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Applying the scheme - requesting information

In this case study: making a request for information, sharing information about people with disabilities, wellbeing and safety, seeking the views of children and families, maintaining engagement with children and young people, and record keeping.

Scenario 1   

Lira is the group facilitator for a youth alcohol and other drug recovery group.

Sixteen year old Kali lives in an out of home care residential home and is a participant in Lira’s group. Before the group starts, Lira informs each participant about her obligations to share information where appropriate as part of her service provision.      

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira works for a prescribed Information Sharing Entity (ISE) under the scheme.
  • She is aware of her organisation’s policies and her obligations under the scheme.
  • At the start of service, she talks to her clients about these obligations. 

Scenario 2

Lira is having trouble establishing a relationship with Kali during the group sessions. Kali’s participation is limited and it appears that she may not understand all of the information provided. This seems to be limiting the benefit that Kali could gain from the sessions.

Lira raises this carefully with Kali but Kali remains withdrawn and appears ashamed. 

Lira wants more information about Kali so that she can better support Kali’s participation in the group.   

What it means under the scheme 

  • Lira believes that more information will enable her to gain a greater understanding of Kali’s needs and assist in promoting her wellbeing by increasing her engagement with the recovery group.
  • Kali is sixteen years old and so considered a child under the scheme. Thus information can be shared to promote her wellbeing and safety in line with the scheme.

Scenario 3

Lira believes that the house supervisor in the residential home where Kali lives may have information that could assist her in engaging with Kali.

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira confirms that the out of home care provider is also a prescribed information sharing entity under the scheme.
  • Lira forms the view that requesting information could help to promote Kali’s wellbeing.

Scenario 4

Lira discusses with Kali,in an age-appropriate manner, her interest in speaking with Kali’s house supervisor, Sam, about supporting her participation so that she gets the most out of the sessions. 

Lira checks to make sure Kali has understood what she is suggesting. 

Kali says she doesn’t want the conversation with Sam to happen. When Lira asks why, Kali shrugs and will not elaborate. She appears to become uncomfortable with further questions, so Lira does not persist.

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira judges it is appropriate, safe and reasonable to seek and take into account Kali’s views about requesting information from another ISE.
  • Lira notes for her records that Kali is not comfortable with Lira requesting information from her residential home. 

Scenario 5

Lira is confident that by having more information and better understanding Kali’s situation, she will be able to make better decisions to support Kali.  

Lira contacts Sam to ask if he can share information to help her understand how Kali could be better supported and more engaged in a group setting, and whether Kali may have other needs and if there are better ways to engage Kali. 

Lira informs Sam that Kali did not want her to contact him.

What it means under the scheme

  • Kali’s wellbeing and safety is the highest priority, and under the scheme, information can be shared even if Kali’s consent is not provided, so long as the threshold for sharing is met. Informed by the Child’s Best Interests framework, Lira’s professional judgement is that requesting information from Sam would meet the threshold. 
  • Lira calls Sam to make the request. He asks that she submit the request in writing to confirm her identity and so he can check if her organisation is a prescribed ISE. Sam maintains a record of the name of the requesting ISE, the information requested, and the date of the request.

Scenario 6

Sam asks Lira what type of information she needs and how she will use it to improve Kali’s participation in the group sessions. Based on the discussion, Sam believes he has information which would help Lira provide a better service to Kali.

Based on his conversation with Lira, Sam is aware that Kali does not want her information to be shared. Sam decides that in this instance it is not appropriate to seek Kali’s views about sharing her information. However, he makes a note to provide sufficient context to help Lira use the information in Kali’s best interests.      

What it means under the scheme

  • Sam asks questions to help decide whether the threshold for sharing information under the scheme is met, in which case he must respond to Lira’s request. 
  • Before sharing information, Sam considers whether it is appropriate, safe and reasonable to seek Kali’s views about her information being shared.
  • Sam considers Kali’s circumstances and is sensitive in the way that he shares Kali’s information. 

Scenario 7

Sam considers what information is relevant to helping Lira to perform her job and to promote Kali’s wellbeing. To his knowledge, the information he wishes to share is not excluded under the scheme.

What it means under the scheme

  • Sam considers what information would meet the threshold of the scheme to promote Kali’s wellbeing, and to help Lira deliver a better service to Kali. He also determines that the information is not ‘excluded information’ under the scheme (see the Child Information Sharing Ministerial Guidelines for full list of excluded information.)

Scenario 8

Sam discloses to Lira that Kali has an intellectual disability. 

Sam also explains that Kali feels embarrassed about her disability and is very concerned about people finding out. She is especially worried that the other attendees might find out and that could lead to stigma and social ostracism, which has happened in the past. 

Sam discusses with Lira strategies he uses to support Kali including how to help mitigate any risk of stigma or discrimination from others.

What it means under the scheme

  • Sam shares only relevant information with Lira, and provides appropriate context to minimise the risk of stigma and discrimination and to keep Kali engaged with the service.

Scenario 9

Lira acts on the information by consulting with an advocacy service for people with intellectual disability.

This helps her plan ways she can support Kali to participate in the group while not exposing her disability to others and risking stigma.  

Kali now engages with the group and develops positive relationships with the other participants. Lira develops a more trusting and positive relationship with Kali.

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira uses the information to promote Kali’s wellbeing through improved service provision.

Scenario 10

Sam uses professional judgement to decide that advising Kali that her information was shared at this point is likely to upset Kali and damage their relationship. It could also set back the progress made by Lira in engaging Kali with the support group.

What it means under the scheme

  • Sam considers whether it is appropriate, safe and reasonable in this instance to inform Kali that her information was shared. In this instance, he judges it is not appropriate. 

Scenario 11

Now that Kali is more engaged, Lira discusses with Kali that it might be beneficial for her to work more closely with Sam. Lira explains that she and Sam will talk to each other to help them both support Kali better, and they will let Kali know about this if possible.

Lira asks Kali how she feels. Kali says she is okay with this.

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira considers that it is now appropriate, safe and reasonable to seek and take into account Kali’s views about possible future information sharing. 
  • Because Kali has agreed that collaboration between Lira and Sam is okay, Lira recognises that, while she should always consider whether it is safe, appropriate or reasonable to seek Kali’s views about each instance of information sharing, it may not always be appropriate for her to do so. 

Scenario 12

In line with good practice, Lira makes a case note recording her information requests, the reason/s for her request in line with the threshold for sharing under the scheme, the date of request, that she sought Kali’s views about sharing information and how Kali responded, when and what information Sam disclosed to her, and the relevant context to minimise any stigma for Kali. 

Reflecting good practice and the requirements of the scheme, Sam makes a case note recording:

  • the name of the information sharing entity that received the information
  • whether and how the scheme’s threshold was met
  • the date the information was disclosed; a record of the information that was disclosed
  • whether the views of Kali and/or her carer  were sought and obtained in relation to the information that was disclosed and what these views were; and 
  • whether Kali and/or her carer were informed that her information was or would be disclosed.    

What it means under the scheme

  • As the requesting information sharing entity, Lira is not required to keep a record in accordance with the record keeping requirements of the scheme, but does so in line with recognised best practice. The ISE may have a form that staff are required to use to make a request. A copy of this form can be kept on the case record as a record of the request.
  • As the disclosing information sharing entity, Sam is required to keep appropriate records in accordance with the scheme, and again, may use a form adopted by his organisation to assist him to do so, as well as any written request from the requesting ISE.

Scenario 13

Sam arranges for Lira to be invited to the fortnightly care team meeting for Kali.

What it means under the scheme

  • Lira and Sam work collaboratively, respecting each other’s expertise and Kali’s privacy.

This scenario is practice guidance to assist professionals in the application of the Child Information Sharing Scheme. The Child Information Sharing Scheme Ministerial Guidelines detail the legal obligations of prescribed information sharing entities.

In this content, 'Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.