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Over the last few months, my office has been working hard on developing new ways to improve data sharing in child safeguarding systems. Following a cross-government workshop in May, which we previously reported on, the team has undertaken an intense round of one-to-one interviews with senior stakeholders and begun detailing recommendations for improvements.  

Following the initial workshop, which over 100 practitioners fed into, my office met experts from the Cabinet Office’s Central Digital & Data Office, National Police Chiefs Council, the National Data Guardian, and from NHS England. These detailed sessions were useful in helping to build a consensus around the need for change, and for clearly articulating my key message that poor data sharing should not be hindering safeguarding interventions. 

My office will publish the final report in the Autumn, but I want today to share a preview of findings.  

My team has also been talking to families about data sharing as part of the Family Review, and we now have a wealth of data and insights from across the country which captures how data is handled, shared, and the concerns which exists across citizens and experts. 

Once the report has been shared with colleagues and professionals, we will formally publish its recommendations. The data sharing workshop was held in partnership with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who has committed to producing a resource to support data sharing in child safeguarding settings. This cross-agency collaboration is something I welcome, and as I said in my opening remarks to the data sharing workshop, I expect all government departments to drive up standards, as we all have a responsibility to deliver good data sharing for child safeguarding purposes. 

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