Consent

Key points

In circumstances where a parent is suspected of possible abuse, as a rule concerns should not be shared with a parent/carer, advice should be sought from social work services or police. If the child remains beyond the end of the school day, due to concerns about their safety, consideration must be given to how the child will get home and informing the parent/carer of the child’s whereabouts.

If in doubt about whether a child should go home or released into the care of a parent/carer, discussions should take place with the duty social worker that day before a decision is taken.

Although consent is not required to share child protection concerns, provided it doesn’t increase the risk to the child/ren, and it does not prejudice any subsequent police investigation, where possible gaining consent is good practice. Consent must be informed which means that the person who has given consent understands:

    • what will happen to the information
    • who will be told what
    • who they will then tell
    • why people are being told the information.

 

How to do it

    • Explain to people openly and honestly what information you will share, with whom and why. The only time that you should not do this is if letting them know will leave someone at risk of significant harm.
    • You should respect the wishes of family members if they do not want information shared, unless someone will be placed at risk of harm if you don’t share the information.
    • If in doubt speak to your line manager or child protection nominated link, the social work services duty worker.

Before embarking on a discussion with the young person, the following must be considered:

    • Make sure that the information that you are sharing is accurate and up to date. The information should be necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it and only shared with those who need to know it. The information should also be shared securely.
    • You should always record the reason for your decision; whether you shared the information or not.
    • There should be no agreement to “keep secret” any information disclosed by a young person or a third party, where this information may suggest that a child or young person has experienced or is at risk of experiencing abuse or harm.
    • Explaining to the young person about confidentiality and the need to share relevant information if there are concerns about their safety
    • Whether to talk to the young person alone or with others (witnesses; someone the young person chooses to have with them for support?)
    • If and what information should be recorded?
    • What information may need to be shared, when, and for what purpose?
    • How this will support people in their assessment and enable them to determine whether or not it is a child protection or child welfare issue.

Explain to people openly and honestly what information you will share, with whom and why. The only time that you should not do this is if letting them know will leave someone at risk of significant harm.

Confidentiality must be safeguarded at all times, consent must be sought at all times, and decisions to override consent must be clearly recorded. Capacity to give consent must be assessed.

 

Confidentiality and information sharing

Before embarking on a discussion with the young person the following must be considered:

      • There should be no agreement to “keep secret” any information disclosed by a young person or a third party, where this information may suggest that a child or young person has experienced or is at risk of experiencing abuse or harm.
      • Explaining to the young person about confidentiality and the need to share relevant information if there are concerns about their safety. For a z-card click here.
      • Whether to talk to the young person alone or with others (witnesses; someone the young person chooses to have with them for support?)
      • If and what information should be recorded?
      • What information may need to be shared, when, and for what purpose?
      • How this will support people in their assessment and enable them to determine whether or not it is a child protection or child welfare issue.

Explain to people openly and honestly what information you will share, with whom and why. The only time that you should not do this is if letting them know will leave someone at risk of harm.

Make sure that the information that you are sharing is accurate and up to date. The information should be necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it and only shared with those who need to know it.  The information should also be shared securely.

Although not necessary for child protection concerns but provided it doesn’t increase the risk to the child gaining consent is good practice.

Consent must be informed which means that the person who has given consent understands;

    • what will happen to the information
    • who will be told what
    • who they will then tell
    • why people are being told the information.