Data-sharing ‘vital to tracking project’

Common protocols should be created to allow basic information on
vulnerable children to be shared across local authority boundaries,
the manager of one of England’s 10 identification, referral and
tracking trailblazers has warned.

Sara Tough, project manager for the Telford & Wrekin and
Shropshire IRT pilot, said a common set of arrangements was needed
to cover families moving to different areas or children living in
one area but receiving services from another.

Tough told a conference on children’s services last week: “There
are no national standards that allow us to share basic details
about children who are vulnerable. We cannot progress IRT beyond
our local area without this.

“Families move around and at the moment we have no way of letting
another local authority know that that child has moved and share

She said that, although agencies already shared information on
children with their counterparts in different areas, there might
not be such a relationship between different agencies in different

“A strategic health authority is not going to pass on records to a
school and say we are working with a child in their area,” she

Tough said the Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire pilot, which was
launched officially last week, had more work to do in bringing GPs
on board and was still “nowhere near” engaging with voluntary
sector organisations.

Jennifer Bernard, director of services for children and young
people at the NSPCC, agreed that it was unclear how the voluntary
sector would feed their information on children into IRT projects.
“How we are going to be joining in with these arrangements is yet
to be arranged,” she told the conference.

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