Information Commissioner's Office
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ICO responds to Michael Gove article in today's Daily Telegraph

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responded to comments made by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, in today’s edition of the Daily Telegraph suggesting that Ofsted are unable to share information with the police to protect vulnerable children in care.

Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said:

"Ensuring that vulnerable young people are properly protected in care homes is essential. There is nothing in data protection legislation that is a barrier to this happening. This law covers information about people so it has no bearing on the disclosure of non-personal information like the location of care homes.

“If anyone has serious concerns about an individual, either as a potential victim or perpetrator, then this can be passed on to the police without breaching data protection law. The Information Commissioner published a Data Sharing Code of Practice in May 2012 which helps ensure that more routine information sharing takes place where necessary and any myths around data protection preventing proper sharing are dispelled. The Commissioner’s advice has not been sought on any perceived difficulties about sharing care home information so we are writing to both Michael Gove and Sir Michael Wilshaw at Ofsted today to clarify the concerns and set straight any misunderstandings."

Notes to Editors

1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

2. The ICO regulates the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. In Scotland, freedom of information is a devolved matter and Scottish public authorities are subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 which is regulated by the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner in St Andrews.

3. The ICO is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter.

4. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary
  • Processed in line with your rights
  • Secure 
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

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