We’ve just been looking at the revised edition of the catchily titled government guidance: “what to do if you’re worried a child is being abused”.
Actually it’s about:
“what you should do if you have concerns about children in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including those who are suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm”
…thus deepening the conflation of abuse (a crime against a child) and the more general territory of an (unabused) child’s need for services of some kind.
The advice to practitioners on gaining consent before sharing confidential information with other practitioners contains the following:
3.9 Even where sharing of confidential information is not authorised, you may lawfully share it if this can be justified in the public interest. Seeking consent should be the first option, if appropriate. Where consent cannot be obtained to the sharing of the information or is refused or where seeking it is likely to undermine the prevention, detection or prosecution of a crime, the question of whether there is a sufficient public interest must be judged by the practitioner on the facts of each case. Therefore, where you have a concern about a child or young person, you should not regard refusal of consent as necessarily precluding the sharing of confidential information.
3.10 A public interest can arise in a wide range of circumstances, for example, to protect children or other people from harm, to promote the welfare of children or to prevent crime and disorder.
Which appears to translate as: “ask for consent, but don’t worry if the answer is no because there’s probably a broad, discretionary power that you can use as an override”.