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:
- When to refer
- The DBS and professional regulators
- Local authority: Referral duty and power
- Harm, Relevant Conduct and Risk of Harm
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:
- report any actions or omissions by yourself or colleagues that you feel may compromise the safety or care of people who use health and care services and, if necessary use whistleblowing procedures to report any suspected wrongdoing.
- challenge and report dangerous, abusive, discriminatory or exploitative behaviour or practice.
- report things that you feel are not right, are illegal, or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties. This includes when someone’s health and safety is in danger, damage to the environment, a criminal offence, that the company is not obeying the law (like not having the right insurance), or covering up wrongdoing.
Social workers are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. The Standards of proficiency state that they must:
- understand the need to protect, safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults
- be able to recognise and respond appropriately to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users and carers or others.
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:
- aims to ensure transparency and honesty when things go wrong
- requires providers to tell the person concerned when something has gone wrong as soon as possible and provide support to them
- includes giving an apology and keeping the person informed about any further enquiries.
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.
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’. 
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’.  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’.  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’.