North Yorkshire Information Sharing Protocol

Veritau chairs and administrates the North Yorkshire Information Sharing Protocol, which sets standards for partner agencies to follow when sharing information.

Agencies signed up to the North Yorkshire partnership include:

Sharing of information contributes to effective delivery of public services. We chair meetings for practitioners in this partnership every quarter.

Challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic

Ordinarily, organisations would agree on an information sharing agreement (ISA) before any sharing took place. Due to the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, this became difficult.

A new approach was required. Councils agreed that information sharing needed to take place with an understanding that the documentation would need to be implemented as soon as possible afterwards.

Information sharing requests (in the form of an appendix) were being sent across multiple organisations and service areas, dealing with various aspects and data sets. It became difficult to gather an overall picture.

To help resolve this, our specialist arranged emergency meetings to take place every two weeks – instead of the usual quarterly meetings. Members of the protocol discussed the difficulties, and in the interests of reducing bureaucracy and increasing evidenced accountability, it was agreed to have one overall ISA that would be suitable for all protocol members.

This agreement would detail the GDPR elements and any supportive legislation, including:

  • The Civil Contingency Act 2004
  • The Local Government Act 1972
  • The Local Government Act 2000
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Health Service Control of Patient Information Regulations 2002
  • Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2012

Members agreed that the appendix documents then seek to go into detail for the specific sharing areas. Documents would be ‘live’, ie capable of being adapted as and when situations changed due to local circumstance or government changes.

Appendices split into areas so that individual ones covered different transfers of information, eg district/borough councils to county council, county to districts/boroughs, community support organisations and so on.

Fortnightly meetings really helped members to discuss issues and agree a way forward. This was a great example of collaborative working during the pandemic.

Veritau were involved in all stages of this project. Post the initial agreement on how we would move forward, we took the lead in drafting the main ISA document and then assisted with the completion of the appendix documents.

Approval was received quickly and we continue to work with the data governance team at North Yorkshire County Council to ensure that we have captured all the organisations impacted by this agreement which sit outside the protocol.

This includes many community support organisations, some of which were set up purely for Covid-19 purposes, but we have worked with other organisations too such as foodbanks.

We have also supported other councils in this work (who are not Veritau clients) to make sure they were happy with the proposals and were in a position to sign.

Speak to our expert on information sharing

North Yorkshire Information Sharing Protocol: Challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic