Data sharing for child safeguarding

Posted on October 5th, 2023

On 14 September 2023, the Information Commissioner’s Office released new guidance to address concerns about breaching data protection legislation when sharing information to protect at-risk children and young people.

The UK Information Commissioner, John Edwards, stated:

“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 into trouble with the ICO for trying to prevent or lessen a serious risk or threat to a child’s mental and physical wellbeing.”

The guidance provides a practical 10 step guide on data protection considerations when sharing personal information for child safeguarding purposes.

Who is the guidance for?

The 10 step guide is for use by anyone involved in safeguarding children in the UK. As the guidance re-iterates ‘Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility – not just practitioners in child safeguarding’.

The 10 steps

The steps include information and examples on identifying the reasons for sharing the information, the importance of having clear policies and processes for sharing information and the data sharing code of practice.

The ICO is also developing a set of guidance on sharing information to safeguard children for specific sectors, which will take into account different legislation and policies.

The new guidance is important for child safeguarding and highlights the ICO’s commitment to ensuring that data protection legislation does not impede child safety.

Full ICO guidance

A link to the ICO guidance can be found here A 10 step guide to sharing information to safeguard children.

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