View Lincolnshire SCB Procedures View Lincolnshire SCB Procedures

5.2.3 Information Sharing Agreement with Lincolnshire Police

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This Protocol is an Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) between Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) Children's Services and Lincolnshire Police. The purpose is to create a system for the formal exchange of information between LCC Children's Services and Lincolnshire Police to assist working together, to investigate and protect children and provides a framework for action.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

DfE, Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2015)

RELATED CHAPTER

Lincolnshire Children’s Services and Lincolnshire Police Protocol on Managing Domestic Abuse Notifications & Referrals

AMENDMENT

This chapter has been significantly fully updated in December 2016 to reflect current required practice, organisational structures, roles and responsibilities and should be re-read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose
  3. Partners
  4. Power(s)
  5. Process
  6. Types of Information to be Shared
  7. Constraints on the Use of the Information
  8. Roles and Responsibilities under this Agreement
  9. Specific Procedures
  10. Review, Retention and Deletion
  11. Review of the Information Sharing Agreement
  12. Indemnity
  13. Signature

    Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form


1. Introduction

1.1 Lincolnshire Police are committed to partnership working and continually look for opportunities to work more closely with local authorities to detect, prevent and reduce crime.
1.2 This agreement outlines the need for the Police and Children’s Services to work together to investigate and protect children and provides a framework for action.


2. Purpose

2.1 The purpose of this agreement is to enable information to be disclosed to Lincolnshire Children’s Services during Child Protection and Child in Need Enquiries, including those within cases of Domestic Abuse.
2.2

It will incorporate measures aimed at:

  • Facilitating a coordinated approach to child protection and child in need enquiries;
  • Facilitating the collection and exchange of relevant information;
  • The pursuit of civil or criminal proceedings in relevant cases, either by Lincolnshire Police or Lincolnshire Children’s Services;
  • Ensuring that the sharing of information meets one or more of the policing purposes.
2.3 It also seeks to increase the confidence of the community of Lincolnshire, while encouraging their support to enable Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services to combat abuse and safeguard children.
2.4 A key factor for developing Information Sharing Agreements is to ensure that personal information is being processed fairly and lawfully. Identifying the Data Controller for personal information disclosed within the remit of this ISA will help determine the roles and responsibilities of each organisation. This should ensure that information sharing is both fair and lawful. The recipient organisation will become the Data Controller for any personal information that is shared for the purpose/s described within this ISA.


3. Partners

3.1

This agreement is between the following partners:

Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services
Orchard House
Orchard Street
Lincoln LN1 1BN

and,

Lincolnshire Police,
Police Headquarters,
PO BOX 999,
LINCOLN LN5 7PH


4. Power(s)

4.1

This agreement fulfils the requirements of the following:

Lincolnshire Police has a duty to disclose information to third parties during child protection; child in need enquiries, and to ensure that any disclosure made is made within legislative obligations. These are that the information disclosed meets:

4.2 In respect of child protection and children in need, there may be a need to disclose information, which relates to doubts and suspicions.
4.3 In respect of allegations made against individuals who work with children, there may be a need to disclose information which relates to previous criminal enquiries, convictions and police intelligence.
4.4 It is acknowledged that this can invoke Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998 the rights of individuals: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. However, this right has to be balanced against the rights of children and others at risk of harm and Article 2 “right to life” and Article 3 “prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, create obligations on the State to take action. (See Schedule 1 The Articles, Human Rights Act 1998).
4.5

The rights under Article 8 can be breached where it is necessary and proportionate to do so in the following circumstances:

  • In the interests of the prevention of disorder or crime;
  • In the interests of the protection of health or morals;
  • In the interests of the protection of the rights and freedom of others.
4.6 Section 47 Children’s Act 1989 allows Children’s Services to request information from other agencies as part of an ongoing child protection enquiry. It should be understood that a failure to disclose information, which could prevent a tragedy, can also result in criticism but above all could result in a child being harmed.
4.7 Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 allows Police to share information to safeguard children when allegations are made against individuals who work with children.
4.8 However, unjustified disclosure of information is likely to be challenged and could be unlawful.
4.9 On the other hand unjustified disclosure of information is likely to be challenged and could be unlawful.
4.10 Information to be disclosed needs to be accurate, current, factual and proportionate for the purpose for which it is disclosed; above all the information to be disclosed must be relevant and necessary to the issue raised in respect of the individual concerned.
4.11 This ISA also covers sharing information regarding incidents of domestic abuse where children are present or reside.


5. Process

5.1 This agreement has been formulated to facilitate the exchange of information between partners. It is, however, incumbent on all partners to recognise that any information shared must be justified on the merits of each case.
5.2

A multi use request form is to be used for the following reasons (see, Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form):

  • It records the request for information and the necessity to do so;
  • It provides evidence of consultation between the Police and Children’s Services in relation to a referral about a child in need;
  • It assists to record the decision making process where a child is suspected to be suffering, or likely to suffer, Significant Harm and Section 47 Children Act enquiries are required to be undertaken.
The Data Protection Officer in the Information Management Unit (IMU) will be consulted in respect of each instance where information is to be disclosed and will undertake the decision-making role and record same; except in cases involving a Section 47 Joint Agency Investigation, where The Central Referral Unit (CRU) of the Public Protection Unit will carry out this function.
5.3 In the initial stages of a child protection or child in need referral, it can be difficult to determine a course of action or whether a single or multi agency enquiry will result. Information may be disclosed on receipt of a referral or during a Strategy Discussion or meeting by PPU staff. However, all information disclosed by either the PADO team or the CRU must be recorded on the NICHE occurrence on the OEL under the header DISCLOSURE, this will also be added to FORM C which will be attached to the NICHE occurrence, a copy of which will be sent to Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services along with the information being disclosed (see Paragraph 8.3). In either case, a copy of the form will be retained in the respective unit and a record made on NICHE stating what has been disclosed and why. Following any strategy discussion/consultation with the CRU, it is the specific responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services to submit a copy of the SOS Strategy Discussion form, which must be forwarded within 10 days to the CRU for recording onto NICHE. Failure to submit the competed SOS Strategy Discussion form will result in a lack of continuity and a breakdown in information flow.
5.4

To ensure that the obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Human Rights Act 1998 are fulfilled the following procedure will apply:

  • The Request for Disclosure of Information Form application will be forwarded to the Partner Agency Disclosure Officer, who will review the request and determiine whether the request will be met and what checks will be undertaken and record same (see Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form);
  • In the case of a Section 47 Joint Investigation a SOS Strategy Discussion Form will need to be forwarded to the CRU, who will review the request and determine whether the request will be met and what checks will be undertaken and record same.
5.5 There will be instances whereby urgent action is required on behalf of either/both of Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services to prevent an immediate risk to a child. In such cases information that would normally be subject of a written request by Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services can be shared verbally by the Central Referral Unit. Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services will send a completed Request For Disclosure of Information Form application (see Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form) confirming this request the same day of the initial information sharing. CRU staff will make an entry on the NICHE system to record the fact that verbal disclosure has taken place.
5.6

Domestic Abuse Incidents where children are present or reside at the address.

Information will be shared by PPU-CRU direct to Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services on secure email. This will be by way of referral for high risk incidents, or notification by electronic format on a spreadsheet for standard and medium risk incidents. A full protocol document is available detailing the process agreed between the two agencies. (See Lincolnshire Children’s Services and Lincolnshire Police Protocol on Managing Domestic Abuse Notifications & Referrals).
5.7

Guidance - Sharing personal information via the telephone:

Due to the nature of incidents that may involve domestic abuse and/or child protection issues, it is not always possible to utilise a form - based approach when exchanging personal information. In these circumstances, the phone procedure detailed below should be followed. When sharing information via the telephone the following factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Who is asking for the information?
  • Record their name, position, organisation and contact details;
  • What information is being asked for? What purpose will it be used for?
  • Is the information being requested personal information?
  • Has a legal gateway or a policing purpose to share information been established?
  • If yes, how do they want the information?
  • Record your decision and how you made it, based on risk assessment. Record what information was shared and was it protectively marked.
5.8

Telephone Procedure:

Telephone systems can be used when necessary to convey restricted and below information. Conversations should be guarded, and wherever reasonably possible an alternative secure method of communication is preferable (such as secure e-mail) especially if there is a requirement to convey a large amount of very detailed information. Confidential and above information should never be conveyed via telephone systems without additional approved security mechanism. It is suggested that the following guidelines are used when exchanging personal information over the phone:

  • Verify the identity of the requester; be sure you know to whom you are talking to. If the request is urgent but not an emergency ensure that you verify their identity. You can do this by asking the requester to send an e-mail this will confirm their name and that they work for the Partner Agency / Organisation they are requesting the information on behalf of. Alternatively, if they are calling from another organisation you should call them back through their organisations published switchboard number. Do not disclose information when a return telephone number cannot be supplied;
  • Only provide the information to the person who has requested it. If they are not there you should leave a message for them to call back;
  • If the fact that someone has contacted your service is confidential, do not leave a message with someone else or on a voicemail unless you have his or her permission to do so;
  • Be aware of who might overhear your call;
  • Keep a record of any sensitive personal data disclosed during the call.


6. Types of Information to be Shared

6.1

Lincolnshire Police will share:

Through using Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form, the following circumstances will justify a request for disclosure of information from the Police:

  • When a child protection referral is made and a Section 47 joint investigation has begun, e.g. through a strategy discussion/meeting or child protection conference. In these instances, application for disclosure of information will be made through the CRU;
  • When Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services are carrying out an investigation under Section 47 on a single agency basis;
  • When Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services are carrying out an Assessment in order to inform the decision as to whether the Section 47 threshold is reached.
6.2

In the following circumstances, requests for disclosure of information will be made through the IMU:

  • When Children’s Services are carrying out a child in need Assessment under Section 17;
  • When the request relates to a child subject or previously subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • When Children’s Services are faced with the immediate need to place a child in an emergency, e.g. with a family member or friend who has not previously been checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS);
  • Where children may be at risk of harm due to domestic abuse;
  • Where allegations are made against individuals who work with children.
6.3 It must be noted that this is a minimal check and will not provide the information that a full DBS check will provide; as a result ALL requests made under the last bullet point MUST also be followed up with a DBS check.
6.4 Lincolnshire Police will also use this form to request information about a child to further inform decision making about what action to take to safeguard a child, (refer to LSCB Policy on enquiries to ascertain if a child is subject to a child protection plan).
6.5

Lincolnshrie County Council Children's Services will share:

  • Infromation in relation to allegations will be shared with the employer;
  • Information gathered as part of a section 47 with relevant agencies and the child/young person and/or their family or any party acting on their behalf at a child in need meeting / child protection conference to assist in safeguarding the child through a multi-agency plan unless there are specific reasons why information cannot be shared in the presence of the family this includes information disclosed by the police. Note that it is the responsibility of the social worker to have sought disclosure in advance of a Child Protection Conference. Police representatives at this forum will NOT be used as a means of seeking initial disclosure; instead their role in respect of disclosure will be limited to providing an update to information already provided.


7. Constraints on the Use of the Information

7.1 If an agency wishes to disclose shared information to a third party, as best practice the agency should seek written consent from the agency that provided the information. If a statutory requirement for disclosure exists then consent for further disclosure is not required. Any agency must ensure that all principles of the Data Protection Act are adhered to. Therefore, if an agency makes a further disclosure to a third party they must ensure that the sharing of personal data is not processed in any manner incompatible with the purpose/s it was obtained for.
7.2 As best practice all information shared is only valid at the time of provision, and should only be used for the purpose as requested. However, the recipient organisation becomes the Data Controller for the shared information therefore the information may be used for subsequent investigations, if it is being used for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which it was obtained, i.e. prevention and detection of crime and disorder.
7.3

Disclosures

Disclosures of information and in particular, personal data are bound to both common and statute law in particular, but not restricted to the following:

  • The Common Law Duty of Confidentiality;
  • The Data Protection Act 1998;
  • The Human Rights Act 1998.
Any disclosure of personal data must have regard to both common and statute law. For example, defamation, the common law duty of confidence and the data protection principles. Consideration should always be given to alternative powers that exist for the purposes of data disclosure.
7.4

Consent

Many of the Data Protection issues in relation to disclosure can be avoided if the consent of the individual has been sought and obtained. Consent must be freely given after the alternatives and consequences are made clear to the person from whom permission is being sought. This will be considered to be ‘informed consent’. For the purposes of this agreement, the term ‘sensitive’, where applied to data refers to the categories of data termed ‘sensitive’ within the Data Protection Act 1998.
7.5

Witnesses, Victims and Complaints

Extreme care and careful consideration should be taken where the disclosure of information includes details of witnesses, victims or complainants. The general rule is that information such as described by witnesses, victims or complainants should not be disclosed without first obtaining fully informed, specific and explicit consent from the individual concerned. In all such cases, advice should be sought from the legal department, Information Sharing Officer and/or Data Protection Officer.
7.6

Ongoing Investigations

If there is an ongoing investigation which is sensitive or of which the offender is not yet aware of the police investigation the officer in the case will be consulted prior to any dissemination to ensure there is no prejudice to the ongoing investigation or subsequent court proceedings. A case involving safeguarding issues, which require an urgent disclosure to protect any individual, should receive priority attention. In the event of a dispute, the views of the officer in the case will prevail.


8. Roles and Responsibilities under this Agreement

8.1

Each partner must appoint a single point of contact (SPoC), who must work together to jointly solve problems relating to child abuse. The sharing of information must only take place where it is valid and legally justified.

Police SPoC title=: Data Protection Officer
Contact Details: Tel: 01522 947125
CRU SPoC title=: CRU D/Sgt
Contact Details: Tel: 01522 947590
Lincolnshire County Council Chrildren's Serivces SPoC title=: Head of Service Safeguarding Children's Services
Contact Details: Tel: 01522 554403
8.2

The area of business to be checked by the Police in response to such a request are:

Child Protection Database
Domestic Abuse
Command & Control
IMPACT Nominal Index
VISOR
NICHE
PNC
Crime and Intelligence System
Firearms Revocation (via PNC)
Mirage
PND
GENIE
8.3 The result of these checks will be recorded on the Disclosure of Police Information Form and returned to the applicant. A copy will be filed and logged on NICHE. If there is no relevant information to disclose, the form will simply be marked “not relevant”.
8.4

It is important to consider that:

  • Disclosure should be made of any relevant information in the context of safeguarding children;
  • That a failure to disclose information to Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services may put a child at risk;
  • The Data Protection Officer or CRU officer (D/Insp /Co-ordinator) will decide whether the information to be disclosed is accurate, factual, relevant and proportionate to be disclosed and that it is necessary in the interests of the child to disclose all or part of the information to Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services;
  • If a criminal prosecution is pending the Crown Prosecution Service and Legal Services must be consulted about any proposed disclosure of information such as witness statements and any evidential material;
  • From time to time, emergency situations will occur but this procedure will still be followed.
8.5 Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services are to ensure that information disclosed by Lincolnshire Police in response to such a request is used only for the purpose for which the request was made. If other information available, at the time or later, to Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services tends to suggest that Police information is inaccurate or incomplete they will, at the earliest possible moment, inform the Data Protection Officer, IMU or CRU officer of such inaccuracy or incompleteness directly.
8.6 The Data Protection Officer or CRU officer should then consider, and if necessary, record any additions or changes to the recoreded Police Information.
8.7 Responsibilities

8.7.1

Lincolnshire County Council Children's Services:

  • That all requests for information meet the criteria outlined;
  • That the information disclosed by Lincolnshire Police is stored securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998;
  • That the information provided by Lincolnshire Police is not disclosed to third parties without the written consent of Lincolnshire Police;
  • That inaccuracies in the information provided by Lincolnshire Police are promptly notified to the Data Protection Officer or CRU officer.

8.7.2

Data Protection / FOI Manager and CRU D/Inspector:

  • Supporting staff to share information appropriately;
  • Providing a system for recording decisions on whether to disclose or not disclose;
  • Ensuring that the process of disclosing information is adhered to by both those in a supervisory and user capacity.

8.7.3

Data Protection Officer and CRU Officers (D/Constables):

  • Supporting staff to disclose information appropriately;
  • Auditing on an ad hoc basis, the decision to disclose made by users, including the necessity, accuracy and adequacy of information disclosed;
  • Checking whether the decision to disclose meets a policing need as laid out in this document or other legal duty or power;
  • Ensuring that information disclosed does not compromise any Police operation or the safety of others;
  • Ensuring that a risk assessment process, (contained within the Disclosure of Police Information Form), is adhered to by the user when making a decision to disclose information. Providing feedback to staff on their performance.

8.7.4

Users PADO and CRU Administrative Staff:

  • Ensuring that information is relevant, accurate and adequate for the purpose for which it is being disclosed;
  • Ensuring that when personal information is disclosed, the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidence have been fulfilled;
  • Recording any decision to disclose or not to disclose on the Disclosure of Police Information Form and NICHE;
  • Checking whether the decision to disclose meets a policing need as laid out in this document or other legal duty or power;
  • Ensuring that information disclosed does not compromise any Police operation or the safety of others.


9. Specific Procedures

9.1 All requests for information must be made in writing using the Request for Disclosure of Information Form (see Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form). Without this form, ALL applications (except in urgent cases, see Paragraph 5.6) will be rejected and returned.
9.2 Requests and replies to requests must be made via a secure e-mail facility. A secure e-mail address may contain one of the following; cjsm; cjx; gcsx; gsi; gsx; mod; nhs.net; pnn. If you are unsure as to whether an e-mail address you have been provided with is secure, you should contact the Force Security Officer (01522 947115) for assistance.
9.3 Forms must be completed electronically; endorsement of Children’s Services staff must by completed prior to emailing to IMU/CRU.
9.4 Disclosure of information (see Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form) replies to requests must be made in 10 working days, from receipt of the request except in urgent cases (see Paragraph 5.6). Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services staff are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity. Requests for such information from PPU staff either locally or at conference will not be accepted.


10. Review, Retention and Deletion

10.1

The recipient of the information is required to keep it securely stored and when it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was requested, will safely dispose of it. In order to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, data should be kept no longer than is necessary, retention periods may vary between organisations. In accordance, with the Management of Police Information (MoPI) and the Limitations Act (1980) Lincolnshire Police will retain copies of the requests and responses for 6 years.

The original police data source will be deleted when it is no longer useful for a policing purpose, this will be done in line with Lincolnshire Polices Review, Retention and Disposal policies which are governed by MoPI guidelines. Partner agencies should retain the shared information in accordance with statutory guidelines and internal policies. If no statutory guidance exists for the retention and deletion of data, information should be held in accordance with the fourth and fifth principle of the DPA. Files containing information from partner sources will be reviewed in line with force policy.
10.2 Unless at a conference and in the presence of other professionals, the recipient will not release the information to any third party without obtaining the express written authority of the partner who provided the information. At conference this will not take place in the presence of the child and/or family or any party acting on their behalf.’
10.3 Lincolnshire County Council Children’s Services Managers will ensure that access to information received from the police will only be granted to those staff who need to see the information.


11. Review of the Information Sharing Agreement

11.1 The ISA has been reviewed 6 months after its implementation. Future reviews of the ISA will be on an annual basis. The nominated holder of this agreement is Lincolnshire Police. It is based on the national template for Information Sharing, which forms part of the guidance issued on the Management of Police Information the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)) and the Home Office.


12. Indemnity

12.1

Each respective organization will accept responsibility for breaches occurring in their organization and take appropriate action.


13. Signature

13.1 By signing this agreement, all signatories accept responsibility for its execution and agree to ensure that staff are trained so that requests for information and the process of sharing itself is sufficient to meet the purposes of this agreement.
13.2 Signatories must also ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation.

Signed on behalf of Lincolnshire Police

title=: Detective Superintendent
Rank / Position: Head of PPU
Date:
04.10.2016

Detective

Signed on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council Children's Services

title=: Director of Children's Services
Rank / Position: Lincolnshire County Council
Date: 05.10.2016

Director of CS


Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form

Click to see Appendix A: Request for Disclosure of Information Form.

End