Lead officer reveals data-sharing ‘myth’

Older people’s consent must be gained before Pensions Service and
local authority benefits staff working in joint teams are allowed
to share data on them, an LGA conference was told last week.

Christine Clark, lead officer for data protection at the Department
for Work and Pensions, said it was a “myth” that staff on joint
teams could freely share data. “We do have to rely on customer
consent to share data and, if it is sensitive data about someone’s
health or ethnicity, then explicit consent – a signature on paper –
is needed,” she said.

Clark added: “The danger of running on the wrong side of the law is
that it only takes one aggrieved of Tunbridge Wells to write to the
data protection commissioner and the whole thing comes tumbling

However, if the call was simply a check, it was possible that prior
consent was not needed, she added.

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