Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) Practice Development Panel: final report
Final report from the GIRFEC Practice Development Panel, including recommendations on information sharing in support of the named person and child’s plan aspects.
Given all of the above, the Panel’s conclusions are that;
- professional codes, policies, procedures and guidance on GDPR and the DPA 2018 can, in the Panel’s view, provide the legal framework and safeguards that are needed to support proportionate and necessary information sharing within a GIRFEC approach.
- accordingly, it is neither necessary nor desirable to have a detailed statutory Code to govern and direct practitioner information sharing when delivering a Getting It Right For Every Child approach under current policy.
- It would be possible to produce a draft Code of Practice for Information Sharing to support progress of the Information Sharing Bill that properly reflects the relevant legal requirements. However, the detail that such a Code would require means it would not be user friendly to apply in practice
- in addition, the absence of case law and guidance on the interpretation of the GDPR and the DPA 2018 means that the Panel could not be confident in delivering an authoritative draft Code.
The Panel’s prime recommendation is that Ministers should not pursue a binding Code for Information Sharing in relation to information sharing under Part 4 (Provision of Named Persons) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.
The Panel recommends that Scottish Government consider the following measures to improve knowledge, understanding and practice in relation to sharing information to promote, support and safeguard the wellbeing of children and young people and delivery of the GIRFEC approach:
1. An updated policy statement on the Getting It Right For Every Child approach. This statement should clarify the Scottish Government’s expectations in relation to delivering a Named Person service and the framework for planning for individual children and young people.
2. Measures that support transparency of information sharing and increase the public’s understanding and confidence in the GIRFEC approach to promote, support and safeguard children and young people’s wellbeing - which includes:
- a summary of the rights, principles and values that govern information sharing, which should be accessible and understandable for children, young people and parents.
- an emphasis on the rights of children and young people as individuals, their entitlement to support and benefits of engaging with services that are available to support them
3. A refresh of the suite of practice guidance and learning and development materials that support organisations and practitioners to develop the culture, systems and practice that delivers the GIRFEC approach. This should include:
a. co-production of guidance for practitioners on sharing information that could promote, support or safeguard a child or young person’s wellbeing. The production of this guidance should involve the public (children, parents, young people) statutory and non-statutory service providers, rights promoting organisations, professional organisations, unions, regulatory bodies, Information Commissioner’s Office and others as appropriate.
b. guidance on sharing information without the agreement of those to whom it relates when there is a suspected risk of harm, potential risk of harm, risk of harm or actual harm to a child. This guidance should include specific reference to when the harm is related to neglect. The guidance should also provide advice on how and when chronologies are created, who contributes and who they are shared with.
c. general guidance on information sharing in relation to wellbeing concerns, risks and needs in the whole population.
4. There should be additional multi-year investment in multi-agency training and development supporting common purpose and collaborative working in relation to sharing information and the delivery of the GIRFEC approach.
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