Sharing and use of information policy
What's Important To Us
The purpose of information sharing is to provide responsive, effective services to children/young people and their families. Personal information must be kept safe, secure and available for the purpose of delivering better service.
This policy outlines the expectations around information gathered by Child, Youth and Family, including notifier confidentiality and the sharing of information with others.
Notifier/information giver confidentiality
When receiving a report of concern every effort will be made, but not guaranteed, to maintain the confidentiality of a notifier/information giver who does not want their identity revealed.
In the interests of working collaboratively with family/whānau, Child, Youth and Family will discuss the benefits of being a disclosed notifier with notifiers, and whether they consent to having their details disclosed. Unless the notifier agrees to having their name released, Child, Youth and Family will withhold the names of those who make reports of concern or provide information. In these situations confidentiality and its limits must be discussed with the notifier. Identity disclosure of the notifier/information giver may be justified and necessary in situations where:
- disclosure is necessary to promote the safety of a child or young person
- the Police require information from Child, Youth and Family to investigate an alleged offence
- the notifier/information giver is required to appear in Court
- the Family Court requires records to be produced
- the Privacy Commissioner/Ombudsman rules that the information must be disclosed.
Use of information
The use of information is a complex area of work that is governed by the Privacy Act 1993. Accessing and using information that has been gathered for one matter cannot automatically be used to assist with another matter. In some situations, consent/consultation may be required from the person the information is about before the information can be used in another matter. For example where:
- the information is historical
- use of the information may place a party at risk of harm
- there has been little recent contact, or a poor relationship exists, between involved parties
- the current case is likely to receive media attention
- the current case is likely to arouse high levels of emotion in involved parties
- the information may be used at a family group conference or in the Family Court.
Where there is uncertainty about the appropriateness of using information previously collected in relation to another matter, legal advice must be obtained. Once this has occurred, social workers are to keep a record of the reason for any decisions made regarding use, consultation, and attempts made to locate and obtain consent.