London Safeguarding Children Board: Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition Powered by tri.x Powered by tri.x
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London Child Protection Procedures and Practice Guidance

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Updated: Wednesday 19th June


The Editorial Board of the London Child Protection Procedures is going out to consultation on 2 significant changes to the Procedures and would like to invite your comments. The changes are summarised below.

Because these are significant changes, the consultation period will be 8-weeks. In order to process your comments, we would be grateful if you could “track changes” on the draft guidance and provide a separate explanation of any significant differences of opinion in the body of your cover email. Please state whether the response is that of an individual or represents the view of an agency or local partnership. Please send your comments to: Alison.Renouf@londoncouncils.gov.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 15th August 2019.

1. A new chapter dealing with sharing and processing personal information

These changes are required in order that the procedures are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as implemented through the Data Protection Act 2018. The Editorial Board has taken into account guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] which says:

‘The biggest change is for public authorities, who now need to consider the new ‘public task’ basis first for most of their processing and have more limited scope to rely on consent or legitimate interests’.

As a result, the Editorial Board recommends that ‘legal obligation’ and ‘public task’ (as defined in the GDPR) are relied on as the primary basis for processing information to establish whether or not there is a need to safeguard the welfare of a child. This means that, whilst families will be informed when personal data is being shared or processed, their consent is not required. The significance of this change is that it is no longer necessary to seek consent to share information for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of a child (i.e. removing the distinction between information sharing for the purposes of assessing need and information sharing for the purposes of child protection).

It does, of course, continue to be good practice to inform parents / carers that you are sharing information for these purposes and to seek to work cooperatively with them. Agencies should also ensure that parents / carers are aware that information is shared, processed and stored for these purposes.

Working Together Guidance published in July 2018 by the Department for Education, continues to emphasise the use of consent. The Editorial Board is working to ensure that the approach taken in these Procedures is consistent with the Data Protection Act 2018, the guidance published by the ICO and the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education and is consulting with the DfE about the differences in interpretation.

2. Amendments concerned with accessing open source information (social media) about children and adults for the purposes of safeguarding children;

The draft amendments have been written on the basis of legal advice commissioned by the Editorial Board from Bindmans (Solicitors). The significance of the changes proposed is the recommendation that social media searches are routinely considered as part of any assessment of need or risk but that the scope of such searches is limited to information that is publicly available, can be viewed without the creation of aliases or the “befriending” of the subject of the search and that such searches are limited to ascertaining whether relevant information is available rather than the ongoing monitoring of the subject(s) through social media. In the event that the overall approach taken in the draft is endorsed, there would be further, minor changes to those parts of the procedures dealing with looked after children to follow.

The Editorial Board is aware that there are likely to be differences of opinion concerning the point at which authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers [RIPA] is required when viewing open source social media. RIPA governs the carrying out of surveillance and repeat viewing of open source social media could constitute surveillance. These differences of legal opinion about when RIPA authorisation is required centre on the frequency and extent of social media searches with some legal opinion considering that viewing the same open source media or doing the same search for an individual on open-source social media more than once, constitutes surveillance.

Six Monthly Updates:

The London Child Protection Procedures are updated on a 6-monthly basis. The most recent update took place on 29th March 2019 and the changes can be viewed in the section Amendments and Archives.

The next update will be the 30th September 2019 - or the nearest working day. Any comments or suggested changes for this update should be forwarded to Alison Renouf, Board Manager for the London Safeguarding Children Board, by 5th August 2019. alison.renouf@londoncouncils.gov.uk.


Chair of the Editorial Board

Steve Liddicott


London SCB