Part 2 of these procedures.
It is also worth reading the government guidance on information sharing: Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (July 2018).
This outlines the seven golden rules to sharing information:
No professional should assume that someone else will pass on information which they think may be critical to keeping a child safe. If a professional has concerns about a child’s welfare and believes they are suffering, or likely to suffer, harm, they should share the information with children’s social care in the relevant local authority.
Also see the information sharing confidentiality protocol.
Disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and linked criminal and care directions hearings
The 2013 Protocol and Good Practice Model: disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and care directions hearings (‘2013 Protocol’) was published on 17 October 2013 and came into force on 1 January 2014.
The 2013 Protocol deals with all aspects of information exchange from the outset of a police investigation and from the stage when Family Court proceedings are contemplated by a local authority. The new 2013 Protocol deals with disclosure from the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the local authority and into the Family Justice System, in addition to disclosure from the local authority to the police and the CPS.
The 2013 Protocol requires local agencies to agree and adopt a local protocol to give effect to the 2013 Protocol. Access the West Midlands Protocol.