The Victorian Budget 2018-19 included allocation of funds to a wide range of areas where government needs to balance privacy concerns with the benefits of sharing information. Common areas where this arise are in family violence and in the health, disability, justice and education sectors.
A key announcement in the Budget was the allocation of $13.4 million (and $30 million over the forward estimates) to support a new whole of Government initiative known as the 'Child Information Sharing Reforms'. This initiative is underpinned by the Children Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2018 which came into force on 10 April 2018. The reforms seek to protect vulnerable children by simplifying and improving information sharing arrangements between specified government agencies and service providers.
Knowing when and how to lawfully disclose information in different contexts is vital. However, an overly legalistic or unbalanced approach can lead to an unwillingness to share information, which may result in negative outcomes for Victorians, particularly for vulnerable families experiencing family violence who rely on a number of integrated support services, built on effective information sharing.
A key objective of the Child Information Sharing Reforms is to promote child wellbeing and safety by enabling information sharing. Budget funding will target training for workers to understand when it is appropriate to share information, to improve early risk identification and intervention and increase collaboration for the wellbeing and safety of children.
VGSO has extensive experience in advising on information sharing in a wide range of different contexts. Please call one of our experts in this area if you require assistance in understanding how to discharge your obligations when sharing information:
Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
Managing Principal Solicitor9947 1403