Data sharing guidance highlighted

Published: 8 March 2024

The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is highlighting guidance on data sharing following the sold-out screening of the documentary 'Paper Tigers', held at the Performing Arts Centre on 7 March. The screening was followed by a panel discussion of health and education professionals working in the Bailiwick.

The documentary followed the lives of a group of troubled teenagers at a US school, and how their teachers use a 'trauma informed' approach to caring for them. This approach was informed by the landmark 1998 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, one of the largest studies of how a challenging childhood can profoundly affect a child's future health and well-being. The study revealed that the stable presence of at least one caring adult can be transformational in diluting the biological effects of trauma.
In the panel discussion following the documentary, there was an observation that data protection is sometimes seen as a blocker to sharing information about a child who may need help.

The ODPA would like to address this important issue by sharing this simple guide to data sharing, which opens with the following key points: 

1. Data protection law facilitates data sharing when you approach it in a fair and proportionate way.
2. Data protection law is an enabler for fair and proportionate data sharing, rather than a blocker. It provides a framework to help you make decisions about sharing data appropriately.
3. Data sharing has benefits for society as a whole when done properly.
4. Sometimes it can be more harmful not to share data.
If you care about children and how information about them is treated:
1. Please read the simple guide to data sharing here.
2. Please share the above with any health or educational professionals working locally. 
3. Please fill in our Children's Framework survey here - it is essential the ODPA hear what the challenges are around how information about children is handled, to ensure that the child's best interests are served. Your input will help shape and refine the in-depth guidance which will be publishing later this year.