What is data sharing?

Sometimes - to ensure that an individual gets the best possible care and support available - it is necessary for practitioners from different agencies to share personal information about the individual. When personal identifiable or confidential information is passed between agencies, for example   NHS Fife, Police Scotland, voluntary organisations and housing associations – this is data sharing. Where appropriate, we will ask for your consent prior to any personal information being shared.

By law we are obliged to provide information to certain other public bodies such as the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenues and Customs and various external regulatory bodies. We also have an obligation to assist in the prevention of crime and we will therefore generally supply specific information which we are asked to provide to the police or other crime detection agencies, provided we are satisfied that the request is connected to an investigation and that disclosure would be proportionate. 

 

Q.      Do you always need consent from the data subject before sharing?

No. In many circumstances obtaining consent to information sharing is ideal; however there are some circumstances – such as the detection and prevention of crime or to prevent significant harm to the individual or others – when consent from the data subject is not required (and in some situations collecting consent could actually be detrimental).

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Q.      What information should not be shared?

You should only share the information that is necessary for service delivery and should only keep it for as long as it is required. After this the data should be destroyed in line with retention schedules.

Wherever possible anonymised data should be used.

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Q.      Once information is shared with another agency what will happen to it?

When information is passed to another agency it becomes the responsibility of that agency and will be treated in-line with their policies and procedures.

The Scottish Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information (SASPI) ensures that shared information is treated appropriately. For example when Fife Council receives personal information from the Police which is identified as Red/RESTRICTED it will be treated securely within the Council.

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Q.      Can I share data over the phone or should it be in writing or by email?

The key requirement is that personal or confidential information is shared safely and securely. If necessary, information can be shared over the phone provided you are confident of the recipient and the phone call will not be overheard by un-authorised individuals. Further guidance on sharing information by email is available on FISH.

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Q.      Are there any risks?

The key risk is unauthorised access to personal or confidential data. Following the guidance provided in Information Sharing Protocols will reduce this risk and the potential for loss or theft of data.

 

Karen Welsh, Data Protection & Information Policy Specialist 
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 30 78 Contact Karen Welsh online
By Post: Fife House North Street Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LT
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