Social care providers urged to check data protection by 30 June 2022
All care services across England are being encouraged to check and improve how they store and share information by the end of June – with free, expert support.
It is part of a national and local programme – Better Security, Better Care – to improve data protection and cyber security within the adult social care sector.
“Every care provider uses and shares information about the people they support, their staff, visitors and funders,” explains Michelle Corrigan, Programme Director, Better Security, Better Care. “Whether it’s paper or digital records, we need to protect that information and only share it with those who genuinely need access. It’s the law, and frankly it’s a safeguarding responsibility.”
The Better Security, Better Care programme supports providers to use the official Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) to assess and improve their current policies, procedures and practices on data management and cyber security, and to share the level they reach on the Toolkit with others.
“Three times as many care services are using the DSPT now compared to a year ago,” says Michelle. “Nursing homes are most likely to have completed their toolkit, whereas smaller services are least likely to use it. They rarely have inhouse data experts and that is where we can help. We urge all providers – whatever their size or service type – to come forward for our free, expert support.
The programme is also reminding services that the DSPT needs to be completed every year. The deadline for 2021/22 is 30 June 2022.
“Things change very quickly. Staff turnover, new IT systems, or a change in services can all impact on care services’ practices,” continues Michelle. “Which is why the DSPT must be published every year. If a provider has completed it in the past, they can just review, update and republish. They don’t have to start from scratch. But if they don’t republish, they can’t use an out-of-date DSPT as evidence of their current arrangements.”
Having an up-to-date DSPT is required under NHS contracts, and is increasingly being added to local authority contracts. The DSPT also opens up access to secure email with the health service via NHSmail, and it is a pre-requisite for accessing NHS shared records systems such as GP Connect or proxy medication ordering.
The Better Security, Better Care programme offers expert advice to care homes, home care agencies, supported living and other care services for adults on how to check and improve their current data protection. This includes both national and local support from 28 Better Security, Better Care local arrangements partners right across England.
Find out more www.digitalsocialcare.co.uk/bettersecuritybettercare
Book free webinars on using the DSPT in June and July https://www.digitalsocialcare.co.uk/events/
Tel 07792 636761