Information sharing legislation

I was looking at the Law Commission website today, and they have announced their intention to look at the law relating to information sharing.  They have cited 3 reasons for this:

  • First, there may be barriers in the substantive law which unduly restrict data sharing between public bodies.
  • Secondly, even if the law allows for sharing, it could be that the law is so unclear that it is easy to misunderstand and misapply, creating perceived barriers to data sharing. Therefore, there is something wrong with the form of the law – the way it is expressed.
  • Thirdly, it may be that there is simply a gap in education, guidance and advice on the law

Information sharing is fundamental to local service transformation, if services are to provide a more integrated approach to supporting user needs.  When undertaking local transformation work, it is incredibly important that local areas focus on developing their own information sharing solutions, based on a good understanding of information needs.  This is a message that the IISaM project consistently portrays.  In this way, if significant legislative barriers to information sharing do exist, they can be clearly evidenced.  Evidence has been something that has been lacking in any calls from local areas to legislate for information sharing.

As well as the Law Commissions work, there are two other major areas that could impact on the legislative framework:

  • The proposed European Data Protection Regulation, which is causing considerable controversy at the European level.  Being a Regulation, this would become our primary legislation on Data Protection.
  • The review of Information Governance by Dame Fiona Caldicott, which is proposing a number of changes in the area of information sharing, and which could have implications for our legislative framework.

I have three questions:

  • Are there any other legislative areas where there is CLEAR EVIDENCE (and what is that evidence) that there is a need for legislative change?
  • What are the key themes emerging from debates about the European Directive, the Caldicott review, and the proposal by the Law Commission to look at the law relating to information sharing?
  • What are the possible impacts of these changes on local services?