Access to Council information

There are council guidance and processes (SCC intranet) whereby individuals can request access to their social work records which include any records relating to safeguarding. This guidance relates to requests for access specifically to adult safeguarding records whilst a safeguarding investigation is active and in respect of any other issues that can arise around access to information specifically when applied to the adult safeguarding process. Other agencies will have their own policies and will need to refer to these.

Where requests are made for access to safeguarding records, safeguarding chairs will need to make judgements as to whether it is appropriate to seek guidance from the corporate information officer who is responsible for access to records generally. In any case of doubt, advice should always be sought from the corporate information officer. The following notes are intended to help with some of the common issues which may arise.

Under access to records legislation, those in respect of whom personal information is held in any form have a right of access to the information, unless one of the exceptions set out below applies:

  1. Where the practice of social work would otherwise be prejudiced because access to the information would be likely to result in serious harm to the person requesting the information or some other person.
  2. Where the disclosure of the information would involve the disclosing of information about a third party without that person's consent and disclosure cannot be justified without that person's agreement.
  3. Where disclosure may prevent the detection or investigation of a crime.


These exceptions do not permit the total withholding of information but only those sections of the material covered by the exceptions. The remainder of the case records should be made available to the service user.

The exceptions do not apply where disclosure is required by a Court Order or is necessary for the purpose of or in connection with any legal proceedings. In addition, a Court may prevent disclosure of information where a person shows that he or she would be caused serious harm to his physical or mental health by the disclosure.

For all the above reasons there are well established processes for checking what information can be readily shared where permissions are needed and what legitimately should not be shared.

Adult safeguarding records include:

  • The formal recording of adult safeguarding meetings i.e. strategy, case conference or case conference review meetings.
  • Additional reports submitted to the adult safeguarding processes i.e. investigation reports (SG7), reports from specialist professionals i.e. tissue viability, infection control, psychology etc.
  • Service based records gathered as part of the safeguarding investigation.

NB  It does not include police reports which must be accessed via the processes in place within the Greater Manchester Police Service via their Civil Litigation department.

Adult safeguarding records are the responsibility of the chair of the adult safeguarding process and decisions about the content and distribution of the records will lay primarily with the chair of the meeting who should consult with the corporate information officer if in any doubt about how to respond to a request. The adult safeguarding processes are managed by Salford City Council and as such the records remain the property of the council with ultimate control of the record resting with the Strategic Director of the Community, Health & Social Care Directorate or their designated senior manager.

Records are kept singularly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the person who has been the victim of abuse or harm. They are not to be used by third parties for other purposes unless this is clearly recorded by the chair.

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