The government plans to promote information sharing across settings to deliver improvements in the health of children and young people, according to a strategy published this week.

Healthy lives, brighter futures: the strategy for children and young people’s health says feedback from frontline staff suggests they sometimes feel constrained as to when they can share information lawfully and unclear about how requirements on confidentiality and consent apply.

The strategy says a programme fo support will be developed by the Department of Health together with the Department for Children Schools and Families to enable more appropriate and effective information sharing locally.

The two government departments will work with Together for Children, which is already working with the DCSF to deliver Sure Start Children’s Centres, to develop a support programme to be rolled out from spring 2009.

The programme will initally focus on Sure Start Children’s Centres and how information can be shared appropriately to support their services, including initiatives on breastfeeding, new partners and families with obesity. It will also consider what lessons may be learned for other settings.

The strategy says the new children’s database, ContactPoint, which was launched last month, will provide practitioners with a quick way to find out who else is working with a child, making it easier for them to work as a team and deliver more coordinated support.

The government is to back its strategy with £340m of new funding which will be used to support children with disabilities and their families.

The startegy calls for stronger and better joined up support the early years of life, a strengthened role for Sure Start Chidlren’s Centres and the expansion of the Family Nurse Partnerships programme to support first time mothers.

It also outlines plans to test with a view to rolling-out minimum NHS datasets for child health, maternity and child mental health services. The strategy says the government will also work on providing better data on experience and outome and publish best practice on data collection.

Launching the strategy children’s secretary Ed Balls said: “We want to make England the best place in the world for our children and young people to grow up. Our flagship Children’s Plan set out how, building on over ten years of social reform, we are working even harder to give every child a good and healthy start in life.”

De Simon Lenton, vice president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the strategy came with “a significant amount of new money targeted at an area of genuine need.”

He added: “We have always advocated working across boundaries for the good of children and we welcome the emphasis on a joined up approach.”

Paul Ennals, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: “Improving child health calls for real partnership – between government departments, between local health services and local authorities, and between local service providers and the children and families they are serving. This strategy takes forward partnership at all those levels, and NCB supports it.”