Sharing information barriers and solutions - Adult safeguarding: sharing information

Failures in communication and joint working

Adult serious case reviews frequently highlight failures between safeguarding partners (local authorities, GPs and health, the police, housing, care providers) to communicate and work jointly. Such failures can lead to serious abuse and harm and in some cases, even death.

How to improve communication and joint working


*MARAC: A multi-agency risk assessment conference is a means of coordinating risk based responses to domestic abuse. [2]
**MAPPA: multi-agency public protection arrangements assess and manage the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders. [13]

Joint training and policy development

View SCIE’s Social Care TV film, Lessons from the murder of Steven Hoskin.

False perceptions about needing evidence or consent to share safeguarding information

Some frontline staff and managers can be over-cautious about sharing personal information, particularly if it is against the wishes of the individual concerned. They may also be mistaken about needing hard evidence or consent to share information. The risk of sharing information is often perceived as higher than it actually is. It is important that staff consider the risks of not sharing safeguarding information when making decisions.

How to address false perceptions

Complex networks between safeguarding partner agencies

The local authority has the lead responsibility for safeguarding adults with care and support needs, and the police and the NHS also have clear safeguarding duties under the Care Act 2014. Clinical commissioning groups and the police will often have different geographical boundaries and different IT systems. Housing and social care service providers will also provide services across boundaries. This makes sharing information complex in practice.

The Care Act 2014 (Section 6 [7]) places duties on the local authority and its partners to cooperate in the exercise of their functions relevant to care and support including those to protect adults. The safeguarding adults board should ensure that it ‘has the involvement of all partners necessary to effectively carry out its duties’. [7]

Addressing problems caused by complex networks:


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Available downloads:

  • Care Act 2014: Adult safeguarding: sharing information