Information Sharing Agreement For Multi-Agency Risk Assessment by jdywqj88863j


									       Information Sharing Agreement
       Multi-Agency Risk Assessment
      Conferences (Domestic Violence)

The contents should not be used as expert opinion, legal or otherwise.
Professional advice should be sought where appropriate. Any liability arising
from action taken in relation to the contents of the Protocol is excluded.

This Agreement has been drawn up within the framework of the Leeds Inter-
Agency Protocol for Sharing Information.

MARAC ISA-April 2008                                         Page 1 of 16
       Information Sharing Agreement
       Multi-Agency Risk Assessment
      Conferences (Domestic Violence)

Section 1 - Background and Scope of the Agreement

Section 2 - Principles

Section 3 - Purposes for sharing information

Section 4 - Arrangements for sharing information

Section 5 - Access and Security

Section 6 - Staff development issues

Section 7 - Dissemination, monitoring and review of the

Section 8 - Advice and guidance

Appendix 1 – Data Protection and Caldicott principles

Appendix 2 – Specialist advice and guidance

Appendix 3 – Safe Transfer of Confidential Information

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Section 1 Background and Scope of the Agreement
1.1 Background
As part of the government’s implementation of the national Domestic Violence
Delivery Plan, the Home Office are promoting the development of Multi Agency Risk
Assessment Conferences (MARACs) in areas where Specialist Domestic Violence
Courts are established. MARACs are multi agency partnerships with no statutory
responsibility but are expected to work effectively to reduce risk to victims of
domestic violence.

Regular MARAC meetings provide a forum for sharing information that gives
agencies a better picture of victims’ situations. Responses that are tailored to the
needs and goals of individual victims and their children can then be developed.

Sharing information also allows agencies to determine whether the offender poses a
significant risk to any particular individual or to the general community and manage
the offender in such a way that reduces risk and repeat victimisation.

1.2 Definitions of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is the physical, emotional, sexual and psychological abuse of one
person by another in a personal or family relationship. The overwhelming majority of
domestic violence and the most severe and chronic incidents are perpetrated by men
against women partners or ex-partners. Children are often indirectly or directly
affected by this violence. The violence often escalates and has far reaching
consequences on the lives of women and children. Violence is universal; women
from all backgrounds can experience violence, equally men from any background
can be violent. Different groups of women can face additional issues and barriers
when seeking help’. (Leeds Domestic Violence Strategic Partnership, 2007).

Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of behaviour, characterised by the
exercise of control and misuse of power. Compared with men, women are more
likely to experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, more likely to
experience repeat victimisation, more likely to be injured and seek medical help and
more likely to experience frightening threats and harassment. (Living Without Fear
Home Office 1999).

1.3 Framework for Confidentiality and Information Sharing
Five key documents provide the main national framework for information sharing:

•   Data Protection Act 1998 – This Act provides the main legislative framework for
    confidentiality and information sharing issues. The Act stipulates eight principles
    (see Appendix 1) that must be followed when personal information is “processed”
    by organisations. (“Processing” refers to any work done with personal
    information including obtaining, recording, viewing, listing, disclosing and
    destroying.) The Act stipulates the conditions under which information may be
    shared i.e. the legal justifications.

MARAC ISA-April 2008                                                Page 3 of 16
•   Human Rights Act 1998 – This Act incorporates Article 8 of the European
    Convention of Human Rights which provides that everyone has the right to
    respect for their private and family life, home and correspondence.
•   Caldicott Guidance – The Caldicott Committee produced their report on the
    “Review of Patient Identifiable Information” in December 1997. Caldicott guidance
    applies to all NHS organisations and local authority Social Services Departments.
    Guidance is based on six key principles (see Appendix 1). Organisations are
    required to appoint Caldicott Guardians to oversee the confidentiality / information
    sharing process.
•   NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice – The Code of Practice was issued in
    July 2003 and applies to all NHS organisations. It is a guide to required practice
    on confidentiality, security and disclosure of personal information.
•   Crime and Disorder Act 1998 - The Crime & Disorder Act 1998 is the primary
    legislative tool, common to all crime reduction protocols. It does not override
    existing legal safeguards on personal information.

The Leeds Inter-Agency Information Sharing Protocol produced by agencies in
Leeds provides the local framework for information sharing. This Information Sharing
Agreement (ISA) has been drafted in accordance with the Protocol and includes
reference to the Procedures section of the Protocol which provides good practice
guidelines for sharing information.

1.4 Scope of the Agreement
The Agreement covers the sharing of personal information about victims, their
family and perpetrators of domestic violence, within and between the partner
organisations listed in Section 1.5.

The Agreement covers sharing for any of the purposes listed in Section 3.

1.5 Parties to the Agreement
The following partner organisations will be requested to give formal approval to the
final draft of the Agreement.

Partner agencies of the Leeds MARAC Strategy Group are as follows:
   • Aire Valley Homes
   • Behind Closed Doors
   • Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation
   • East North East Homes Leeds
   • Education Leeds
   • HALT
   • LCC Anti Social Behaviour Unit
   • LCC Children’s and Young Peoples' Social Care
   • LCC Community Safety
   • LCC Early Years Service
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   •   LCC Adult Social Care
   •   LCC Housing Services
   •   Leeds Alcohol & Drug Services
   •   Leeds Primary Care Trust
   •   Leeds Housing Concern / Sahara
   •   Leeds Partnership Foundation Trust
   •   Leeds Women’s Aid
   •   Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
   •   STOP Project
   •   Together Women Project
   •   Victim Support
   •   West North West Homes Leeds
   •   West Yorkshire Probation Service
   •   West Yorkshire Police – Leeds Divisions

1.6 Approval of the Agreement
The final draft of the Agreement will be submitted to all partners for formal approval.
Partners will be asked to approve the Agreement and in particular to:
• Facilitate the sharing of information on the basis detailed in the Agreement
• Implement the Agreement within each organisation
• Support staff in the implementation of the Agreement through the provision of
   training, advice and guidance.
• Provide relevant information to facilitate monitoring and review.

Section 2 Principles
Partners to this Agreement will ensure that their staff operate in accordance with the
eight key principles of the 1998 Data Protection Act and other national guidance on
confidentiality, and will facilitate the sharing of information wherever possible.

Section 3 Purposes for Sharing Information

The purpose for sharing information is, through MARAC, for the secure, confidential
and proportionate sharing of information to enable risk to be managed in an
appropriate, systematic and co-ordinated way thereby increasing the safety, health
and wellbeing of victims of domestic violence and their children.

Information may be shared under this Agreement for the following purposes:
• To enable a referral to be made to the Domestic Violence Co-ordinator at Safer
    Leeds. This will enable the case to be discussed at the next MARAC meeting.
• As part of a multi-agency discussion at MARAC meetings to ensure a co-
    ordinated approach to planning services for victims of domestic violence and their
• To provide partners with up-to-date information on cases where appropriate.

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•   To establish the potential involvement of partner agencies in adult/child protection
•   To notify partner agencies who may be providing a service to a victim, their family
    or perpetrator.
•   To develop multi-agency strategies for protecting victims and their families.

The Agreement will be used to assist in ensuring that:
   • Information is shared in a secure manner.
   • Information is shared only on a ‘need to know’ basis.
   • Information is divulged only with the victim’s informed consent (unless it is
      justified to share this information without consent see section 4.4).
   • It is clear which agency staff are able to deal with requests for disclosure.
   • There are clear procedures to be followed with regard to information sharing.
   • Information will only be used for the reason(s) it has been obtained.

The Agreement has been approved only for the purposes listed above. If other
information sharing purposes are subsequently identified these will be considered for
inclusion in the Agreement by the ISA partners.

Section 4 Arrangements for sharing information

4.1 Provision of information
4.1.1 To Domestic Violence Co-ordinator
When a Designated Officer within a partner agency represented on the Multi- Agency
Risk Assessment Conference identifies a domestic abuse situation a MARAC
Referral Form is completed. At this point the agency referring should then seek the
consent of the victim to share information on their situation with other agencies
represented on the MARAC.

The Referral Form will contain name, address, date of birth, names of children, ages,
ethnicity, gender, other agency involvement and will be sent to the MARAC
Co-ordinator at Safer Leeds by the agency’s preferred secure method with the
intention of referring the case to be discussed at the next MARAC meeting. For
health this will be via safe haven fax or telephone call (see Appendix 3 for advice on
secure methods of transfer).

The Referral Form will be the only documentation used to record information about
incidents and actions required. It will be updated and reissued by the MARAC
Co-ordinator as and when any change takes place.

Emergency referrals can be made at any time, including just prior to a meeting.

4.1.2 To MARAC Partners
Two weeks prior to the scheduled MARAC meeting, the MARAC Co-ordinator, Safer
Leeds will compile an agenda for the meeting and circulate this along with copies of

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the relevant Referral Forms to the Designated Officers from each agency
represented on the MARAC. The agenda itself will only contain the names of victims
and perpetrators. Further information will be restricted to the Referral Form. These
documents will be sent to each agency by registered post. They will be double
bagged with the outer envelope stamped “Confidential”.

Agencies are responsible for ensuring that arrangements are made to cover the role
of Designated Officer in times of annual leave or sickness to ensure that agendas
and referrals are actioned in the absence of the Designated Officer.

4.2 MARAC Meetings
At the start of each meeting, the Chair will circulate a Confidentiality Declaration for
each participant to sign to acknowledge their duty of confidentiality to the information
discussed within the meeting.

Attendees are expected to verbally share relevant and proportionate information in
relation to cases on the agenda.

Information discussed within the meeting is strictly confidential and must not be
disclosed to third parties who have not signed up to the ‘domestic violence
information sharing protocol’, without the agreement of the partners of the meeting.

Information shared and any recommendations/decisions made will be recorded on
the individual Referral Form.

4.3 Following the Meeting
Following the meeting, minutes and updated Referral Forms will be circulated to
Designated Officers, by registered post. They will be double bagged with the outer
envelope stamped “Confidential”.

Designated Officers should process this information in line with their own agency's
policies and procedures, bearing in mind that some information may be of a
particularly sensitive nature, e.g. if the victim or perpetrator is an employee of the
agency concerned.

Where it is recommended that cases are brought back to future meetings for review,
information shared and future recommendations will also be recorded on the same
Referral Form. Each time the form is updated and circulated to Designated Officers,
previous copies should be destroyed.

4.4 Consent
4.4.1 Consent from victims:
The referring agency should seek the consent of the victim to share
information on their situation with other agencies represented on the MARAC.
Consent should be sought at the earliest opportunity but in any event prior to
the sharing of the information.

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Consent must be given on an informed basis by explaining:
• What information is to be shared.
• Who it is to be shared with.
• What the purpose of sharing is.

It should be made clear to the victim that under the Data Protection Act 1998, they
have a right to withhold their consent or to change their mind at a later date. Such
instances should be recorded on the consent form.

The Service User's Consent Form for Information Sharing should be completed by
the victim and the relevant member of staff. A copy of this form should be returned to
the victim, with the original then being filed within the relevant agency.

If the victim places a limit on the disclosure of information in any way, then this must
be clearly recorded.

4.4.2 Refusal of consent
If the victim has refused to give consent to share information explain the
consequences of this i.e. that it may not be possible to provide them with appropriate

If consent is refused, the referring agency then needs to consider whether risks to the
victim justify the sharing of information, based on their best interests.

Where personal information is shared without consent, full details need
to be recorded about the information shared, the reasons justifying disclosure,
the person authorising the disclosure and the person(s)/agencies with whom
the information is being shared.

If the requirements for information sharing cannot be met, then the case cannot be
referred to the MARAC, and the agency concerned is limited to providing intervention
from within its own resource.

4.4.3 Other justifications for sharing information
In some situations it may be justified to share information without consent. e.g. where
there are risk factors such as safeguarding children involved. Examples of other
justifications for sharing are given below:

Crime Reduction
Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 enables disclosure of information for
the purposes of any provision of the Act to a relevant authority, or to a person acting
on behalf of such an authority. Section 115 does not impose a requirement to
exchange information and responsibility for the disclosure remains with the agency
that holds the data and decisions must be made on a case by case basis and a
record made of the decision and reasons for it.

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Prevention and Detection of Crime
Personal information may be provided to the Police under Section 29 of the Data
Protection Act for the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or
prosecution of offenders. This is a power not an obligation and information should
only be disclosed where:
• Without disclosure the task of preventing or detecting crime would be seriously
• Information shared is limited to what is strictly relevant to a specific investigation.
• There are satisfactory undertakings that the information will not be used for any
   other purpose than the specific investigation.

Significant harm
Where sharing is necessary because there is evidence that significant harm may be
caused to a child or an adult. In these circumstances the public interest in
safeguarding the welfare of the child or adult may override the need to keep the
information confidential. Specific procedures apply to safeguarding children and

Vital interests
Where sharing is necessary in the vital interests of the victim or another person. This
normally refers to life or death circumstances.

Specialist advice should be sought if there is any uncertainty regarding the
appropriateness of using any of the above justifications for sharing information.
Advice should be sought from the Caldicott Guardian or the Data Protection Officer of
the organisation holding the relevant information (the “data controller”).

 A written record should be made whenever information is shared without consent,
giving details of the grounds for the decision.

Medical Harm
Where sharing is necessary for medical purposes and is undertaken by a health

Court Order
Where a court has ordered that information be shared to inform proceedings and
decisions by the court.

Section 5 Access and Security

5.1 Access
Staff access to personal information must be subject to the “need to know” and to
any specific additional restrictions agreed within agencies.

Care should be taken to ensure that access to personal information is restricted on
this basis. Restrictions need to be re-enforced by clear policies on confidentiality and

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the “need to know” and by inclusion of appropriate confidentiality clauses in staff

If temporary members of staff, volunteers, interpreters/translators or students on
placement are to have access to personal information, then confidentiality
requirements and access arrangements must be made clear as part of their induction

5.2 Secure storage and transfer of personal information
Steps should be taken by all partners to ensure that personal information is held and
transmitted securely.

Each partner organisation should ensure that staff have copies of their Confidentiality
and Information Security policies.

Further information on the safe transfer of confidential information can be found in
Appendix 3.

5.3 Retention of records
Agencies should keep the latest copy of each Referral Form until the case is closed,
and then destroy it under secure conditions.

All original MARAC documentation will be retained by the MARAC Co-ordinator,
Safer Leeds and will destroyed under secure conditions 12 months after a case is

Section 6 Staff development issues
Partner agencies will ensure that appropriate training is provided for all staff
involved in sharing personal information. The training will focus on helping to
ensure a sensitive approach, clarifying the key issues relating to consent
(including the implications of not giving consent).

MARAC training has been provided for the key workers engaged in the process.
Training will be continual and rolled out to a wider audience within relevant

Section 7 Dissemination, monitoring and review of the Agreement

•   Partner organisations will disseminate copies of the Agreement to all relevant
    staff and on request to victims. Partners will ensure that appropriate training is
    provided to all relevant staff.
•   Partners should investigate and resolve where possible any breaches that arise in
    relation to information shared under this Agreement. This may relate to
    information shared inappropriately or to information not being shared where it

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    should be. Unresolved breaches should be referred to the Leeds Inter-Agency
    Information Sharing Steering Group.
•   The Agreement will be reviewed twelve months from of the start of
    implementation. Changes to the Agreement will not be considered during this
    period unless they are required urgently.
•   Agreed changes will be incorporated into the Agreement as soon as feasible.

Section 8 Advice and guidance

Details of relevant additional guidance are given in Appendix 2 along with contact
details of staff who can provide specialist advice in relation to confidentiality,
information sharing issues and the MARAC process These details will be updated
periodically by the MARAC ISA Group.

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Appendix 1 – Key Principles
               The eight guiding principles of the data protection act:

                1. Fair and lawful: Personal data shall be processed fairly and
lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless certain conditions are met,
also the processing must adhere to the fair processing code.
2. Use for specified purposes: Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more
specified purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible
with that purpose or purposes.
3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive: Personal data shall be adequate,
relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose.
4. Accurate and up to date: Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary,
kept up to date.
5. Don’t keep longer than necessary: Personal data processed for any purpose or
purposes shall not be kept longer than is necessary for that purpose or those
6. Rights given under the act: Personal data shall be processed in accordance with
the rights of the data subject under this act.
7. Security: Appropriate and organisational measures shall be taken against
unauthorized or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or
destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
8. Disclosure outside Europe: Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or
territory outside the European Economic area, unless that country or territory ensures
an adequate level of protection.

The six Caldicott Principles:
1. Define Purposes: Every proposed use or transfer of patient-identifiable
information within or from an organisation should be clearly defined and scrutinised,
with continuing uses regularly reviewed, by an appropriate guardian.
2. Use anonymised information if possible: Patient-identifiable information items
should not be included unless it is essential for the specified purpose. The need for
patients to be identified should be considered at each stage of satisfying the purpose.
3. Use the minimum information necessary: The minimum amount of identifiable
information should be transferred or made accessible that is necessary for a given
function to be carried out.
4. Access to personal information on a need to know basis: Only those
individuals who need access to patient-identifiable information should have access to
it, and they should only have access to the information items that
they need to see. This may mean introducing access controls or splitting information
flows where one information flow is used for several purposes.
5. Staff must be aware of their responsibilities: Action should be taken to ensure
that those handling patient-identifiable information – both clinical and non-clinical
staff – are made fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations to respect patient
6. Use only when lawful: Every use of patient-identifiable information must be

MARAC ISA-April 2008                                                Page 12 of 16
Appendix 2 - Additional guidance and key contacts
Reference to relevant policies / guidance
   • The Data Protection Act 1998, for the processing of personal information
   • The Human Rights Act 1998, for the rights of the individual’s privacy
   • Common Law Duty of Confidence
   • The Freedom of Information Act 2000
   • The Housing Act 1996
   • The Mental Health Act 1983
   • The Mental Health Act 2007
   • Education Act 2002
   • Children Act 1989
   • Children Act 2004
   • Sex Offenders Act 1997
   • Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice 2003
   • Caldicott Principles 1997
   • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
   • Mental Capacity Act 2005

Specialist advice contact details

In relation to information sharing and the Data Protection Act 1998:

Head of Information Governance              Chris Plumstead
Chief Information Officer’s Department      Data Protection and Information
Leeds PCT                                   Governance Manager
Tel: 0113 3057412                           Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
                                            Tel: 0113 3926936

In relation to MARACs:

Amanda Valeinis
MARAC Co-ordinator
Safer Leeds
Tel: 0113 3950799

MARAC ISA-April 2008                                              Page 13 of 16
Appendix 3 – Safe Transfer of Confidential Information

Transfer of information by fax
1. Send information to a “Safe Haven” fax where possible. A Safe Haven fax is one
   that is managed in such a way that its security is enhanced. These safeguards
   should include that:
   * The fax is sited in a secure room or cupboard
   * The recipient organisation has a written policy for handling faxes which staff
   have been informed about and understand
   * Identified staff are responsible for waiting by the machine until the fax is sent
   and for collecting and delivering the faxed information to the appropriate person.

2. Where possible, minimise the amount of information included in the fax. The “two
   fax” approach can be useful where personal details without identification details
   are sent through on one fax, with the identifier sent on a separate fax. If the first
   fax went astray for any reason the second would not be sent. This is particularly
   suitable if the fax is not going to a safe haven fax machine.

3. Telephone the recipient to ensure that they are aware a confidential fax is about
   to be sent and to confirm that an identified individual will collect and deliver it and
   that safe receipt will be confirmed.

4. Ensure that the fax is sent with a cover sheet stating that it is strictly confidential.
   The cover sheet should also state that the fax is for the intended recipient only
   and in the event of error the sender should be notified immediately.

5. Use pre-installed numbers wherever possible to minimise the risk of misdialling.
   Double-check the fax number before sending.

6. There are some types of personal information which should never be transmitted
   by fax. These include details relating to HIV status, venereal disease, drug abuse,
   psychiatric history or incriminating evidence.

7. A log should be kept of confidential faxes sent, giving details of sender and
   recipient, date and time of transmission and a copy of the printout from the fax
   confirming transmission success.

Transfer of information by post
1. Written communications containing personal information should be transferred in
   a sealed envelope and addressed by name to the designated person within each
   organisation. They should be clearly marked “Personal and Confidential – to be
   opened by the recipient only".

2. Written communications containing personal and sensitive information should be
   transferred as above but the envelope must be sent by recorded delivery.

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3. The designated person should be informed that the information has been sent
   and should make arrangements within their own organisation to ensure that the
   envelope is delivered to them unopened and that it is received within the
   expected timescale.

4. If an organisation has a policy that all mail is to be opened at a central point this
   policy must be made clear to all partners. An alternative means of transfer should
   be arranged where it is essential that the information is restricted to those who
   have a need to know.

5. The personal information contained in written transfers should be limited to those
   details necessary in order for the recipient to carry out their role.

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                       Confirmation of Approval
Name of Organisation:

Contact Person:

Tel. No.


Confirmation Of Approval

I confirm that the Information Sharing Agreement relating to Leeds
Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (Domestic Violence)
was approved on behalf of the organisation by:





Please return a signed copy to:
Head of Information Governance
Chief Information Officer’s Department
Leeds PCT
North West House,
West Park Ring Road
Leeds LS16 6QG

Tel. No.: 0113 305 7412
Fax No: 0113 305 7398

A signed copy of the agreement should be retained by the named persons
above and a copy should be sent to the DP Officer / Caldicott Guardian of each
ISA partner.

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