Sharing information

In order to protect the child, each agency must share information with the other agencies. This will include information on the child and adults who have involvement with them, where this relates to the safety of the child. This will include information about other children who may be at risk. It is not acceptable to withhold potentially relevant information in cases where a child may be at risk.

Key points about information sharing:

Be open and honest with the family you are working with - talk about what you are wanting to share and why, getting their agreement (consent) to share the information. The only time you should not do this is if letting them know will leave someone at risk of harm.

Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information is shared appropriately.

The decision to share information should be proportionate ...

The word proportionate is rather jargonistic but it explains a very helpful concept. It accepts that the decision about sharing information is not a simple 'yes' or 'no' decision but depends upon a number of factors.

Sometimes you may not be able to answer the questions above. In this case it is best to speak to your manager or a colleague and discuss the situation with them.


Although there is a lot of guidance about sharing information there is very little about communication; the process by which information is shared. The following tips, adapted from the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge are very helpful.

What does research tell us?

The right to a private life can be legitimately interfered with where it is in accordance with the law and, for example, is necessary for the prevention of crime or disorder, for public safety or for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. You need to consider the pressing social need and whether sharing the information is a proportionate response to this need and whether these considerations can override the individual's right to privacy. If a child or young person is at risk of serious harm, or sharing is necessary to prevent crime or disorder, breach of the child or young person's right would probably be justified under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

This page was added to the website on 2 July 2015