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Information exchange

Information Exchange

“No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances so effective sharing of information between practitioners, local organisations and agencies is essential for early identification of need, assessment, and service provision to keep children safe. Rapid reviews and child safeguarding practice reviews have highlighted that missed opportunities to record, understand the significance of, and share information in a timely manner can have severe consequences for children” Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance.

Learning from child safeguarding practice reviews in England shows that multi agency practitioners sometimes face challenges around:

  • why information is being shared with them, and what to do with it
  • when they can share information with others
  • how to work collaboratively and communicate clearly
  • other professionals’ roles and safeguarding responsibilities.

Working Together to Safeguard Children describes safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as

  • providing help and support to meet the needs of children as soon as problems emerge
  • protecting children from maltreatment, whether that is within or outside the home, including online
  • preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • promoting the upbringing of children with their birth parents, or otherwise their family network through a kinship care arrangement, whenever possible and where this is in the best interests of the children
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes in line with the outcomes set out in the Children’s Social Care National Framework5.

We all have a responsibility to share information to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare in promoted.

Essentials in supporting effective information exchange

  1. Read and act on the information within the updated DfE Advice on information sharing for practitioners in safeguarding services and know the 7 Golden Rules for Information Sharing.
  2. Remember data protection legislation is not a barrier to sharing information.
  3. Do not rely on consent to share information where there may be safeguarding concerns, there is a clear legal basis for this, and it is explained in the DFE advice. You should aim to be as transparent as possible by telling families what information you are sharing and with who, provided it is safe to do so.
  4. Be proactive in sharing information as early as possible to help identify, assess and respond to risks and concerns about a child. This is when concerns may be first emerging and where a child is already known to children’s social care.
  5. Do not assume that someone else will share information that they think may be important to keep a child safe. If you have concerns about a child’s safety or welfare you should share the information in line with local processes (See HIPS Procedures)
  6. Make sure you communicate in a way that can be understood by everyone, don’t use jargon or acronyms. We all work in different professional disciplines and may not attach the same significance to information unless it is properly explained. Practitioners should use clear and accurate language so the information they share is accessible to others.
  7. Practitioners should share advice or concerns verbally and then follow this up in writing. This enables practitioners to discuss and clarify information and have a written record to refer back to and share.
  8. Practitioners should communicate intentions and actions with each other and record this in a chronology. Each practitioner can then keep up to date with agency involvement with a family and know who to contact for more information.
  9. When requesting information from a service, practitioners need to make sure that the service knows why the information is being requested so that they can respond appropriately, understanding the context of the concern for the child.
  10. Practitioners must take into account and include the wishes, feelings and opinions of the child in safeguarding discussions between agencies. This makes sure that agencies can work together towards the best outcomes for the child.
  11. Practitioners should seek information from the wider safeguarding partnership at critical transfer points, such as during assessments and before closing a case, to aid multi-agency decision making in the child’s best interests.
  12. Remember information sharing is essential in identifying patterns of behaviour or concerns and the practice principles for chronologies can support you with this


Multi-agency working and information sharing: learning from case reviews | NSPCC Learning

Information sharing – advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (

Practitioner Guides

Myth busting

Practice Principles for Chronologies


You can access the HSCP learning from reviews training sessions here.

You can access the IOWSCP training here.