Consent needed to share sensitive data

Children or their parents will have to give their consent for details of involvement with sensitive services, such as sexual health, to be included on the proposed data-sharing index for England.

A Department for Education and Skills consultation on regulations for the planned database, launched last week, confirmed the index would only contain basic information, such as name, address and date of birth, on all children under the age of 18 in England.

The DfES proposals would allow social workers, and other professionals such as youth offending team members, teachers and voluntary sector staff, to use the database.

The consultation, which lasts until 14 December, comes after a report from England’s children’s commissioner, Al Aynsley-Green, found that young people could be deterred from using sensitive services by concerns about the confidentiality of the database.

The regulations also state that children’s records will be removed to a secure archive when they reach 18, or 25 for those who have been in care or have learning difficulties.

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