What is my role?
It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard children and young people.
Everyone that works with, or comes into contact with, children should have safeguarding policies and procedures in place to make sure that every child – regardless of their background or circumstance – is equally protected from harm.
Everyone who comes into contact with children and young people has a part to play in safeguarding their welfare, whether they are:
- In any contact, or direct work/volunteering with children, young people and/or adults at risk.
- A manager with responsibility for creating a safe environment for services.
- A member of a management committee or board of trustees with responsibility for ensuring appropriate policies and procedures are implemented within the organisation.
Safeguarding children and promoting their welfare includes:
- Protecting children from maltreatment or things that are bad for their health or development.
- Making sure children grow up in circumstances that allow safe and effective care.
- Taking action to give all children the best chance in life.
Effectively safeguarding children and young people means:
- A child-centred and co-ordinated approach to safeguarding.
- Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
- Children and young people are respected and their views heard.
Information sharing is essential for effective safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. To keep children safe, information needs to be shared appropriately so that decisions can be made to take appropriate action to protect them.
Clear boundaries around information sharing are important to maintain confidentiality where appropriate and to ensure that only those who need the information are made aware of it.
Seven golden rules for information sharing
When sharing information with any organisation, the following points need to be considered as outlined by the government guidance, Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners. This describes key principles for deciding what to share.
The seven golden rules for information sharing are:
- Remember that the Data Protection Act and GDPR legislation are not a barrier to sharing information – the welfare of the child is the paramount concern. As long as the information can be justified and is in accordance with this information sharing guidance, it should be shared.
- Be open and honest – where appropriate, it is important to keep all parties informed of information sharing plans, processes and boundaries.
- Seek advice – from other practitioners if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
- Share with consent where appropriate – consent of the individual about the information concerned, should be sought before sharing. However, consent may not be appropriate if informing the individual would place a child at risk (see the 1st golden rule) or you can dispense with consent if sharing information is in the best interests of the child.
- Consider safety and wellbeing – include considerations of support needs for all involved, including those about whom information is being shared, any risks of sharing the information and how these would be managed.
- Keep a record – recording is important at every stage – including recording how and why decisions were made about information sharing. All records should be signed and dated.
- Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure – the key one!
- Necessary – is the information necessary to keeping the child or children safe?
- Proportionate – how much information needs to be shared? It may not be appropriate to share all information. Seek advice to make decisions about what information needs to be shared to ensure children are safeguarded.
- Relevant – only include information that is relevant to the situation and required to make decisions or to take action to keep children safe. Only share information with relevant people. Confidentiality of personal and case information should be upheld.
- Accurate – include factual information. If any opinions are stated, these should be evidence based. Include times and dates of information and accurate information about individuals concerned.
- Timely – share information at the earliest opportunity – avoid delay! However, don’t rush into sharing information without the appropriate decision-making processes.
- Secure – how is information shared, stored and for how long?