This document serves as a robust reference point for practitioners across various sectors including social care, education, health, justice, and the voluntary sector, offering clarity on the legal frameworks that support the sharing of information necessary to protect children from abuse and neglect.


The document details the legal and practical aspects of sharing information to safeguard children. It emphasizes that while data protection laws are often perceived as a barrier, they actually provide a structured framework to enable necessary information sharing. Practitioners are guided on how to navigate these laws effectively, ensuring that children's safety and welfare are prioritized at all times. The advice is contextualized within broader statutory guidelines and tailored to the specific needs of different practitioners, making it a crucial tool for those involved in child protection.

The 7 Golden Rules for Sharing Information

Rule 1: Protecting Children's Safety Over Privacy

Children's safety must take precedence over privacy concerns. Information should be shared legally and responsibly when it is necessary to protect a child from harm.

Rule 2: Engage and Explain

Whenever possible and safe, practitioners should engage with the child and/or their carers to explain the intentions and necessity of sharing their information.

Rule 3: Consent Not Always Required

Consent is not needed for sharing personal information in situations where a child's safety is at risk. Practitioners should have a lawful basis for information sharing under data protection laws.

Rule 4: Seek Advice When in Doubt

Practitioners should promptly seek advice when uncertain about the legalities of sharing information, ensuring that concerns about possible criticism do not hinder the safeguarding of a child.

Rule 5: Protect Identities

When sharing information, care must be taken to protect the identities of those involved to prevent further harm.

Rule 6: Share Relevant and Accurate Information

Information shared should be relevant, necessary, and limited to what is needed for the recipient to perform their safeguarding duties effectively.

Rule 7: Document and Justify Decisions

All decisions about sharing information should be well-documented and justified, whether information is shared or not. This is crucial for accountability and transparency.

This guidance from the Department for Education is a significant resource for ensuring the safety and well-being of children across the UK, providing clear directives to overcome the challenges posed by data protection concerns in safeguarding contexts.

This is exciting news for staff and pupils within the educational settings however, it is important for everyone to remain safe during COVID-19.

DfE guidance on educational visits has been updated to follow the government roadmap. As the roadmap follows data rather than dates. The set dates may be subject to change therefore, it is important to keep monitoring the government guidelines provided. The government will move one step when it is safe to do so following the Prime Ministers Announcement of Step 3. Advise will continue to update following the government roadmap. More information can be found on the DfE website.

The Outdoor Educational Advisers Panel (OEAP) have updated their guidance following the DfE to aid schools when planning a residential trip.

OEAP updated 4.2b Residentials guidance in order to remain safe during COVID-19. Schools and colleges planning on taking residential trips must be conducted in the line of the relevant coronavirus guidance. This includes the controls within the guidance such as keeping participants within the relevant groups and following the guidelines of the accommodated site. Appropriate links to the DfE and other guidance for specific educational settings is provided at the beginning of the document. There is more detail in annex C for the document for schools and annex B of the document of outer-school settings. The 4.2b residential guidance also provides other general guidance for schools on residential trips.

OEAP also updated the 4.4k Coronavirus guidance for schools planning and managing residential trips during the pandemic. Schools must check and follow the government guidelines of the place of destination as well as their own settings. Schools and colleges should monitor the guidelines for any changes in order to remain safe within the government guidelines. Parents/Guardians concerns should be taken into consideration and discussed, they should be kept informed in the runup to the visit and how you are going to mitigate any risks. More guidance is provided within the document.

The government has advised that international visits should not commence up to and including 5th September 2021 due the complexities of international travel at this stage of the pandemic. More guidance is provided no the DfE website.

Although it has been too long since children have been able to enjoy the educational visits that schools and colleges provide it is still important for pupils and staff to remain safe during off-site visits.

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