Effective information-sharing underpins integrated working and is a vital element of both early intervention and safeguarding. Keeping children safe from harm requires practitioners and others to share information about:
- A child's health and development and any exposure to possible harm;
- A parent who may need help, or may not be able to care for a child adequately and safely; and
- Those who may pose a risk of harm to a child.
Often it is information from a number of sources that indicates that a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Practitioners should be proactive in sharing information as early as possible to help identify, assess and respond to risks or concerns about the safety and welfare of children or adults in their family. This includes when problems first emerge, or where a child is already known to local authority children's social care (e.g. they are being supported as a child in need or have a child protection plan).
Some practitioners may be concerned about the need to balance their duties to protect children with their duty of care towards their patient or service user. However, in English Law, where there are concerns that a child is, or may be, at risk of significant harm, the overriding consideration is to safeguard the child (The Children Act 1989).
SCSP city-wide policy and protocol: