Child must consent to professionals’ details on database

People working in child and adolescent mental health service
will have to seek consent before recording their details on the
proposed children’s database, the government said last week,
writes Sally Gillen.
Sexual health and substance misuse workers are also likely to be
required to “seek informed explicit consent before adding
their contact details to the index,” a report says.
Plans to restrict the list of practitioners whose details can be
put on the system freely are outlined in the government’s
response to a consultation on the information sharing

Some feared children and young people would be deterred from
seeking help if service professionals could use the database to
discover other specialists service users had worked with. These
concerns were raised during the three-month consultation that ended
in January.

The Department for Education and Skills also proposes
introducing a system whereby details about sensitive services, such
as mental health, should only be accessible to “essential
staff,” which could include social workers.
But it will allow a lack of consent to be overridden in
“carefully specified circumstances,” including when
there are child protection concerns.
Plans to use an indicator of concern, which was broadly supported
by professionals, will remain, and guidance will be issued making
clear that the practitioner is expected to take action.
The DfES says its conclusions are “working assumptions”
that will be tested as understanding of the index grows.
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