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The Data Security and Protection Toolkit is official and well-recognised.

Central and local government bodies, local authority and CCG commissioners, the Care Quality Commission and the National Data Guardian recognise it as the official tool to evaluate your compliance with legal requirements, Data Security Standards and good practice.

It has been developed by the NHS and updated in consultation with care providers to ensure it is social-care friendly.

By using the toolkit on an annual basis and reaching Standards Met you will be able to:

  • reassure people who use services, their families and your staff that you are managing their information safely. Most people expect you to share information with others who support them – but you must do this securely and legally
  • answer the Care Quality Commission’s Key Line of Enquiry questions about how you manage data securely (see KLOE W.2.8)
  • demonstrate that you meet legal requirements including Data Protection Legislation and the Data Security Standards
  • access key services such as NHSmail and shared care records.

Not all care providers will be able to reach Standards Met immediately. So there is a stepping-stone level called Approaching Standards. If you reach this standard, the toolkit will prompt you to produce an Improvement Plan to demonstrate how you are working towards Standards Met.

But remember, you’ll need to reach Standards Met before your service can be part of any of the projects and initiatives that allow care services to directly access NHS patient information systems, for example, GP records and shared care records.