Effective multi-agency working is critical to the success of early help programmes and as local authorities move to more integrated models of working, sharing data between the NHS and local authorities, as well as other organisations, becomes even more important.
We’ve previously discussed the guidance around information sharing and we continue to work closely with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to share guidance with our customers.
The ICO’s view of the Data Protection Act is clear – it should never prevent information sharing where it is sensible and low-risk. However local authority teams need to ensure that the purposes are considered and clear.
Recently we’ve had many conversations with customers about the use of NHS numbers, including when and for what purpose these numbers can be imported.
We have discussed this with the ICO and can share the following ICO recommendations on the use of NHS numbers:
- If the local authority plans to process any personal data fairly and lawfully, the NHS trust and local authority must be able to point to a legal basis for the sharing of the NHS number and the local authority’s continued holding of it. This may be possible where the processing is for medical purposes, such as preventative medicine in the form of vaccinations, for contribution to EHC Plans for SEND pupils and links to the social care system for looked after children.
- The authority and NHS trust must make sure that individuals are made aware of how their personal data is processed and for what purposes, for example by updating the NHS trust privacy notice to include sharing birth data with the local authority.
For further guidance on the Data Protection Act visit the ICO website.