The safeguarding adults board should draw up a common agreement relating to confidentiality that sets out the principles governing the sharing of information. This agreement should be in line with the General Data Protection Regulation and ensure that:
- information is only shared on a need-to-know basis when it is in the interests of the adult or adults in question
- confidentiality is not confused with secrecy
- informed consent should be obtained whenever possible, but if this is not possible and other adults are at risk of abuse or neglect, it may be necessary to override this requirement
When an individual has refused to consent to information being disclosed for these purposes, you must decide whether there is an overriding public interest that would justify breaking confidentiality and sharing information regardless. The appropriate ‘Caldicott Guardian’, a nominated senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of an individual’s information and enabling appropriate information sharing, should be involved wherever possible.
Decisions about who needs to know and what needs to be known should be made on a case-by-case basis, and take into account the organisation’s policies and the constraints of the legal framework. This will ensure that information is only shared when absolutely necessary and confidentiality is breached as little as possible. By doing this, you can help to prevent abuse while ensuring the individuals involved feel like their privacy is being respected.