The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) have been contracted by NHS Digital to develop Information Governance Materials for Social Care Providers. A key aim of this work is to produce guidance and documentation which will assist care homes with completing the NHS Information Governance Toolkit and to increase knowledge about Information Governance across the sector.

Information Governance (IG) relates to the safeguarding of any personally identifiable data – not just digitally stored data. Social care workers have a duty to share information and also a duty to ensure data is kept confidential. IG is the method used to manage information within organisations and it supports each organisation not only in their current regulatory, legal, and operational requirements but also in all future requirements. All organisations must be aware of IG.

The IG Toolkit brings together existing legal rules and guidance to help all Health and Social Care organisations. All organisations that have access to NHS patient data must use the IG Toolkit to evidence to DH and NHS Digital that they are practising good information governance.

Through the research for this project we have concluded that:

  1. The majority of social care providers have not started on the IGT at all. Generally, this seems to be due to a lack of knowledge surrounding IG and the IG Toolkit.
  2. Many social care providers believe that they have not received information about IG and the IG Toolkit and that communication between the NHS and social care sector needs to be better.
  3. Time is the biggest barrier to completing the IG Toolkit, with cost, insufficient resources and the complexity of adapting policies and procedures all being contributory factors.
  4. There is a small group of care home providers who are significantly ahead of the rest of the sector.
  5. Our survey clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding around the IG Toolkit, even from those who have started to complete it. There is also a lack of understanding around what needs to be done to policies and procedures to demonstrate IG Toolkit compliance.
  6. Pharmacies and GPs are significantly ahead of the Social Care Sector when it comes to completing the IG Toolkit.

As the output for this project, we aim to provide guidance aimed at Registered Managers to explain IG and its importance to their organisation, a guide aimed at social care workers to highlight their responsibilities, an implementation guide for the IG Toolkit and model policies and procedures to help social care providers ensure that they are IG compliant.

Testing of these materials will commence from 20th January 2017.