How effective is information sharing in child protection cases?

Social work opinion is divided on whether or not communication between services is effective in safeguarding cases, a Community Care poll has found

Photo by Community Care

Inadequate information sharing between agencies has been an all-too-familiar finding of reviews into child deaths or other serious cases over many years.

It was a key factor behind agencies’ failure to prevent Victoria Climbié’s murder in 2000, as Herbert Laming, who chaired the inquiry into the eight-year-old’s death, recalled in a recent interview with Community Care.

And, 20 years later, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel found similar failings in relation to the cases of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, in its 2022 report into their murders.

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The Department for Education has made improving information sharing a key part of its children’s social care reform strategy, including by strengthening guidance and testing the establishment of multi-agency child protection teams, as recommended by the panel.

However, social workers appear divided about the effectiveness of information sharing between agencies in child protection cases, according to a Community Care poll.

Just over half of the 606 respondents were positive, with 31% saying information sharing was quite effective and 24% very effective.

But 45% expressed dissatisfaction, rating it as either not very effective (36%) or not at all effective (9%).

What are your thoughts on how well information is shared between agencies during child protection cases?

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4 Responses to How effective is information sharing in child protection cases?

  1. David May 16, 2024 at 10:02 am #

    Effective and timely information sharing is very important. But equally important is allowing time for agencies to absorb and reflect upon the information, including how this fits with the child and family history as known to inform planning as to how best to address any developing concerns. Overloaded Social Workers are not allowed this time. This contributes to unfortunate tragedies.

  2. James May 16, 2024 at 10:37 am #

    The research is clear that failure in information sharing and assessment has been at the centre of child death over the past sixty years. I am sad that the s12 national childrens database from the 2004 Children Act was never implemented as having worked on it, I am convinced that it would have had a positive impact in this area

  3. TVOSW May 17, 2024 at 6:45 am #

    One data and recording system for social workers, police, NHS and schools – that would solve many issues.

    • Paul May 18, 2024 at 1:27 am #

      It would help. In reality the NHS struggled to have a single system a number of years ago.

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