DRUG INTERVENTIONS PROGRAMME (DIP) AND

PROLIFIC AND OTHER PRIORITY OFFENDER (PPO)

PROGRAMME

INFORMATION SHARING

Forward
Accurate and effective information sharing is important in ensuring that the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) and the Prolific and other Priority Offender Programmes (PPO) are as successful as possible. It is also probably the subject of more enquiries and discussion than any other item. In response to queries from colleagues from many different agencies in the field we have brought together a briefing note on the general approach to information sharing and the issues it raises. It is not intended as the definitive guide – it would be a brave individual who claimed to have done that. But I hope it will be helpful. When looking at some of the challenges presented by information sharing and the complex legislative framework it is surrounded by, it is important to consider the whole range of possible statutory provisions that are available. This will enhance flexibility and improve the effectiveness of looking purely at the individual provisions. The more we are able to use the whole range of statutory provisions available, the greater our partnership working will be and the wider reaching our results will be.

PETER WHEELHOUSE.

For further guidance on information sharing please see the links below. These cover legislation and guidance relevant to this subject. Data Protection Act 1998 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980029.htm Drugs Act 2005 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2005/20050017.htm Human Rights Act 1998 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/19980042.htm Crime and Disorder Act 1998 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980037.htm DIP Operational Process Guidance for Implementation of Testing on Arrest, Required Assessment and Restriction on Bail http://www.drugs.gov.uk/publication-search/dip/guidance-drugsact-2005?view=Binary Department of Constitutional Affairs Guidance. ‘Public Sector Data Sharing: Guidance on the Law, November 2003’ http://www.foi.gov.uk/sharing/toolkit/lawguide.htm

High Level Summary
The Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) and the Prolific and other Priority Offender (PPO) Programme are two of the Government’s most successful offender management approaches – intervening with offenders before, during and after contact with the criminal justice system. Part of the success of these programmes is the focus they place on the collective responsibility of local partnerships to manage those who offend the most or those whose offending causes most damage to their local communities. An important principle of working collectively is the sharing of relevant information with partners which can help the clients and offenders we work with as well as increase the impact of the DIP and PPO programme. With the right safeguards in place it is possible for information sharing to take place in a way that helps deliver the better services that we all want, while still respecting people's legitimate expectations about the privacy and confidentiality of their personal information. The legislative framework around information sharing is complex and there is a range of existing guidance available. This can make it difficult for local agencies to navigate a way through this and make decisions about what information it is appropriate and lawful to share. It is important to consider the whole range of possible statutory provisions that are available in relation to information sharing, depending on the different circumstances presented. This will enhance flexibility and improve the effectiveness by looking beyond the individual provisions. This short briefing provides a high level summary of the ethos of information sharing and covers three areas where understanding the parameters of information sharing are vital: • Information sharing has an important role to play in ensuring effective continuity of care. With the informed consent of the individual, it is possible - and beneficial to the client - to pass relevant information about their treatment to other organisations involved in their care. This needs to be done within the boundaries set by a number of pieces of legislation, and within local arrangements. • DIP and PPO interventions can only be effective if those involved with an individual are able to share information necessary to ensure an appropriate response to that person’s compliance or failure to comply with what has been legally required of them. Information sharing also has an important role to play in intelligence gathering, for example in identifying particular crime hot spots. Where aggregated information is used for this purpose so that the client cannot be identified, the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) will not apply as it will not be personal data. The use of non-aggregated (i.e. individual) data is permissible where there is informed consent from the client but should otherwise be limited to those cases where such action can be clearly justified (see below).

Information sharing - Continuity of care In order to improve continuity of care and treatment, it is important to ensure consistency in terms of what, when and how information is shared. It is a sensitive

issue and it is important that it is properly handled. Ensuring that a drug misusing offender is appropriately supported throughout his or her contact with the criminal justice system, treatment or other support services is therefore essential in maximising their chances of remaining engaged in treatment. It is likely that various individuals and agencies may be involved with the individual at different stages of their treatment and/or criminal justice process and therefore important for workers to clarify whether someone else is already involved in their care/case and whether (within the legal framework) they should be speaking to and exchanging information with that other individual or agency. For continuity of care purposes, however, information may generally only be shared with informed consent. Exceptions apply in line with existing confidentiality arrangements and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), for example where the client may be likely to harm themselves, or another person. The client must not only be informed about and understand the uses to which the information will be put, but also the circumstances when confidentiality may be broken. They must agree to the information being shared for purposes as outlined. The worker and the individual must sign the consent form attached to the Drug Interventions Record (DIR) to confirm that this has occurred. Once consent has been given for such sharing between the specified agencies, and not subsequently withdrawn by the client, workers can share information contained on the DIR between those agencies. This means, for example, that not only can a CJIT worker give information to a CARATS team, but that they may also receive relevant information in return without further consent being obtained (as both these agencies are named on the form). The information on the DIR may also be used to inform: § a pre sentence report § facilitate early identification of offenders who may be suitable for a community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) § inform sentence planning in custody and on release. Information sharing – compliance or failure to comply DIP process guidance includes advice on what information needs to be shared to meet the legal requirements for Testing on Arrest, required assessment and Restriction on Bail – including when consent may be required. …with the police For example specific provision has been made in instances where a positive test result is obtained and the police require initial and follow-up assessments to be undertaken, that the test result and requirement are communicated to the Criminal Justice Integrated Team which will be carrying out those assessments. The sharing of information between the police and CJIT for this purpose does not require the consent of the individual, although good practice is to inform the client. Information sharing on compliance is also important, for example, where there is breach of attendance at assessment or restric tion on bail provisions. Sections 12(2) and 14(2) of the Drugs Act requires the assessor to inform a police officer if the person fails to attend and remain at an initial or a follow-up assessment.

…with Offender Managers CJITs and CARATs also have certain roles and responsibilities with respect to sharing information with consent from the DIR with Probation/Offender Managers to inform Pre-Sentence Reports and for the early identification of potential Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) cases. Sharing information to monitor compliance with an Order/Licence should preferably be with the informed consent of the client. There are circumstances however, allowed for under the DPA, where relevant and appropriate information may be shared without this consent, for example where such sharing is necessary for the administration of justice. Such circumstances must however be looked at on a case by case basis. Typical compliance information that Offender Managers may request includes whether the offender is o the caseload and whether they are keeping n appointments in line with their agreed plan. Further advice is being prepared by NOMS probation and partners on the arrangements and details relating to information sharing without consent for the administration of justice to include individuals: § with a DRR who may be subject to RoB, § without a specific DRR § with a licence condition to tackle their drug misuse § without a licence condition to tackle their drug misuse. …between CJITS and PPO programme Effective information sharing between CJITS and PPO teams is one of the key elements of the alignment of the two programmes. The over-arching premise is that information will be shared about individuals only to the degree that enables both the CJIT and PPO programme to b sufficiently aligned to provide the most effective e case management for the individuals concerned. One of the key benefits of alignment is to provide the potential for CJITs to refer the most non-compliant DIP clients to the PPO programme, and for the programme to consider their adoption as PPOs, in order to benefit from the more intensive offender management regime of the PPO programme. In this instance, it may be necessary to discuss details of the individual which go beyond simply noting that they are on the CJIT/DIP caseload. The key to ensuring the legality of such information sharing is that it is processed in a fair way. In other words, clients should be informed that information about them will be passed on for these purposes. Sharing Non-aggregated data The use of aggregated data (where individuals cannot be identified) for intelligence gathering purposes is well established and largely non-contentious. The use of non aggregated or personalised data is more complicated and requires a careful balancing of the individuals rights to confidentiality, enshrined in common law and the Data Protection Act 1998, against public protection and crime reduction considerations covered by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Where police or other partners are intending to use non aggregated data for intelligence gathering the optimum position is to obtain informed consent from the offender to ensure that they are fully aware and agree to personal information being used for these purposes.

Where there is no informed consent, the general principle is that non-aggregated data should only be used in circumstances where there are specific public protection concerns and then only on a case by case basis. It would not be acceptable to actively use information such as a positive drug test in isolation to target that individual whereas the use of personalised data might be justified where police are acting on specific information to prevent the commission of a serious offence. The key to ensuring the legality of such information sharing is that it is processed in a fair way, i.e. clients should be informed that information about them may be passed on for these purposes. Treatment providers should not be required to give their reasons for making the decision to withhold certain information, and should not be coerced into providing information on any of their clients for which no adequate justification has been provided or which is not necessary within the law. Local agreements The use of non-aggregated data for intelligence needs to be considered on a case by case basis for each specific single purpose – and that purpose should be clearly understood by all parties. It is therefore important for local areas to establish local information sharing agreements so that all partners know ground rules for disclosure. Local agreements promote a clear understanding of what information is required in what format; why it is required; and how it will be used. They also help to foster mutual trust necessary for effective co-operation between local partners and are the best way to ensure information is handled properly. Further information § § § § § Data Protection Act 1998 Drugs Act 2005 Human Rights Act 1998 DIP Operational Process Guidance for Implementation of Testing on Arrest, Required Assessment and Restriction on Bail Department of Constitutional Affairs Guidance. ‘Public Sector Data Sharing: Guidance on the Law, November 2003’