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Gaining consent to share personal information when assessing support needs of children and families

Consent to share information must be informed. The person giving consent needs to understand why information needs to be shared and who will see their information. They will also need to know how it will be used and the implications of sharing that information.

What happens if consent is not given

If the young person or parent/carer does not give consent, do not share their information.

Discuss the matter with your manager, record it and continue to work with the child.

The exception to this rule is when there are child protection concerns, or the child is at risk of significant harm. If this is the case, immediately follow your child protection procedures.

Remember that the child’s needs and rights must come first. The rights of the parent or carer must also be considered.

Sharing information without consent

There may be times when practitioners working with the family need to share information without consent:

  • when they need to find out urgently if the child or someone else is at risk of harm
  • to help the child or someone else who is at risk of harm
  • to help stop crime.

This may indicate that there are safeguarding or child protection concerns about a child or children. For more information see the safeguarding children section or follow your agency’s safeguarding procedures.

Who can give consent to share information?

A child or young person under the age of 18 may validly consent to the sharing of information concerning themselves, so long as they have sufficient understanding to do so.

Where a child does not have the capacity to consent, the agreement of the person with parental responsibility should be sought, where this does not pose additional risk to the child.

In some situations, there may already be express consent to the exchange of information, verbally or in writing (for example, the register of disabled children), or implied consent.


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