The government has launched a consultation on information sharing across health, social care and wider community support services.

The consultation will examine how the assessment process for people who need health and social care should work in future.

It will look at what information should be commonly shared, who that information should be shared with, what IT solutions will be needed nationally and the resulting confidentiality and security arrangements.

The consultation will be conducted alongside a number of demonstrator sites run by local authority-led consortia. These will test and evaluate the practical changes that need to be made and take into account feedback from the consultation.

The first wave of demonstrator sites is expected to be start shortly, following a call for interest last summer. A second wave of demonstrator sites is expected to begin this summer. Care services minister Phil Hope said the assessment process should be quicker, simpler and more convenient.

“I know that it can be frustrating for patients when they have to give the same information every time they contact different services. So we need to make sure information can be shared at the right time and in a secure and confidential way,” he said.

“This is especially important now that more and more people are taking control of commissioning their own care. I want this consultation to bring about real changes in the system, to make our health and social care services work better around the needs of service users.”

People are being given the power to choose and commission their own care and support services through recent reforms outlined in Putting People First.

The government said the three-year demonstrators would evaluate evidence on benefits for patients, efficiency and cost-effectiveness across the system. The evidence would be used to inform local developments and further national guidance.

The consultation runs until 17 April and public consultation events are being held between now and 19 February.