Information sharing is vital to improve outcomes for children and vulnerable people, protect their rights, deliver better and more efficient services and is sometimes essential to keep people safe.

Information may need to be shared between agencies and professionals  – these pages clarify when and how personal information can be shared.

The Data Protection Act 1998 is the legal framework for obtaining, using, storing, disclosing and deleting personal data about living and identifiable people. It is not a barrier to sharing information but it does require practitioners to share information legally, professionally and securely and provides individuals with the right to:

  • request a copy of any personal data held about them by the Council
  • avoid unwarranted substantial damage or distress through information misuse
  • compensation caused by the Council failing to comply with the Data Protection Act
  • have inaccurate or misleading information corrected or destroyed.

Data Protection Principles have been adapted to produce council standards:

  • information must be processed fairly and lawfully
  • information must only be shared and used for the stated and agreed purpose(s)
  • information shared must be adequate, relevant, proportionate and not excessive
  • information should be shared promptly with the relevant persons
  • information should be shared securely and held securely by those persons
  • information should not be held for any longer than necessary
  • information you want to share should be accurate and up to date.

Accurate records of your decisions and details of any information shared, with whom and the reasons why (or why not, if you decide it is not appropriate to share the information) should be kept.

Links are provided to relevant local and national sources of additional information and guidance: