3.3 Sharing information with family members about other adults and the risk they may pose




Working Together 2018 states that “practitioners should be alert to sharing important information about any adults with whom that child has contact, which may impact the child’s safety or welfare.” 


It is important that professionals consider whether relevant information should be shared not just with other practitioners, but also with anyone else with caring responsibilities for a child who needs to know the information to help them to take good decisions about how to keep that child safe. This applies even in cases where information about an adult would normally be regarded as confidential


The need to keep a child safe will usually override considerations about the right of the adult who is the subject of the information to have their information treated as confidential. It is also important that professionals  do not make assumptions about what someone with caring responsibility already knows.

Being proactive in ensuring that they know what they need to know in order to keep the child safe is essential.

Sharing information with family members about other adults and the risk they may pose


Where professionals  believe they need to share information about an adult with a child’s parent/ carer they should consider:

  1. What is the minimum information they need to share?
  2. Whether it is safe and appropriate to inform the adult who is the subject of the information that they will be sharing that information. Practitioners should not inform the adult if they judge that doing so would endanger the child or their carer. Whether or not the subject adult is informed about the release of the information, the practitioner should consider whether the release of the information creates any safeguarding risk for that adult and what measures might be possible or appropriate to mitigate that risk.
  3. The potential need to seek Information Governance / Legal advice prior to disclosure to family members/carers. Where a clear safeguarding need is identified it would not be necessary to seek advice as professional judgement would be sufficient and should be recorded in case notes. Where cases are more complex or finely balanced with regard to disclosure then advice should be sought. There will be a need to obtain legal advice if the information to be shared has been obtained within court proceedings.
  4. How best to ensure that the person receiving the information will treat it sensitively. Sharing information with family members is different from sharing with other practitioners; the same expectations in terms of information security will not necessarily apply. In the end, however, the key consideration must be how best to keep the child safe. The possibility of onward sharing should be considered in the process of seeking to balance privacy versus safeguarding risks. There is a clause in the Data Protection Act that individuals can be made aware of if appropriate:

DPA (2018) Part 6, 170 1) (a) states that ‘it is an offence for a person knowingly or recklessly to … disclose personal data without the consent of the controller’ (which would be agency sharing the information.) https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/section/170/enacted


Where information needs to be shared in order to protect a child, it should be shared as soon as possible and in all cases within one working day.


When information has been shared in this way with a third party, professionals  must:

  1. Record on their case management system exactly what information has been shared, with whom and when, and what the rationale was for doing so.
  2. Consider who else within the network of professionals (or other adults) supporting the child needs to know that the information has been shared
  3. Ensure that others who need to know are informed, again within one working day.
This page is correct as printed on Sunday 23rd of June 2024 12:29:45 AM please refer back to this website (http://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.