Information sharing hampered by legal concerns

Practitioners in England should be sharing information about
children at risk, despite concerns about breaking the law,
according to new government guidance.

In an introduction to the guidance on implementing
Identification, Referral and Tracking,  children’s minister
Margaret Hodge admits there is confusion about what can and cannot
legally be shared, and says the government is considering how to
resolve this confusion.

The guidance says: “It is vital that practitioners use
existing statutory and common-law powers to share information.
Concern about breaking the law often leads to information being
withheld from other professionals, even when it would be in the
best interest of the child to pass it on.”

The guidance adds that information must be shared in compliance
with the Data Protection and Human Rights Acts, which involves
developing clear protocols and standardised procedures for
recording decisions.

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