Sharing safeguarding information about children and GDPR – new guidance
One of the questions which comes up a lot in safeguarding training is: ‘How do I share information about a child or adult I am worried about under GDPR rules?’
I have always responded that safeguarding ‘trumps’ GDPR and you must always share information if you are worried about the safety of a child. There is much helpful advice in the 2018 document ‘information sharing - advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents or carers.’ Many people I work with find the flowchart in this document really useful.
However, during September additional information has been published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (www.ico.org.uk ). For those who work in safeguarding, this is really useful and makes it 100% clear that information should always be shared if there are safeguarding concerns about children.
In the related press release, John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner states: "My message to people supporting and working with children and young people is clear: if you think a child is at risk of harm, you can share information to protect them. You will not get in trouble with the ICO for trying to prevent or lessen a serious risk or threat to a child’s mental and physical wellbeing."
In fact, the headline stresses this even more strongly:
‘Share information to protect children and young people at risk, urges UK Information Commissioner’. Click this link to see the full press release.
In order to support anyone working with children and young people, 10 steps of guidance have been produced. These include useful information about information sharing agreements, and also the suggestion to develop a Data Protection Impact Assessment. Clear examples support the guidance and help to bring it to life.
Again, and again the point is stressed that information should be shared when there are concerns about children’s welfare. It is great that this has been made so clear.
For more information click here.
I urge anyone who works with children and young people to have a read of the press release and guidance.
As always, please do
Time to review your polices?
Most of use put off reviewing policies and find it a tough job. This summer I have been working on policies from 2 perspectives – starting my own policies which work for my business. Then I have been working on policies with a local authority making sure their policies are ready for the transition to Family Hubs. These policies must work for staff, parents and partner agencies. It has been an interesting process, and for both sets of policies there were some common criteria which it might be useful to think about when you next look at your organisations policies:
- Do they make sense? Sounds obvious but ask a new volunteer or member of staff to have a look. Are there lots of abbreviations?
- Are they very long? Let’s be honest, if they are very long they won’t get read! Can you cut down the wording or refer to information that the organisation holds elsewhere?
- Have you used plain English? Lots of advice on https://www.plainenglish.co.uk/free-guides.html
- Are you thinking about the different ways which people absorb information? I find many people who struggle with excessive words find it easier to have a process mapped out. A sample which I worked on for another organisation is shown below. The feedback has been very positive.
I could say lots more, but yesterday when I attended an excellent webinar run by the NSPCC I was reminded of one more thing. This was a safeguarding update and reminded us of the need for all policy to be based in law and guidance.
So have you checked your policies reflect the most relevant legislation for your work? This might include:
- Children Act 1989 and 2004
- Working Together to Safeguard Children
- The Care Act 2014
I could say more, but I hope this is a useful starting point.
If I can be of any more help please do contact me on
Common childhood accidents – are you prepared?
I am using my blog this month to highlight some useful research from the National Fostering Agency. The report was written some time ago but is still very relevant and resonates with me in my role as a First Aid Trainer. Particularly when I am working with parents and early years staff, we discuss the levels of anxiety involved in looking after young children safely. We all know that young children can get into danger really quickly, however carefully you watch them. For example, when walking with you they can step out into a busy road without looking, or while your back is turned, they can be finding out what is in your kitchen cupboards.
Many delegates confirm that undertaking an accredited first aid course such I those I offer through ITC First helps to increase their confidence.
The article lists common causes of accidents as:
- Strangulation by Blind Cords
- Burning and Choking from Button Batteries
- Drowning in the bath
- Liquitab Poisoning
- Choking on food
- Overdosing on Painkillers
- Falls downstairs
- Drowning in a pond
This list is useful to anyone who looks after babies or children either for a job, as a volunteer or for a family member. The good news is that many of these accidents are preventable. Spend some time looking around your setting and have a look through the eyes of a young child. What dangers might there be which can be made safe?
Those who have been on my first aid courses know we always talk about choking and minimising the risk through actions such as sitting down to eat, cutting up food, eating slowly…and this applies to adults as well as children!
And don’t forget the work of the Child Accident Trust – some great advice on their website!
So prevention is better than cure, but just in case always make sure you have up to date First Aid Training!