Leeds City Council and several agencies working under the Leeds Health Authority are planning merged IT services even though the current law does not allow them to do so.
The council has developed a system, using firewalls, that potentially allows data sharing but does not break the law.
The St George's centre, which will have a housing office, social services department, community and mental health services, maternity centre and minor injuries clinic, will be potentially able to share an IT system despite the fact that existing legislation forbids it.
Current rules forbidding the sharing of data between government departments are less than a decade old. They were designed to prevent patients' medical records falling into the hands of other government departments.
However, a Leeds Council spokesperson said: "The IT people in the council and the local authority believe that the sharing of data is the way forward, but we accept that there is no way there will be any changes by the time the centre opens in 2002."
Principal officer for the council, Ian Muscroft, said the council has bought kit that will enable the different sections to be isolated by firewalls which could be easily pulled out if there was a change of legislation.
"There is no manual on the shelf for what we are doing. This project is the first of its size and type in the country and we are raising a lot of issues."
Leeds Health Authority assistant director of planning, Julie Turner, said that sharing of information between NHS organisations was permitted and so a large section of the centre's database could be shared.
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