Plans for infomation sharing could undermine child protection system

Proposals to give health professionals more discretion than other children’s services staff about when to share information will “seriously undermine” the child protection system, it has been claimed.

The British Association of Social Workers said the proposals set a “dangerous precedent” by allowing health staff to opt out of sharing information.

Government guidance, which closed for consultation last week, recommends a two-tier approach for health professionals.

Under the proposals, they will be able to contact other professionals for more information if they have reasonable suspicion that a child is being harmed due to abuse or neglect, but will not be required to disclose the nature of their concerns.

They would then combine this new information with their own, and consider sharing their data if they decide the child is in danger.

BASW, which makes its comments in its response to the consultation, called for all professionals to follow the same information-sharing procedures.

Children’s charity NCH said it was unlikely that the guidance would be followed because it was not statutory.

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