Information Sharing

7 Golden Rules for Information Sharing

1. GDPR is not a barrier

Remember that data protection and regulation law is not intended as a barrier to info sharing – it helps us to share the right information, in the right way, for the right reasons. Never put management or organisation interests before the safety of others. The principle of confidentiality is not absolute, especially when it is to safeguard adults or children.

2. Be open and honest

Right from the start, be clear with the people we support (and/or their families where needed) what we hold, why we might share it, who might need to know. Try and get informed consent from the beginning where possible.

3. Seek advice

If in doubt, ask! Have confidence in checking with others. Talk to your safeguarding lead, or line manager. You do not have to disclose personal or identifying information to get someone else’s view, even if you talk to the police or the local authority.

4. Share with consent wherever possible

But respect the wish of those who do not consent. It is their right as an adult, where they have the mental capacity to make that decision. However, you may still decide to share the information without consent, where you can evidence that the need is:

  • in the public interest (e.g. other adults at risk, staff are implicated)
  • the adult, or someone else, is at very serious risk of harm
  • a serious crime has been committed
  • you suspect coercion or duress is involved in their decision
  • the person lacks the mental capacity to make the decision

5. Always consider the safety and well-being

What is the risk of not sharing the information? What will be the impact of sharing / not sharing – on the person, on anyone else involved.

6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure.

Check these key words. Is it the right information for the purpose? Is it being shared in the right format, with the right people? Is it accurate and up to date? Are you sharing promptly enough for the purpose intended? Think “need-to-know”.

7. Keep a record

Be clear what you have shared or chosen not to share. Why have you shared the information? Evidence how you came to that decision, and who you shared what with.

Adapted from SCIE Safeguarding Adults information sharing