Updating our page on information governance

If you’ve arrived on this page, we expect you want to know more about, or get help with, an information governance (legal) issue or data protection legislation.

Our organisation is focused on the cultural challenges to information sharing, but we recognise that these often underpin effective, sustainable compliance with data protection legislation and information governance arrangements. So we’re here to help.

To make sure we provide the right support, we ran a short survey to find out what our readers want on our information governance pages. The top two answers, which were streets ahead of anything else, were:

1. ‘suggestions of, or links to, legislation and guidance’; and
2. ‘template agreements or protocols’.

The first one is the easier of the two to provide, so you’ll find links to legislation and trusted guidance on our new page – we’re happy to add to this list so if you can recommend any other useful sources which you think others could benefit from, please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.

The second one, around templates, is the slightly trickier one to answer. This is because our work with local places and national organisations has taught us that simply ‘having’ an information sharing agreement or protocol (ISA or ISP) won’t fix all your information sharing issues. Rather, we’ve found that it’s the process of working with your partners; building relationships, consulting, communicating, and developing trust (whilst you complete an ISA or Privacy Impact Assessment – PIA) which makes the information flow.

So, whilst we’re not going to provide a template which you can simply fill in and ask your partners to sign, we are going to offer you a suite of support materials which will help you do the relationship building, communication, and development of trust needed to make your ISA or PIA something which you and your partners really ‘buy-in to’ and support long term.

To do this, we’ve put our heads together and identified eight of the biggest and most common cultural challenges to getting an ISA, ISP or PIA not only off the ground, but also accepted and implemented – with support from all the key people. We know that successful information sharing requires a collaborative team approach, with information specialists working alongside specialists in communications, training, change management and with support across the board – from senior leaders to operational managers, front-line staff and service users.

Eight key challenges often faced:
1. What to do if you can’t agree whose ISA template to use or another partner(s) insists theirs is used.
2. Managing lack of capacity and pressure of time.
3. What if partner(s) want to go ahead and not bother with a formal arrangement.
4. What else needs to be done in addition to just writing an ISA? e.g. policy, processes, retention, security, privacy.
5. Identify key stakeholders – the blockers and the facilitators and how to work with them.
6. How to keep everyone sighted on the end goal, and not being absorbed by the ISA task.
7. Keeping stakeholders engaged and including those who might join later.
8. Overcoming language barriers and considering the needs of different audiences involved in developing or implementing an ISA.

These challenges are going to be the focus for developing our new information governance pages, so over the next few months we’ll be:

  • talking to information governance leads (and other people who we think would find this support useful), to check that the challenges we’ve identified above make sense, to see if we’ve missed anything, and to find out what kind of support materials they’d find most useful; and
  • updating this page with support materials, designed to help you explore and tackle these eight challenges, with other key people. They’ll be a mixture of examples of how local places we’ve worked with have overcome these challenges, and tools you can download and use with people in your local organisation or partnership.

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