9.7 Information Sharing
The sharing of information between all MAPPA agencies is essential for effective public protection and for effective risk assessment but must comply with national guidance on information sharing. It must be based on the following principles:
Sussex Probation Area (SPA) facilitates specific accredited programmes for perpetrators of sexual abuse. The programmes are known as the Thames Valley Sex Offender Programme (TVSOGP) and the Internet Sex Offender Treatment Programme (iSOTP). Offenders are required to attend these programmes as conditions of their licence following a period of imprisonment or as part of a community order imposed by the courts. SPA has recently undertaken several reviews of cases where sex offenders have re-offended using the Serious Further Offence home office guidance. A specific protocol has been developed in response to the learning outcomes/recommendations of those reviews.
Written information submitted to the initial/review child protection conference by SPA/TVSOGP staff should include:
Disclosure of Information
The general presumption is that information should not normally be disclosed beyond the professional system except if one of the following applies:
The principles underpinning disclosure to third parties are the same as the principles for information sharing, however because of the sensitivities of disclosing information outside of the system great caution should be exercised and it should be seen as an exceptional measure. Consideration of third party disclosure should always be included as part of the offenders Risk Management Plan if an offender is subject to the MAPPA process.
If disclosure is made under the Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures concerning an adult subject to the MAPPA process the disclosure must be copied to the MAPPA officer and must also be agreed at a senior level within Safeguarding Investigations Units and recorded on file.
If there is dispute between agencies on the need for disclosure this should be referred to the appropriate senior manager such as Caldicott Guardian for children’s services, the appropriate Designated Nurse/Doctor, the Assistant Chief Probation Officer in the relevant division and the relevant Detective Superintendent for the Police in consultation with the Force disclosure officer.
Legal advice should be sought where doubt exists as to the lawfulness of disclosure.
Specific consideration should be given to the need to disclose information to colleagues from the health and education teams within children’s services since they may also be able to add to the overall assessment of risk.
The absence of a conviction for child abuse in a criminal court does not prevent a local authority from informing parents or carers of the potential risk posed by someone who is honestly believed on reasonable grounds to have abused children- see also ‘Forming Beliefs’ Protocol.
In other cases children’s social care may need to consider the risk also of those alleged abusers who:
Assessment of risk to children and the need to disclose must form part of the Child Protection Conference discussions and should also be considered in MAPPA meetings and should take into account:
Where the risk assessment for disclosure of information relates to a convicted offender who is subject of MAPPA, then any decision to disclose must be authorised by the police or probation through the MAPPA process. A MAPPA disclosure form must be completed and submitted to the MAPPA officer.
The risk assessment must also consider the following risks:
Where possible, the alleged / suspected offender should be consulted to provide information to assist the risk assessment.
The suspected / alleged offender should be given the opportunity to challenge the information on which the decision to disclose is being made, and the response considered as part of the risk assessment.
The senior child protection manager and legal department must be consulted regarding the possibility of disclosure and the decision taken by the service manager, in consultation with police and probation at a strategy meeting.
If the police do not support any planned disclosure based on the potential risk to an identified child, further legal advice must be taken.
Each decision to disclose must be justified on the likelihood of harm which non-disclosure might otherwise cause and the pressing need for such a disclosure.
Consideration must be given to other, less intrusive methods that might achieve any required objectives:
Where a decision to disclose is agreed, the risk management process must consider at a strategy meeting:
Following disclosure, the social worker, police or probation officer must note: