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
    down.”

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

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