Frequently asked questions

Here at the Centre, we often get asked some of the same questions, so in case you were wondering the same,  here are some of the more popular FAQs about us and how we can help you.

1. What is the role of the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing?
The Centre’s role is to challenge, inspire and support change in order to transform services through improved information sharing across the public sector. We work with a variety of local places, across a range of policy areas to help uncover and understand what is limiting good information sharing between them and their partners. Challenging culture is at the heart of our work. Our team has years of experience and we recognise that you can have the best policies and databases in place, but without the right culture and mind-set, these will only take you so far.

2. Does the Centre provide advice or support on information sharing governance issues or information sharing agreements or protocols?
The Centre focuses on the cultural side of information sharing, e.g. issues like leadership, trust and risk management. We do however work closely with organisations who deal with the governance side to information sharing – like the Information Governance Alliance and the Information Commissioner's Office. By working with these organisations we’ve developed some resources which you may find useful – these include a checklist of things to consider if you are developing an Information Sharing Protocol or an Information Sharing Agreement, as well as guidance and a template - take a look at our governance page to find out more.

If your query is around the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act or data controllers we recommend you contact the Information Commissioner's Office whose role it is to uphold information rights in the public interest. If your query is around the rules on using and sharing information in health and care we recommend you contact the Information Governance Alliance whose role it is to improve knowledge and practice of information governance across the health and care system.

3. I work for a local authority or public sector organisation and I would like your help with an information sharing issue I’m facing, how can the Centre help?
The provision of advice and support to local areas on how best to implement information sharing is at the heart of what we do. To find out more about how we might be able to work with you to improve your services, please read our ‘work with us’ page and then email a brief explanation of the issue you are facing and the support you are looking for, and we will get back to you. Please note that it is likely that we will charge for our advice work in local areas.

4. Does the Centre provide funding for programmes, projects or training on information sharing?
Unfortunately the Centre does not provide any funding. However, if we hear of any funding pots that become available we try our best to promote these – we usually do this via our newsletter and on twitter so it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on both.

5. Can a member of the Centre speak at our event and is there a charge?
We are quite a small team with limited resources. We always consider any speaking invitation and if possible field a member of our team to speak.  Generally we do charge to speak at events if the organiser charges for people to attend, but we are happy to discuss charges on a case-by-case basis. Please email info@informationsharing.org.uk with any speaker requests.

6. My organisation’s work also focuses on information sharing and there is some overlap with the work of the Centre – is there any possibility of working with you?
We work in partnership with a number of organisations and we are always interested in hearing from organisations working to improve information sharing. For any other queries regarding joint work please email info@informationsharing.org.uk

7. I would like to learn from the work you have already done in other local areas and read any examples of best practice you have written. Where can I find these?
You can find our reports and case studies from other local places across our website. You can also find guidance and resources such as information about Information Sharing Agreements and Protocols.

8. Is it just local authorities and public sector organisations in England which you work with?
We do not currently work directly in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. This is because the initial funding provided to establish the Centre was managed through central government departments whose remit extended only as far as England. However, our publications, and online advice are accessible to all and our evidence is drawn from across the UK and international sources. If you are from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and you would like to work with us, we’re afraid there will be a charge for our services, but please get in touch via info@informationsharing.org.uk as it’s always worth having a chat.

9. I have a media request, who should I contact?
For all media-related enquiries, please contact our head of dissemination by emailing media@informationsharing.org.uk