IES information sharing and consent update
As you are aware we have recently reviewed the Information Sharing Agreements (ISAs) for the Integrated Early Support model.
We need to be confident our consent model is robust to ensure information shared by professionals in the Early Support Access Team (ESAT), for triage and 360 degree profiles, is conducted lawfully.
The review has highlighted:
- verbal consent is not consistently obtained by referrers to the ESAT
- information provided to individuals and families at the point of referral is not always sufficient and/or consistent
- areas for improvement at the point of obtaining written consent.
The Data Protection Act is clear consent must be specific, informed and freely given. To ensure full compliance it has been necessary to firm up our consent arrangements. The following changes have been made as a result of the review and will come into effect on 1st January 2016:
- Tiered Privacy Notices
Three key sources of information have been provided to ensure families and individuals are fully informed and understand what they are consenting to at the point of referral:
- An information sharing and consent leaflet
- A privacy notice poster
- Webpage on the Cheshire West and Chester Council website
Each source of information provides:
- Examples of which organisations are involved
- Examples of the personal data people need to share and why
- Details of individual’s rights in terms of Data Protection
- Security of the data
- Details of how people can change their minds and opt out of any sharing
Practitioners must use the leaflet as the basis of a discussion with individuals and families when obtaining verbal consent. This must be done prior to referral to ESAT, ensuring understanding of Integrated Early Support and individual involvement with the service. Following the discussion a copy of the leaflet must be left with the person being referred.
The privacy notice poster must be prominently displayed in key service delivery points to support the information provided in the leaflet.
Practitioners to direct individuals to the Cheshire West and Chester websitewhere further information to the detail provided in both the leaflet and the poster is available.
Following these actions will ensure any consent obtained is specific and informed.
Improved training will be provided for practitioners in all agencies. This will ensure:
- Practitioners are clear about the importance of the privacy notice and the requirement to share with individuals when obtaining verbal consent
- Clarity on the circumstances for proceeding with a contact to ESAT
Practitioners must have sufficient knowledge of the consent model to be in a position to answer questions, explain about the right of choice and to emphasise the ‘freely given’ part of the process.
Staff in ESAT must be clear on the various legal gateways enabling them to proceed without obtaining consent, recording these reasons consistently within the system and seeking consent when gateways don’t apply.
Minor adjustments are being made to the Liquid Logic eTAF system to facilitate this recording of information.
Action required: Practitioners to attend information sharing and consent training when offered.
- TAF Consent
Written consent is already routinely sought once a case has progressed through triage and/or a 360 degree profile and a lead worker has been assigned. It is obtained using the Team Around the Family (TAF) consent form and is important for evaluation work such as benefits realisation and Troubled Families data returns.
The review has identified improvements to the TAF form to include a separate area to capture consent for personal data to be shared for evaluation purposes. This element needs to be separate to casework to ensure individuals and families have a clear option about participating in any evaluations.
Action required: Practitioners to ensure written consent is obtained prior to commencing casework, using the updated TAF consent form.
The new consent model in action
- Practitioner to share the privacy notice, explain about the Integrated Early Support service and seek verbal consent from individuals and families prior to contacting ESAT.
- On referral to ESAT the referring practitioner will be asked to confirm they have obtained verbal consent as outlined in the point above.
- ESAT colleagues will record the confirmation on Liquid LogiceTAF. Reasons for proceeding without verbal consent will also be recorded, for example alternative legal gateways and professional judgement.
- ESAT will carry out initial triage and in some cases a 360 degree profileusing the verbal consent/legal gateways recorded.
- Lead professional to obtain written consent using the updated TAF consent form for cases identified as suitable for IES casework following triage and 360 degree profile. This must be obtained before work begins with an individual or family. This will enable sharing of information at case management meetings and, where consent is obtained for evaluation, data will be shared to support benefits realisation and other evaluation work. Families will also be eligible for inclusion in the Troubled Families cohort which requires data sharing with DCLG to support national evaluation and Payment By Results.
This approach has been extensively reviewed across the partnership with operational management and information governance leads. New Information Sharing Agreements have been drawn up to reflect the consent model changes.
This new consent model will provide a more robust approach from an information governance point of view, is pragmatic to work in practice and will provide partners with the assurance needed to participate in information sharing practices.
If you have any queries about the new process please contact Dan Howarth, Senior Information Disclosures Officer, Cheshire West and Chester Council
The privacy notice leaflet and poster and the updated TAF consent form have been uploaded to the Altogether Better website.