Information Sharing Guidelines
The Information Sharing Guidelines for promoting safety and wellbeing (ISGs) provide a consistent state-wide process for information sharing between government agencies and some non-government agencies where it is believed there is a risk to the safety or wellbeing of a person.
The ISGs summarise the legal and practical requirements of appropriate information sharing.
The guidelines aim to reduce the risk of different agencies or service providers having incomplete information or access to different information. The guidelines also aim to ensure all service providers are well informed, have a complete understanding of a person’s circumstances and work together to respond to a person’s needs.
Information may be shared when it is believed a person may be at risk of harm (from others or as a result of their own actions).
Information may be shared about a person when the practitioner believes there is, on reasonable grounds, the need to:
- Prevent a person from harming themselves or others;
- Protect a person or group from potential harm, abuse or neglect;
- Assist service providers to effectively address risks, including their own safety;
- Provide comprehensive services that are integrated, complementary and comprehensive, where there is a risk of adverse outcomes.
Information sharing decisions are made on a case by case basis.
Consent for information sharing is gained wherever possible; however information may still be shared where it is not reasonable or practicable to seek consent or where consent has been refused and the disclosure is considered reasonable necessary to prevent or lessen a serious risk to a person or group.
When information is shared it is done with respect and an understanding of cultural differences.
The ISGs do not apply to the Courts Administration Authority, Crown Solicitor’s Office, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Services Commission and some other groups.
The department’s ISG procedure is outlined in Guideline 24 and it applies to all departmental employees, volunteers and students; as well as non-government organisations acting under a contract with DCS to provide services to prisoners and offenders.
Most significantly the ISGs apply to those who:
- Work directly with prisoners and offenders;
- Have line management or supervision of people who work with prisoners and offenders;
- Work directly with victims and their families;
- Have line management or supervision of people who work with victims and their families;
- Are responsible for investigating concerns or allegations relating to prisoners’ and offenders’ safety and wellbeing;
- Are responsible for professional development and workforce training;
- Are responsible for it systems and data and records management;
- Are responsible for screening and suitability assessments;
- Are responsible for policy and practice development
The following resources provide advice on the Information Sharing Guidelines:
- Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing (ISG)
- ISG Decision Making Steps and Practice Guide
- Early Intervention by Sharing Information - 10 Top Practice Tips
- Guideline 24 - DCS Information Sharing Guidelines
- Guideline 24 – Annex C Case Studies for Information Sharing
- Guideline 24 – Annex D Cultural Guidance and Resources Information
Training and further information
Further information and training resources on the Information Sharing Guidelines are available on the Ombudsman SA website.