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Child Protection - Information Sharing (CP-IS) service

Helps health and social care staff to share information securely between local authorities and NHS organisations to better protect society's most vulnerable children.

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About this service

Local authority social care workers
Local authority...

NHS healthcare workers
NHS healthcare w...
CP-IS database
CP-IS database
Point of care applications
Point of care...
Text is not SVG - cannot display Local authority's social care worker uploads vulnerable child details to CP-IS and receives notifications if the details are accessed because they attend an NHS care setting. such as an emergency department.
Text description
  1. Local authority social care workers can access CP-IS through their point-of-care application, such as a social care case management software.
  2. Once accessed, the social care worker can upload patient details to the CP-IS database.
  3. These details can then be accessed by NHS Healthcare workers in both scheduled and unscheduled care, through a local point-of care application or the National Care Records Service (NCRS).
  4. When a patient’s details have been accessed, the CP-IS database will send an access notification to alert the social care worker.

The Child Protection - Information Sharing (CP-IS) service helps health and social care workers share information securely to better protect children and young people who are known to social care because they are:

  • looked after
  • or have a child protection plan

CP-IS links IT systems across health and social care in England to help organisations share information securely.

As it covers 100% of local authorities in England, it's the only national register of social care status, and the only system to provide information when a child is out of area.

It is already available to over 1,200 unscheduled health care sites (this refers to NHS care that couldn't have been expected or planned before someone contacted a healthcare provider, such as ambulance and emergency services). 

We are also working to add scheduled care settings (or planned care) such as school nursing and health visiting services. 


Benefits of CP-IS include:

  • early intervention - taking action to prevent or reduce future harm happening to children and young people
  • improved safety and care - doing the best when children and young people need help
  • increased workforce efficiency and effectiveness - doing the most for children and young people with the resources we have

For more details and specific case studies, see Benefits of Child Protection - Information Sharing.

Who this service is for

CP-IS is for:

  • social care workers in local authorities to share details of children and young people in their care or on child protection plans, and to be notified when their CP-IS record is accessed
  • healthcare workers in unscheduled and scheduled care settings to view details of those children or young people

CP-IS is only for use in England, and only for the purpose of direct care.

CP-IS does not have a user interface - users must access it indirectly via point-of-care applications, such as:

  • social care case management software
  • electronic patient record (EPR) software in a hospital setting
  • GP software
  • the National Care Records Service

These applications access CP-IS via:

What information is available

Who is included

CP-IS deals with children and young people who are known to social care because they are either looked after or have a child protection plan.

This includes:

  • an Interim Care Order under Section 28 of the Children Act 1898
  • a Full Care order under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989
  • a Voluntary Care Order under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, where they can be accommodated with the consent of those with parental responsibility
  • a child protection plan under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, including unborn child protection plans

Some local authorities have chosen to include children and young people where an E1 placement order has been made under the Adoption and Children Act, to ensure they remain on CP-IS until their adoption is complete.

CP-IS covers the whole of England.

What information is held for each patient

CP-IS holds the following information for each registered child or young person:

  • NHS number
  • details of their plan - type, start date and end date
  • details of the 25 most recent CP-IS information accesses from approved care settings in England
  • the name of the responsible local authority - together with their office hours phone and emergency duty contact numbers

All records in CP-IS are held against the patient's NHS number. It is therefore very important to use the correct NHS number for each patient.

Data quality

We have a CP-IS operations team who are responsible for maximising CP-IS data quality.

Our operations team:

  • hold data quality health check meetings with local authorities
  • monitor CP-IS uploads from local authorities and offer data quality assistance, where appropriate
  • assist with requests for NHS number matching
  • share updates and best practice at local authority user groups
  • providing guidance on maintaining relationships with health partners

To discuss data quality, please contact NHS England National Service Desk (NSD) by:

Local authorities should make regular checks of their data quality error logs.

National usage policy

Unscheduled care

For unscheduled care:

CP-IS is available to the following unscheduled care settings:

  • emergency departments
  • emergency dental services (when connected to and emergency department in a hospital)
  • walk-in centres
  • ambulance services
  • GP out of hours
  • paediatric wards
  • maternity units
  • 111 services

Scheduled care

For scheduled care, CP-IS is mandated from the end of March 2024, as explained in the NHS Long Term Plan (see 'Milestones for digital technology', page 99).

The Long Term Plan says CP-IS will be extended to 'all health care settings'. Based on advice from safeguarding specialists, we are focussing on the following care settings:

  • general practice (in hours)
  • child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • sexual assault referral centres
  • termination of pregnancy services
  • school nursing and health visitors
  • community paediatrics
  • dentistry (appointment based services, including emergency care)

The Information Standards Notice mandating the use of CP-IS will be updated to include the new scheduled care settings.

Local authorities

For local authorities, CP-IS is not formally mandated, but it is nevertheless in use in 100% of local authorities.

How this service works

When a child is known to social care and has 'looked after' status or is on a child protection plan, basic information about that person's care plan is shared securely with CP-IS.

If that child attends an NHS unscheduled care setting, such as an emergency department or a minor injury unit:

  • the health team is alerted that the patient is on a plan and has access to the contact details for the social care team
  • the social care team is automatically notified that the child has attended unscheduled care
  • both parties can see details of the child's previous visits (up to 25) to unscheduled care settings in England

CP-IS does not send notifications for visits to scheduled care.

When the mother of an unborn child is known to social care and subject to an unborn child protection plan, this information is shared securely with the NHS and processed in the same way.

At a technical level:

  • social care applications communicate with CP-IS via the MESH national messaging system
  • unscheduled and scheduled care applications communicate with CP-IS via the CP-IS HL7 V3 API
  • a FHIR API is in development

Status, service level and current usage

This service is live and has been in active use since 2014.

It is currently used by:

CP-IS is a bronze service, meaning it’s supported hours are 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays


CP-IS has a roadmap to extend coverage and champion data sharing between agencies.

How to access this service

To access CP-IS using NCRS, a healthcare worker needs to have the appropriate RBAC activity codes added to their NHS smartcard or modern equivalent, typically by the Registration Authority Manager for their organisation.

NHS unscheduled care settings in England must implement links to CP-IS as set out in Information Standards Notice ISN 1609 and the NHS Standard Contract

For software development organisations interested in developing systems for local authorities or the NHS, see Technical guidance for developers.

Contact us


Point of contact
Live service incident

National Service Desk

Online portal: NHS England Customer Portal

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0300 303 5035

General enquiries about the service and onboarding

Data quality guidance or issues

[email protected]

Strategic direction of the service

Clare Cooke


Kenny Gibson (senior responsible officer)

Email: [email protected]

Further information

internal Support for technical or data issues

Information for end users and suppliers of NHS systems and LA systems using CP-IS on how to log issues, support with data quality and general best practice guidance.

internal Implement CP-IS in your organisation

Implementing Child Protection - Information Sharing (CP-IS) requires joint working between local authorities, NHS organisations, their IT systems suppliers and the NHS Digital project team.

internal Technical guidance for developers

Information for system suppliers looking to develop Child Protection - Information Sharing (CP-IS) services and the assurance onboarding process.

Last edited: 27 March 2024 11:55 am