Members of the public are being asked for their views on the sharing of personal data as part of a consultation exercise launched by the Information Commissioner's Office.
The consultation, which runs for 12 weeks until 5 January 2011, focuses on the new statutory Code of Practice on the sharing of personal data. The draft code sets out a model of good practice for public and private organisations.
It covers routine information sharing as well as one-off instances where a decision is made to release data to a third party such as a school passing on information about a child to a social services department.
The code covers a number of areas including:
What factors an organisation must take into account when coming to a decision about whether to share personal data.
The point at which individuals should be told about their data being shared.
The security and staff training measures that must be put in place.
The rights of the individual to access their personal data; and when it's not acceptable to share personal data.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: "Under the right circumstances and for the right reasons, data sharing across and between organisations can play a crucial role in providing a better, more efficient service to customers in a range of sectors - both public and private. But citizens' and consumers' rights under the Data Protection Act must be respected."