Powers or obligations to share information - Adult safeguarding: sharing information

Referring to the Disclosure and Barring Service

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) places specific duties on those providing ‘regulated activities’. They must refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) anyone who has been dismissed or removed from their role because they are thought to have harmed, or pose a risk of harm to, a child or adult with care and support needs. This applies even if they have left their job and regardless of whether they have been convicted of a related crime. The statutory guidance to the Care Act 2014 requires designated adult safeguarding managers to work with partner organisations to ensure that referral of individual employees to the Disclosure and Barring Service is carried out promptly and appropriately.

A Disclosure and Barring Service factsheet provides information to help people with data protection and security matters when making referrals. There are also factsheets on:

Professional codes of practice

Many professionals, including those in health and social care, are registered with a body and governed by a code of practice or conduct. These codes often require those professionals to report any safeguarding concerns in line with legislation. The statutory guidance to the Care Act (2014) requires designated adult safeguarding managers to work with partner organisations to ensure that referrals of individual employees to regulatory bodies are made promptly and appropriately.

Care workers or care assistants are not registered but there is a voluntary code of conduct published by Skills for Care. The code states that as a healthcare support worker or adult social care worker in England, you must:

Social workers are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. The Standards of proficiency state that they must:

Duty of candour

Regulations under the Care Act place a duty of candour on all service providers registered with the Care Quality Commission from April 2015. The duty:


Those commissioning services should consider whether contracts should place an obligation on service providers to share safeguarding information. Any specifications would need to be in line with policy, regulation and the law.

SCIE resources on Adult Safeguarding: Commissioning

Sharing information on prisoners

The statutory guidance to the Care Act requires local authorities to share information about people with care and support needs in, or in transition from or to, prison or custodial settings. This includes ‘the sharing of information about risk to the prisoner and others where this is relevant’. [7]

Sharing information on those who may pose a risk to others

The police can keep records on any person known to be a target or perpetrator of abuse and share such information with safeguarding partners for the purposes of protection ‘under Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and the Data Protection Act 1998, provided that criteria outlined in the legislation are met’. [11] All police forces now have IT systems in place to help identify repeat and vulnerable victims of antisocial behaviour.

The statutory guidance to the Care Act states that safeguarding adults boards should have a ‘framework and process for any organisation under the umbrella of the SAB to respond to allegations and issues of concern that are raised about a person who may have harmed or who may pose a risk to adults’. [7] Designated adult safeguarding managers should ‘ensure the control of information in respect of individual cases is in accordance with accepted Data Protection and Confidentiality requirements’. [7]


All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access the following download you will need a free MySCIE account:

Available downloads:

  • Care Act 2014: Adult safeguarding: sharing information