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Approved Information Sharing Agreement Signed

September 03, 2015 at 12:19 PM

Approved Information Sharing Agreement (AISA) Signed

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

An agreement has been signed which clarifies what information government agencies can share about children at risk of harm and their families.

The Approved Information Sharing Agreement (AISA) is a legal framework which "provides clarity and certainty about what information about vulnerable children and their families/whānau government agencies can share, for what reasons and with whom."Consultation on the agreement was undertaken between October and December 2014.

AISA is initially being introduced in Hamilton on 1 September 2015. AISA was designed to support the Vulnerable Children's Hub and the Vulnerable Kids Information System (ViKi). Professionals with concerns about a child can contact the Hub. Social workers will collect information about the child from the referrer and other agencies, assess the risk and refer the child to appropriate services along with the information they have gathered. ViKi is the electronic system which records concerns about children. Appropriate professionals within the Hub and Children's Teams will have secure access to ViKi.

The parties to the AISA are the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, Police and the Children’s Action Plan Directorate. The AISA supporting the Vulnerable Children’s Hub being tested in Hamilton does not cover NGOs, however NGOs can share information or concerns with the Hub.

Principles applying to the agreement are:

(a) The safety, welfare and well-being of children and their families and whānau are paramount considerations
(b) Unless doing so would be impractical or may endanger any person's safety, children and their families have the right to express their views on information being shared
(c) Wherever practicable, the reasons why information is to be shared are to be discussed openly and honestly with the children and their families
(d) Information sharing is to be necessary, relevant and proportionate to the circumstances and needs of the children and their families.

The Agreement sets out specific types of information that can be shared (which include any history of harm to a child, and information about a parent or caregiver having a history of family violence) and safeguards to protect people's privacy.

Information can always be disclosed without consent under the Privacy Act 1993 (principle 11(f)), if the "disclosure of the information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the life or health of the individual concerned or another individual." Under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 (section 15) "Any person who believes that any child or young person has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treated, abused, neglected, or deprived may report the matter to a social worker or a constable."

AISA documents, including a Privacy Impact Assessment, discussion papers, submissions, consultation and workshop reports, factsheets and FAQs are available on the Children's Action Plan website.

For more information including related media visit the NZFVC website