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What Influences Parents and Practitioners’ Decisions to Share Personal Information within an Early Help (Social Care) Context? Implications for Practice in Sharing Digital Data across Sectors

Lookup NU author(s): Debbie Smart, Dr Katherine Jackson, Dr Hayley AldersonORCiD, Dr Thomas Foley, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD, Professor Judith Rankin, Professor Gill Rowlands, Liam SpencerORCiD, Dr Ruth McGovernORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Meeting the multiple and often complex needs of families (children, young peopleand adults) within ‘Early Help’ support is dependent upon practitioners from differentsectors sharing relevant and timely information, after gaining a family’s voluntaryconsent to share information. This article reports on qualitative one-to-one interviewswith adults in families (n.32), one mother/father dyad interview (n.2) and focusgroups with practitioners (n.47) in five local authority areas in North East Englandreceiving or providing Early Help support. We explored experiences of providing consentto share personal information and consider the usefulness of a digital healthdata system when providing Early Help support to families. Communication PrivacyManagement theory was used as a framework to analyse the data. Key themes in participants’accounts include the degree of need for help and support; the importanceof trusting relationships; stronger and structured joint working practices; and understandinghow information is shared. This work provides insights into current informationsharing practices for some of the most vulnerable families and the wider socialcontexts. It has implications for the usefulness of a digital data system that shares GPhealth data with Early Help services and suggests the role this could have in theparent–practitioner relationship.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smart D, Jackson K, Alderson H, Foley T, Foreman S, Kaner B, Kaner E, Lancaster H, Lingam R, Rankin R, Rowlands G, Spencer L, McGovern R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Social Work

Year: 2021

Volume: 52

Issue: 4

Pages: 2146-2165

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 20/08/2021

Acceptance date: 07/07/2021

Date deposited: 02/11/2021

ISSN (print): 0045-3102

ISSN (electronic): 1468-263X

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcab167


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