To share or not to share?

Emma Hart,
Engagement Manager,
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

It’s day two of our week-long look at how practitioners can overcome information sharing issues and I want to start with a question - to share or not to share? I know this is a predicament that safeguarding practitioners face on a daily basis. Having worked as a practitioner myself, I can assure you that it is never a decision that is taken without careful consideration. Can I share? Should I share? What are the consequences if I don’t share and what are the consequences if I do?

Having spoken to over 150 safeguarding practitioners from across the country as part of our work programme ‘Information sharing to protect vulnerable children and families’, I can empathise with your frustrations. Sometimes, we feel caught in the metaphorical web of red tape that surrounds us, so much so that we lose sight of our purpose and place emphasis on the process.

Serious case reviews have shown us that a lack of appropriate and timely information sharing is a key issue. Therefore, when working with children and families it is crucial to remember that if a child is at risk or suffering significant harm, the law supports you to share information without consent. The earlier the information is shared, the earlier we can provide support for the welfare of the child.

If I could provide any advice to practitioners about sharing information, it would be to reiterate a simple and effective message that we have been hearing for some time now. Always place the child at the heart of your decision making. Although the process is important, don’t let it become a barrier to sharing information.

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