We recognise that information is vital in identifying and tackling all forms of abuse and neglect, and in promoting children’s welfare, including their educational outcomes. Schools and colleges have clear powers to share, hold and use information for these purposes.
We expect all staff to share information with practitioners and local agencies. We are committed to sharing information as early as possible to help identify, assess and respond to risks or concerns about the safety and welfare of children, whether this is when problems are first emerging, or where a child is already known to the local authority children’s social care.
All child protection records are clearly marked as such and are kept securely locked on the premises and/or within CPOMS, the nominated persons are responsible, accountable, documented and are identifiable within our setting for total security. Also, procedures are in place when a member of staff leaves the setting or is on long term sick leave for their access to cease. Withdrawal of child protection records from our setting by staff will be noted and signed for, as will files released to professionals.
The child protection file is a separate file to the educational records. It must be noted that if files are asked to be secured, both files are key elements in any processes for which they are needed. It is important that on releasing files they are signed for on release and on return.
Pupil record files must be kept until the individual reaches the age of 25 years or in certain circumstances later. At this point the file should be disposed of confidently.
In respect of files being released when requested by the Police under Section 29 of the Data Protection Act 2018 a form entitled ‘Request to external organisation for the disclosure of personal data to the police-Under Schedule 2 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR Article 6(1))d)’ should accompany that release and a copy will be retained for our records. This school will also seek advice and adopt the Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners. If in any doubt we will seek advice from our Data Protection Officer. Upon releasing records the school will request ID Badges for release. If the Police are only after minimal data e.g. address or phone number, we will ensure we check the police ID and we will record what information was asked for and the name of the police officer requesting it. A permission form may not be required on these occasions.
No named statistics in relation to child protection are an important part of performance information. These may be shared by the DSL with staff, other agencies or the governing body/proprietor/management committee.
In our management of information sharing we will use the following:
- Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children, which includes a myth-busting guide to information sharing;
- Information Sharing: Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers. The seven golden rules for sharing information will be especially useful;
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which includes ICO GDPR FAQs and guidance from the department; and
- Data protection: toolkit for schools - Guidance to support schools with data protection activity, including compliance with the GDPR.
When a child leaves the school, the DSL will ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible (within five working days of the child starting at their new school or college), ensuring secure transit, and confirmation of receipt will be obtained. We will transfer the child protection file separately from the main pupil file. As a receiving school we will ensure key staff such as DSL’s and SENDCO’s, are aware as required. In addition to the child protection file, the DSL will also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or college in advance of a child leaving. If we are the current host school we will not photocopy and retain child protection records. This is deemed from the Information Commissioners Office that this would contravene The Data Protection Act 2018, but rather produce a chronology to pass on with the child protection records and retain a copy of this chronology for themselves for audit purposes, this would be deemed as best practice.
All child protection records are reviewed annually in the summer term by the DSL (or deputy) and checked to be chronological, tidy, legible and factual in content. This should be undertaken each year, as records may sometimes be immediately required by professionals. Where reports are needed for child protection and safeguarding meetings, these should include attendance figures.
Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
We will follow the guidance on the child protection file set out in Annex C KCSIE.