National Data Guardian invites feedback on draft Caldicott Guardian guidance

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Later this year, the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care will be issuing guidance that, when implemented, will mean more areas of the health and adult social care system should have a Caldicott Guardian than have currently been advised to have one.

In preparation for this, we are welcoming feedback on the first draft of this guidance to ensure that it is clear and relevant to all of those it addresses.

Why the NDG is issuing this guidance

Caldicott Guardians play a vital role in ensuring that health and social care data is used responsibly to support the delivery of better care and that confidentiality is respected. Currently, only some parts of the sector have been advised that they should have one.

In 2020, the NDG held a public consultation about the Caldicott Principles and Caldicott Guardians. As part of this, she proposed to expand the categories of organisations that are expected to have a Caldicott Guardian, and this proposal received strong support.

Who the guidance applies to

The guidance will apply to all public bodies within the health and adult social care sector that handle confidential information about patients or service users. This also includes organisations contracted by public bodies to deliver health or adult social care services that handle such information.

As this guidance will be issued under the NDG’s statutory powers, those it applies to must have regard to it.

What the guidance means

The guidance states that the organisations in scope should have a Caldicott Guardian (whether by appointing a member of their own staff or making other arrangements). It also describes the Caldicott Guardian role, and states what organisations should do to support Caldicott Guardians to deliver their duties.

Support for organisations and Caldicott Guardians

As we finalise the guidance, we will be working with the UK Caldicott Guardian Council and others to provide a support package that will both aid organisations implementing the guidance and help Caldicott Guardians to be effective in their work. This will include free e-learning, online forums for networking, a newsletter, case studies and decision-making tools, and improvements to the Caldicott Guardian registration process.

Why is the NDG seeking feedback?

We have tried to keep the guidance clear and simple to make it as straightforward as possible to implement. We have also tried to build in flexibility as to how it might be implemented. This is because it applies to a large variety of organisations and bodies, which are structured and staffed in many different ways, and which handle varying amounts of confidential information for a range of purposes. We want to hear whether it is suitably pitched to meet the needs of all of those it is relevant to. We are particularly keen to hear from Caldicott Guardians whether the role description accurately reflects the role as they understand it.

How to provide feedback

Please submit suggestions for how and where the guidance could be improved by emailing before 29 January 2021.

Draft guidance

Revision History:


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