Health and Social Care Data Board: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Health and Social Care Data Board.


Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy recognises the need for a Data Strategy in order to drive forward the ambitious agenda it sets out. The Data Board is to be formed to provide leadership and oversight to the creation of the strategy and the subsequent delivery plan associated with the strategy. 


  • to provide collective (multi-agency) leadership, and strategic oversight, that can influence and direct the scope of Scotland’s Data Strategy for Health and Social Care to ensure it meets the needs and requirements of the Health and Care sector and the citizens of Scotland
  • to shape and create the necessary governance and delivery arrangements required to support the use of data in Health and Social Care and wider
  • to work with other data governance bodies, contributing to shared priorities across government, through a nominated representative

Remit and authority 

Digital strategy development responsibilities

Accountable for the development and delivery of the first ever Data Strategy for Health and Social Care, on behalf of the Scottish Government, COSLA and NHS Scotland. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • creation of a mission statement for the board
  • providing leadership and guidance to the Data Strategy Working Group
  • build relationships, and actively engage, with senior stakeholders in the development of Scotland Data Strategy for Health and Care
  • ensure alignment with other national strategies e.g. Digital Health and Care; Scotland's Digital Strategy and Scotland's AI Strategy
  • overseeing public and professional engagement and ongoing dialogue into the use of Health and Care data
  • making recommendations on the scope of the data strategy
  • setting milestones and deliverables associated with the development and publication of the strategy and any related activities such as agreeing metrics and reviewing progress
  • ownership of risks relating to development of the Data Strategy 
  • iteratively considering the role of the board in governing activity as the Data Strategy takes shape

Digital Strategy Delivery Responsibilities

Review national governance arrangements for data and information management, and how this relates to the Health and Care Data Strategy.

Ownership of risks relating to the delivery of actions associated with the Data Strategy. Escalation of risks to the Strategic Portfolio Board and Health and Social Care Management Board where necessary. 

Provide recommendations for restructuring and realigning governance arrangements to ensure the delivery of the Data Strategy, including;

  • aligning the board to other appropriate strategic oversight boards (such as The Strategic Portfolio Board, the Joint Digital Scotland Strategy Board, etc.)
  • reviewing the ToR for existing relevant governance arrangements and where possible, incorporating and aligning arrangements as sub-groups of the board where appropriate 

Where there are gaps in governance, establish new sub-groups, where required:

  • ensuring appropriate governance is in place to escalate and unblock health and care data issues
  • considering, and developing the ongoing governance required to provide strategic, tactical and operational oversight of data across health and social care – including data-driven developments and activities
  • to support the ethical, responsible and transparent use of data across health and social care in a way that is trusted by the public
  • ensuring that the appropriate arrangements are in place to manage standards and promote and assure their adoption. Overseeing the reform of information governance, assurance and security. Including consideration of the role of Caldicott Guardians, and the creation of national IG body of expertise

To advise on the use of AI and data-driven technologies in Health and Care.

To advise on regulatory matters in relation to Health and Care data.

Data Board membership 

All members are expected to:

  • complete reading in advance of meetings
  • inform the Chair if they will miss a meeting and send an informed and authorised deputy instead
  • participate fully in discussions

Members have been selected to ensure a core representation of senior decision makers in Health and Care data. Core members have full voting rights. 

Supplementary members will be included for specific discussions in order to keep the board an effect forum for decision making. Supplementary members are advisors and do not have voting rights.

Members of the board:

  • should be senior decision makers and not members of the working group
  • should be led by an independent chair and if this is not possible the DH and C will chair
  • should remain small but have points of contact across wider areas to ensure they can be brought in at specific decision points

Data Board attendance

The Board will have wider representation and input at its meeting from relevant stakeholders.

The Board is considered quorate with 6 attendees (which must include representation for Scottish Government, Local Government and the NHS as well as the Independent Chair).  

Reporting relationships 

The board will report to the Strategic Portfolio Board for Digital Health and Care. Additionally, the board will retain close links with the Enabling Technology Board, recognising the cross-over in topics of interest between the boards. 

Should any sub-governance be created, it will be detailed in this terms of reference.  

Operational arrangements 

The Chair of the Data Board will be independent. 

The Board shall be supported by the Digital Health and Care policy unit, who will oversee project/programme delivery, reporting processes and escalation.

Minutes and associated action points will be taken during the proceedings. Action points will be distributed not later than two weeks after each meeting, with full minutes distributed with the agenda for the following meeting.

Duration of the Board 

The Board and its operation will be reviewed on an annual basis.

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