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Indicator Assurance Service

What is the Indicator Assurance Service?

The Indicator Assurance Service promotes clarity and consistency in health and social care indicators through the provision of appraisal against defined assessment criteria. The service supports the "institutional memory" of the health and care system, helping to avoid instances where more than one indicator, each with differing underlying methodologies, report on the same process and/or outcome to the same audience. The development of an open and transparent way of quality assuring service indicators has received further support through recommendations made in the report into Mid Staffordshire inquiry.


Using the Service

Anyone wishing to have an indicator quality assured is welcome to use the Indicator Assurance Service. Applications received are taken through a robust appraisal process consisting of:

  • Initial evaluation
  • Peer review
  • Methodology Review Group
  • Indicator Governance Board

To assess the indicator HSCIC will need details about:

  • why the indicator is needed;
  • the persons who will use, or benefit from the use of, the indicator;
  • the methodology to be used in constructing the indicator;
  • the data sources in relation to the methodology applied;
  • how the quality indicator is to be published,

The quality of a national health and social care indicator is then appraised based on a transparent set of criteria and associated criteria:

  1. Clarity: Is it clear what the indicator will measure?
  2. Rationale: What are the reasons and evidence for measuring this?
  3. Data: Are the data in the measure fit (enough) to support the purpose?
  4. Construction: Will the methods used support the stated purpose? Is it clear what methods are used and how they have been tested and/or justified?
  5. Interpretation: Is the presentation of the indicator suitable and are all potential users able to interpret the values?
  6. Risks and Usefulness: Are any limitation, risks or perverse incentives associated with the indicator explicitly stated? Can the indicator be used for quality improvements?

National Library of Quality Assured Indicators

Indicators that have been assured by the Indicator Assurance Service and signed off by the Indicator Governance Board are registered in the Library of Quality Assured Indicators.

The Library will provide a resource where users can select indicators which have been assured as being based on sound methodologies commonly understood across the care system. Although HSCIC is the holder of the library, open involvement and ownership of the process across the care system is central to a robust Indicator Assurance Service.

xls icon View the list of indicators which have been assured [37kb]

Further development work is underway to improve the Library's functionality. Comments on what functionality users may like to see in future developments are welcome, and should be sent to the Indicator Assurance Team.

Contact the Indicator Assurance Service


Commitment to Transparency

In support of our commitment to transparency and openness, access to a full history of discussions relating to the appraisal of applications, including meeting papers relating to both the Methodology Review Group and Indicator Governance Board, can be accessed on the Indicator Assurance Repository.

To request access to this service please contact the Indicator Assurance team.

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