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Information Sharing

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether (a) local authority staff, (b) career advisers and (c) voluntary workers who provide services to local authorities will have access to the information sharing index. (96413)

We are currently consulting on draft regulations that will bring the information sharing index into operation. Among other issues, the regulations will specify the types of practitioners whose role would make it appropriate for them to have access to the index. The consultation specifically seeks views on whether practitioners, other than those specified in the regulations, should be given access to the index. The consultation closes on 14 December 2006.

The draft regulations propose that from local authorities, local authority index management teams; Connexions advisors; social workers; educational welfare officers; head teachers; deputy head teachers; school administrators; heads of year or teachers with pastoral or child protection responsibilities; teachers of children with special educational needs and special educational needs co-ordinators, or their equivalents, and members of staff employed by voluntary and community sector organisations will be granted access.

The regulations also propose that all practitioners with access will have undergone an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, and to have undergone relevant training in the appropriate use of the index.

The index will be an important tool to help improve the communication between the key practitioners needed for the effective delivery of services for children and families and, when necessary, to protect children.