The Data Protection Commission (DPC) says that it will continue to engage with interested parties to provide guidance on the sharing of information with nursing homes about residents’ criminal convictions.
In a blog post on its website, the watchdog said that it was aware of media coverage of concerns about a failure to share information with a nursing home about a resident’s criminal convictions, and the risk to other residents.
The DPC pointed out that information about a person’s criminal convictions, or alleged criminal offences, was afforded special protection in data-protection law, and had to be processed carefully.
It added, however, that there were specific situations where it would be necessary for information about a person’s criminal convictions to be processed, and shared between organisations.
‘Specific identified risk’
“One such situation is where it is necessary for the information to be shared to protect other people, and to deal with a specific identified risk,” the commission stated, adding that this was facilitated in data-protection law under section 55(1)(b)(iv) of the Data Protection Act 2018.
“Where it has been determined that it is strictly necessary in order to protect other people, the consent of the person concerned is not required to share information about their criminal convictions,” the DPC stated.
In this situation, the DPC said, organisations had to ensure that only the information that they specifically needed to address the risk to other people was shared, and that the information was handled in “a sensitive and confidential manner” by all parties.