Better Security, Better Care support and changes to Data Security and Protection Toolkit

Better Security, Better Care support and changes to Data Security and Protection Toolkit

Update 01.07.21 – note that the DSPT waiver has now ended. Completing the DSPT to at least approaching standards is a prerequisite for applying for NHSmail. Care Providers can continue to use the fast track application process until 30 July 2021

NHSX has published changes in relation to the Data Security and Protection Toolkit for adult social care providers, plus additional national and local support through the Better Security, Better Care programme.

The Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) is a really helpful, annual self-assessment for health and care organisations. It shows you what you need to do to keep people’s information safe, and to protect your business from the risk of a data breach or a cyber attack. Once you’ve completed the DSPT, it will help you demonstrate, to the people you support, your commissioners, GPs and other NHS services, that you are handling information securely. It is a pre-requisite for access to NHS systems, including NHSmail and Proxy Access to GP records.

Fast track access to NHSmail – extended to 30 June 2021

During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, secure communication between health and social care services is more important than ever. To support this, care providers are able to access NHSmail without the need to complete the DSPT. The original deadline for this waiver was 31 March 2021.

Following a review by NHSX, the waiver has now been extended to 30 June 2021, in line with the deadline for 2020/21 DSPT social care self-assessments.

New DSPT status for care providers: Approaching Standards

There are different levels of DSPT compliance and providers can publish at Entry Level, Standards Met or Standards Exceeded.

Entry Level was introduced on a temporary basis and was only available for social care providers. Entry Level demonstrates compliance with basic legal requirements and was a temporary stepping stone towards Standards Met. Entry Level came to an end on 4 March 2021.

A new Approaching Standards status has been introduced on 5 March 2021. Approaching Standards is not a direct replacement for Entry Level. It is a new status available to care providers who have demonstrated good progress but have not yet reached Standards Met.

Providers who are completing the DSPT at local level using the location’s V code and head offices completing with an A or C code can now see the Approaching Standards view.

DSPT submissions for 2020/21 need to be published by 30 June 2021.


  • If you have already published a self-assessment for 2020/21 at Entry Level, you should reassess your publication and achieve Approaching Standards as a minimum by 30 June 2021.
  • If you have already published a self-assessment for 2020/21 at Standards Met no further action is required for 2020/21.
  • If you have not previously registered for the DSPT and have not completed a submission, please do so by 30 June 2021.

Local and national support

The Better Security, Better Care support programme is available to help care providers to understand and reach Approaching Standards and above. This includes: new guidance from Digital Social Care; films; webinars; FAQs; a comprehensive local support programme with a strong focus on small and medium sized organisations; and a national support programme for larger care groups.

Find out more about the Better Security, Better Care programme – including how to contact your national or local support teams.

Oxford Brookes University are running webinars to explain what is changing in more detail:

If you have queries about Approaching Standards, you can contact the Digital Social Care Team at [email protected].

To keep up to date with information about digital and data security, including the DSPT, register for the free Digital Social Care e-newsletter.

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