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HSCIC agrees improvements to how information is shared

March 06, 2014

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) Board yesterday agreed (March 05 2014) four important steps to improve the transparency of its decision-making and build public trust in its actions.

The measures include:

  • Following concerns expressed by the Health Select Committee in its meeting of February 25, Sir Nick Partridge, a Non-Executive Director on the HSCIC Board and former Chief Executive of the Terence Higgins Trust, has agreed conduct an audit of all the data releases made by the predecessor organisation, NHS Information Centre, and report on this to the HSCIC Board by the end of April;
  • The strengthening of the HSCIC Board with three new Non-Executive Directors, Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair Genomics England Ltd, Professor Maria Goddard, Director of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York and Jan Ormondroyd, former Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, who will be joining Sir Ian Andrews and Sir Nick Partridge as NEDs;
  • The publication on April 2 of the report detailing all data released under the the HSCIC, including the legal basis on which data was released and the purpose to which the data is being put. This report will be updated on a quarterly basis and is intended to encourage public scrutiny of HSCIC decisions;
  • Writing to all recipients of HSCIC data releases reminding them of their responsibilities under their data sharing agreements with the HSCIC, including our right to audit their use of data released to them, as well as our intention to publish details of their access.

Kingsley Manning, Chair of the HSCIC, said: "We very much welcome recent announcements by the Secretary of State, including his intention to strengthen the legal basis of the HSCIC, which will increase patients' ability to object to the indirect use of their data and reinforce the requirement for their interests to be at the forefront when decisions to release data are made.

"The HSCIC is absolutely committed to improving its own transparency and engagement with the public. In both reviewing the actions of the old NHS Information Centre and publishing our own decisions, we are encouraging public scrutiny. The clear benefits to patients of research and analysis of medical outcomes must drive our lawful release of data. This is why we were created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

"The appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors will strengthen our Board. They join our new Chief Executive, Andy Williams, who is taking up his role in April, in creating a strong and accountable organisation."

Sir Nick Partridge, Non-Executive Director of the HSCIC, said: "I am glad to take responsibility for reviewing past data releases from the NHS Information Centre and producing a comprehensive report. This is the start of building the public's trust in the transparency of HSCIC decision-making and that the organisation is operating to the highest standards.

"We must be open and honest about all our decisions and processes. I want to challenge the organisation in order to understand why and when decisions were taken, to ensure that patients and the public can have confidence in the organisation's work in the future."

ENDS


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. For media enquiries please contact media@hscic.gov.uk or 0300 303 3888.

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