Legislation relevant to sharing information

Children’s Act 1989

Section 17 – general duty of local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area, who are in need, and so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families.

Section 47 – where a local authority is informed that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is subject of an emergency protection order or is in police protection or there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm , there is a duty to investigate.

Children’s Act 2004

Section 10 – promote co-operation to improve wellbeing

Section 11 – arrangements to safeguard and promote welfare

Common Law Duty of ConfidentialityLegal precedent states that if information is given in circumstances where it is expected that a duty of confidence applies, that information cannot normally be disclosed without the information provider’s consent. You cannot use or share information which was originally provided in confidence without the individual’s permission, unless there is an overriding reason in the public interest for this to happen or another law or power permits disclosure.
Crime & Disorder Act 1998

 Section 17 – duty of each authority to exercise its functions with due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions, and the need to do all that it reasonably can, to prevent crime and disorder in its area.

Section 115 – any person who apart from this section would not have power to disclose information to a relevant authority or to a person acting on behalf of such an authority, shall have the power to do so in any case where the disclosure is necessary or expedient for the purposes of this Act.

General Data Protection RegulationArticle 6 – Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

    1. the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;
    2. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
    3. processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;
    4. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;
    5. processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;
    6. processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

Article 9

  1. Processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
  2. Paragraph 1 shall not apply if one of the following applies:
    1. the data subject has given explicit consent to the processing of those personal data for one or more specified purposes, except where Union or Member State law provide that the prohibition referred to in paragraph 1 may not be lifted by the data subject;
    2. processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of employment and social security and social protection law in so far as it is authorised by Union or Member State law or a collective agreement pursuant to Member State law providing for appropriate safeguards for the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;
    3. processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving consent;
    4. processing is carried out in the course of its legitimate activities with appropriate safeguards by a foundation, association or any other not-for-profit body with a political, philosophical, religious or trade union aim and on condition that the processing relates solely to the members or to former members of the body or to persons who have regular contact with it in connection with its purposes and that the personal data are not disclosed outside that body without the consent of the data subjects;
    5. processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject;
    6. processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or whenever courts are acting in their judicial capacity;
    7. processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject;
    8. processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services on the basis of Union or Member State law or pursuant to contract with a health professional and subject to the conditions and safeguards referred to in paragraph 3;
    9. processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices, on the basis of Union or Member State law which provides for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subject, in particular professional secrecy;
    10. processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) based on Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.
  3. Personal data referred to in paragraph 1 may be processed for the purposes referred to in point (h) of paragraph 2 when those data are processed by or under the responsibility of a professional subject to the obligation of professional secrecy under Union or Member State law or rules established by national competent bodies or by another person also subject to an obligation of secrecy under Union or Member State law or rules established by national competent bodies.
  4. Member States may maintain or introduce further conditions, including limitations, with regard to the processing of genetic data, biometric data or data concerning health.
Education Act 2002 Section 175 – a Local Education Authority shall make arrangements for ensuring that the functions conferred on them in their capacity as a Local Education Authority are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015

Section 2 – Consistent identifiers – a requirement for health and adult social care organisations to use a consistent identifier (the NHS Number) for data sharing associated with facilitating care for an individual

Section 3 – A legal duty requiring health and adult social care bodies to share information where this will facilitate care for an individual.

Human Rights Act 1998  Article 8 Right of respect for private and family life
Local Government Act 1972 Section 111(1) – a local authority shall have the power to do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive to or incidental to, the discharge of any of their statutory functions
Local Government Act 2000Section 2(1) – a local authority shall have the power to do anything which they consider is likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of social well-being of their area.
National Health Services Act 2006

Section 82 – in exercising their respective functions NHS bodies and local authorities must co-operate with one another to secure and advance the health and welfare of the people of England and Wales.

Section 201(3)(d) – a disclosure of information may be made if it is for the purposes of criminal investigations or proceedings.

Section 201(6) – information to which this section applies may be disclosed in accordance with Section 201(3) despite any obligation of confidence that would otherwise prohibit or restrict the disclosure.

Whenever you share personal data, you must also comply with the data protection principles. You must also ensure that any sharing is necessary and proportionate and check whether the information is confidential, and if so, whether you have the power to share it.