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Sharing information about those at risk

32. You must tell an appropriate agency, such as your local authority children’s services, the NSPCC or the police, promptly if you are concerned that a child or young person is at risk of, or is suffering, abuse or neglect unless it is not in their best interests to do so (see paragraphs 39 and 40). You do not need to be certain that the child or young person is at risk of significant harm to take this step. If a child or young person is at risk of, or is suffering, abuse or neglect, the possible consequences of not sharing relevant information will, in the overwhelming majority of cases, outweigh any harm that sharing your concerns with an appropriate agency might cause.

33. When telling an appropriate agency about your concerns, you should provide information about both of the following:

a. the identities of the child or young person, their parents and any other person who may pose a risk to them

b. the reasons for your concerns, including information about the child’s or young person’s health, and any relevant information about their parents or carers.

34. You should ask for consent before sharing confidential information unless there is a compelling reason for not doing so. For example, because:

a. delay in sharing relevant information with an appropriate person or authority would increase the risk of harm to the child or young person

b. asking for consent may increase the risk of harm to the child, young person, you or anyone else.

35. You should ask the child or young person for consent if they have the capacity to give it. If not, you should ask a person with parental responsibility. You should also ask for consent from any adults you want to share information about. When asking for consent, you should explain why you want to share information and how it will benefit the child or young person. You should also explain all of the following:

a. what information you will share

b. who you will share it with

c. how the information will be used

d. where they can go for independent advice and support (see Sources of independent advice and support for parents and families for examples of organisations).