Health & Social Care Information Sharing - A Strategic Framework 2014-2020

Information sharing, to meet the needs of people, practitioners and organisations, is

essential to support Scotland’s commitment to integrated, person-centred care,

across adult and children’s services. The focus of this Information Sharing Strategic Framework is on sharing information in support of people’s

interactions with care services.

Section 2 - What is required for information sharing?


For a sustainable strategic direction to be set for this complex area of work, it is vital to establish clearly articulated partnership arrangements between delivery partners and co-ordinating bodies, at a local, regional and national level. This will ensure that local innovation is allowed to flourish, by using light-touch, proportionate, national co-ordination to support faster progress or more efficient delivery via economies of scale and sharing of good practice.

As local partnerships re-examine their governance arrangements, in light of new legislative developments, high-level governance groups, such as the Community Planning Partnerships and the emerging Health & Social Care Partnerships, must continue to value information as a vital asset. Each partnership will have to develop a shared understanding of what integration means for them, building upon existing structures, such as Data Sharing Partnerships, to drive operational information sharing activity. The Information Sharing Board (ISB)[1] will provide a national forum for collaborative activity and consider how to support the requirements for national information sharing as they arise from the local partnerships.

Although the formal partnership arrangements are likely to involve a limited number of organisations, focused on health and social care, the actual information sharing that will be required to support practitioners will involve a wide range of organisations and sectors. These will vary according to the different remits and activities of each area but are likely to include:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Third sector
  • Independent sector
  • Police
  • Fire & Rescue
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Scottish Children's Reporters Administration
  • Commercial providers (such as IT system providers)
Summary of principles from this section:
  • Partnerships to drive local progress and innovation, coming together at regional level, with national groups providing co-ordination and services to promote efficiency and sharing of good practice
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Local partnerships need to consider information sharing as a key strand of their integrated governance arrangements
  • Local partnerships need to work together in regional groupings where appropriate
  • Local partnerships need to build in links with national collaboration groups, such as the ISB
  • Local partnerships will need to maintain close relationships with all of the other organisations with whom they will need to share information in order to deliver health and social care.


Everyone is being encouraged to take a more active role in their own care and support, and at the same time services are being re-engineered to ensure that all aspects of health and care services are truly person-centred. This can be seen in practice approaches such as Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC), which places the child at the centre and through the Self-Directed Support developments, which allow people to choose how support is provided to them. The elements that form a person-centred approach to proportionate information sharing are outlined in this section.

Information on integrated care services

People need quality, up to date and accurate information about the types of services available, so they can make informed choices, based on reliable sources. This is important for building public confidence and empowering people to be active participants in the successful delivery of health and care services. NHS Inform and Care Information Scotland are the main official sources of publicly assured information, with both provided as part of the NHS24 information services. Information in support of practitioners is provided through a range of jointly developed and accessible services such as the Knowledge Network, the Knowledge Hub, and the Joint Improvement Team website. As local and regional partnerships develop, they will need to consider how they use these resources to support their own web presence.

In terms of people directly interacting with care services, there is a need to promote and build the capacity of reliable and well-maintained sources of information and services that exist within communities. The development of services such as ALISS (A Local Information Service for Scotland) will support this aim.

Involving people

The Scottish Health Council report "Future requirements and possibilities for public involvement in health and social care" sets out the current position across Scotland on how organisations directly engage with the public on integrated care issues. The report's accompanying "Think Piece" sets out some suggestions on how to develop this vital strand of engagement which should be considered by all partnerships as they develop their information sharing solutions.

The eHealth strategy 2011-17 sets out a commitment to "hold a public debate on how eHealth (electronic processes and communication) should enable people in Scotland greater participation in the healthcare and services they receive." While the commitment, as it stands, focusses on NHS services, this should be broadened out to include information sharing in support of person-centred integrated care and support.

There is also an opportunity to build upon recent work relating to public acceptability of data sharing between the public, private and third sectors for research purposes, recently published by the Scottish Government.

Co-produced records

With people being encouraged to take a more active role in their care and support, involving them in the production and continued updating of their personal information records is becoming increasingly important. This can be seen in the Talking Points, outcomes-focussed approach to assessment and care management for adults, and the GIRFEC approach to greater involvement of children and their supporting network in their care decisions. Another good example of records that are jointly created by people and practitioners is the Key Information Summary

(KIS) in the NHS in Scotland, which is designed to support patients with complex or long term conditions.

Partnerships should review existing processes to ensure greater involvement of people in creating and contributing to the information that underpins their care and support. This is particularly relevant in terms of the recent Scottish Government commitment that citizens will have personalised electronic health records by 2020.

Equalities and rights

Information sharing must respect considerations of eliminating discrimination, reducing inequality, protecting human rights and building good relations by breaking down barriers that may be preventing people from accessing the care and services that they need.

Equalities and rights aspects were explored in workshops as part of the Equalities Impact Assessment for the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. The focus was on striking the balance between putting safeguards in place and promoting appropriate and timely information sharing, in line with people's expectations.

The Scottish Government has further work planned, linking with the Alliance's People-Powered Health and Wellbeing workstream and the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare. The Alliance is a member of the ISB and it will work with partnerships to develop a more consistent approach to equalities activity.

Summary of principles from this section:
  • In ensuring that people should be at the centre of their decisions, they need to be kept fully involved in the information sharing to support them. This should be done in a proportionate way that respects equality and privacy considerations.
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Partnerships to develop a public engagement element to their activities.
  • Scottish Government to work with partnerships to investigate current equalities, rights and how to involve people, with a view to developing a consistent approach
  • Partnerships will consider the role that co-produced records will play in integrated arrangements, particularly in terms of involving people more directly in the sharing of their information
  • Scottish Government to develop plans for a public debate on how people should be enabled to play a greater role in creating and sharing health and care information


Moving to a "can-do" culture

Information sharing in support of safe and effective frontline practice has, in the past, been constrained by professional boundaries and silos. These barriers are being broken down as strategic leaders realise that the only way to bring about seamless care is by exploring ways of working to present important information about a person in a single and commonly understood view (not necessarily a single source) designed around the needs of the person and the practitioner at that moment in time.

Different organisations have different views and rules to follow on confidentiality and information sharing, and there are differing expectations from the public about how their information will be managed. For example, within the NHS and local authority sector it is consistently reported that people expect information to be shared to support their care, unless they have indicated otherwise. There is a need to develop consistent approaches to information sharing across sectors. This will be based on the common legal, regulatory and guidance framework that supports the sharing of information, and which provides a consistent level of assurance.

This includes:

The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 has specific provisions around data sharing in its model records management plan, so links should be made to local work in compliance with this legislation. In addition, there is emerging work from the European Union on a new Data Protection Regulation, which will also need to be considered.

ICO statement on information sharing

The advice from the ICO, provided to the Getting it Right for Every Child programme board, reinforces the "decisive shift to prevention" and the role for proportionate information shared at an early stage to support it. Organisational support for the exercise of professional judgement is key to effective information sharing. Ken Macdonald, Assistant Commissioner for Scotland and Northern Ireland at the ICO, is clear that this advice relates equally to information sharing relating to support and wellbeing decisions for adults, and has stated that:

"The proportionate sharing of information at an early stage, where practitioners have concerns that a person is at risk, applies just as much in the case of adults as it does for children. Where there is a need to share, the Data Protection Act, and the guidance that sits beneath it, provides the governance framework to support the appropriate and proportionate sharing of information in a safe and secure manner."
Ken Macdonald - Information Commissioner's Office

In addition, there is an intention to provide statutory guidance on information sharing as part of the suite of supporting documentation to the Children & Young People legislation.

Caldicott 2 report

Undertaken by an expert panel chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the "Caldicott 2" report, To share or not to share, sets out 26 recommendations. While some relate solely to the context in England, a number have wider applicability. These have been broadly welcomed by Scotland's Chief Medical Officer (CMO), in his formal response.

In addition the reinforces that the existing, well-embedded six Caldicott principles remain valid, the report offers a new seventh Caldicott principle which states:

"The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality
Health and social care professionals should have the confidence to share information in the best interests of their patients within the framework set out by these principles. They should be supported by the policies of their employers, regulators and professional bodies."

Recommendation 4, also says that registered and regulated social workers should be considered a part of the care team, and that relevant information should be shared with members of the care team, when they have a legitimate relationship with the patient or service user.

The report emphasises the positive impact that the Caldicott Guardians have played in promoting the culture of improved information handling. The Caldicott Guardians across the NHS in Scotland come together as a national forum, to discuss and progress issues of common concern. They have provided strong leadership, given their role at NHS Board level in representing information governance interests. The forum has invited a representative from the Association of Directors of Social Work to sit on the group, to aid the consideration of issues relating to integrated working, forge a partnership at this senior decision-maker level, and promote the Caldicott Principles across health and social care.

Local authorities face a similar set of information governance challenges, and while the role of the Chief Social Worker has responsibility around social work records and there has been adoption of the role of Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) in line the HMG Security Policy Framework, there is an opportunity to better understand how complex issues are handled. For integrated care, there is an opportunity to promote this principle of strong senior-level practitioner leadership on information handling across all sectors, to drive service improvement.

Information sharing agreements

To underpin effective and proportionate sharing, all information sharing processes need to be clearly understood and communicated within partnerships. Operationally focussed agreements that support the safe and secure handling of information across organisations are crucial. The cornerstone of these agreement documents is the clear articulation of the processes and circumstances under which information will be shared, and the points when action can and will be taken. This includes the detailed specification of what constitutes the required and proportionate amount and type of information to be shared, consideration of the information and privacy risks, and by whom that information will be shared. The cross-sector collaboration required to develop these agreements is as valuable as the securing of signatories to the finalised documents.

A good example of recent progress in this area is the work undertaken by delivery partners in Fife to develop a Scottish Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information (SASPI). In line with the recent recommendations from the Data Management Board (DMB) and the Information Sharing Board (ISB), SASPI is recommended for use across Scottish public services. The aim is to engender a more consistent approach, which will be particularly helpful when considering the sharing of information nationally. It also provides a good opportunity for more consistent interaction with third and independent sector partners. Forth Valley and Dumfries & Galloway have already adopted the model across their partnership areas.

Data ownership

With greater collaboration between agencies, supported by shared information, people and organisations will need to develop a more detailed understanding of the concepts of jointly held data.

The Data Protection Act 1998 recognises two models of shared authority:

1. "Joint data controllers" - data controllers act together for a common purpose, typically with written information sharing agreements setting out the purposes for processing, the manner of processing and the means by which joint data controller responsibilities will be satisfied.

2. "Data controllers in common" - data controllers share a pool of personal data, each processing independently of the other. As with joint arrangements, data controllers in common should ideally have written information sharing agreements and processes for ensuring that all data controller responsibilities are satisfied.

Our presumption is that for integrated care, authorities will be acting together for a common purpose, so "joint data controllers" will be the prevailing scenario. However, there is the potential for partners to use the jointly held data in different ways, particularly in terms of how they might analyse data for service commissioning, so the "data controllers in common" scenario may have equal validity and prevalence.

The impact of the potential European Union Data Protection Regulation needs to be considered, particularly in terms of the new responsibilities that data processors would be expected to play, in terms of data security.

Access to jointly held records

Rules of access to jointly held records are likely to become more complex. Currently, sector specific guidance exists on the handling of Subject Access Requests, but there is an opportunity and requirement to move to more generic approaches. The recently published ICO Code of Practice provides the basis for moving to this clear and consistent position, and will form the bedrock of approaches that are developed from now on. Work will be undertaken to align this with specific health sector guidance, covering the specific provisions relating to health records.

Business information, business intelligence and analysis of information for planning purposes

Business and corporate information exists which needs to be shared to support effective practice and a seamless care experience for people. Examples include service plans, details of equipment available to support people in their homes, and staff roster information. The integration of systems to support frontline care brings with it the ability to look across multiple data sources to make more informed decisions. Information can be collected and analysed to inform holistic and integrated service redesign and planning decisions and reporting on joint outcomes is a key element of both the adult and children's legislation. There are a number of developments in this area that partnerships will need to be aware of, including:

  • The National Information and Intelligence Framework (NIIF) will support organisations to appropriately prioritise the development of information and intelligence, and so partnerships should link with the developments and outputs from that work.
  • the Information Services Division's project exploring the Routine Collection of Information to Support Health & Social Care Strategic Planning and Commissioning. The development of the cross-sector data linkage service is tackling aspects of this data analysis work related to wider research considerations.

Organisations will need to ensure that their Fair Processing Notices make it clear to people utilising services that the information being collected will be shared for the purposes of delivering support and care, to inform joint planning and commissioning decisions, and support core research activity.

Simplifying the information governance landscape

There is work underway within the Scottish Government to look at streamlining a number of aspects of information governance activity. This includes the development of information governance arrangements to support the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN), and exploration of the new Government Security Classification Network to ensure that the most sensitive personal data is classified and handled appropriately, as well as the rationalisation of processes relating to Caldicott research applications. Links have been established to ensure that the potential impact of outputs from these pieces of work is understood at an early stage.

Summary of principles from this section:
  • The enabling legislative and regulatory framework to support information sharing exists, so partnerships should use the guidance and expertise available, particularly from the ICO, to develop information sharing policies and procedures that effectively support their practice needs
  • There is a need for greater consistency around information sharing agreements, with SASPI to be promoted as the preferred model
  • Local and regional partnerships and national co-ordinating bodies have an opportunity to use integrated information to support joint planning decisions to provide high quality care and inform policy
  • Corporate and business information need to support a seamless care experience for people should be shared between organisations
  • Outputs from work on simplifying the information governance landscape need to inform this framework, when available
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Develop plan for promoting the Caldicott Principles across health and social care, working with the Caldicott Forum and local authorities
  • SASPI to be promoted as the consistent approach to information sharing agreements across health and social care, with partnerships to consider the impact of moving towards this model
  • Partnerships will use the ICO guidance of data sharing, both the Code of Practice, and the statements in support of sharing for children's and adults' services, to form the core of their operational procedures for information sharing
  • Partnerships should use ICO guidance on handling access requests to form the basis of their approach to requests for jointly held records, taking cognisance of health sector specific guidance
  • Partnerships need to consider the data ownership implications of their new integrated governance arrangements, drawing upon advice from the ICO
  • Partnerships need to ensure appropriate links are being made to the work of the NIIF, to inform decisions around business intelligence work
  • Fair Processing Notices should cover the sharing of data for integrated care and analysis of information for joint planning decisions


Technical and information standards

Recording information in an efficient and accurate way is crucial to maintaining the integrity and quality of information that underpins integrated care and support. Taking a standards-based approach to this recording will ensure consistency across the organisations involved. Given the complexity of the current environment, this will be a challenging set of tasks, especially in terms of the timescales for changes to legacy systems that will need to be cascaded.

For children's services, the approach has been to include this standards-based approach in the new legislation for Children and Young People. This has developed clear, standards-based approaches to elements such as the child's plan and concern forms. Associated minimum standards and datasets still need to be developed, and this is being taken forward by the Information Sharing Group, which sits as part of the GIRFEC governance structure.

For adults' services, there is an opportunity to review what standards are needed to support developments in assessment and care management, building on previous work, but ensuring there is suitable flexibility for local implementation.

The ISB has convened an Interoperability Working Group (IWG), which has been tasked with co-ordinating this technical and information standards work, working closely with practitioners. It will ensure that developments align with the principles and recommendations of this Strategic Framework, on an on-going basis.

As well as standards to underpin the sharing of relevant information within partnership areas, the IWG will consider standards for the national sharing of information, particularly in support of cases where people are at risk. As a first tranche, it will consider national core standards for messaging, alerts, plans and assessments. It will build on established industry and sectoral standards, such as the document standards developed within the NHS in Scotland.

The IWG will co-ordinate and produce core standards for the information to be shared in support of:

  • Assessment and care management for adults
  • GIRFEC processes for children
  • Cross-partnership communication of information, to ensure national consistency
  • Sharing to other UK administrations.

Identity and matching

The ISB will lead the production of an information sharing architecture vision document. It will provide nationally agreed guidance, tools and policies to help guide partnerships and shape future information sharing services. Included within it will be nationally agreed guidance on identity and access management, including the process of identifying the most appropriate person with whom to securely share electronic information.

When sharing information about people, it is necessary to correctly identify them, and make sure that each system is talking about the same person for whom information is being shared. In the majority of systems people are allocated a number - an identifier.

In Scotland, the NHS uses the Community Health Index (CHI) number. The guidance on the use of CHI has been adapted so that is can be used in the wider health and care setting to "seed" or populate other databases as a secondary identifier.

The Digital Strategy advocates greater use of another identity number, the Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN), as the source of digital credentials across the public sector in Scotland. This can be linked to the CHI number via a service provided by the NHS Central Register. All systems being developed to share personal information in health and care should use either the CHI number or the UCRN.

Use of identifiers will comply with the Scottish Government's Identity Management and Privacy Principles

A service to provide this "matching" of identifiers in a clear and consistent way, to underpin sharing by partnerships, is a potential area for national co-ordination, but this would need to be done in such a way as to accommodate existing local solutions.

Process standards

Health and care services are focussed on meeting outcomes via local areas developing and running services to suit the needs of their patients and service users. There are some frameworks set out in the new legislation on Children & Young People and there are advocated approaches to assessment and care management for adults, such as Talking Points.

There is an opportunity for partnerships to review and revise their local processes, but it is clear that technology and information solutions to support these activities will need to be flexible, to ensure that local process variations can be accommodated.

Governance and maintenance of standards

While the ISB can task relevant groups with the development of standards and datasets, the long-term ownership and maintenance of these standards needs to determined. This needs to ensure that appropriate levels of expert scrutiny can be applied.

Summary of principles from this section:
  • All systems being developed to share personal information in health and care should use either the CHI number or the UCRN
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Proposals around local and national "matching" services, to correctly identify individuals, to be developed for the ISB to consider
  • ISB will co-ordinate the production of standard approaches and supporting datasets for adults' and children's services
  • The ISB will develop a clear position on ownership and governance of cross-sector standards


Information architecture

There is a well-understood need to bring together the relevant information about a person, so that the practitioner engaging with them can make informed decisions about how best to tailor their support and care. There is already a range of technological solutions in place in Scotland to support this type of information sharing.

A report, commissioned by the ISB, provides a useful summary of the position at the end 2012, and includes a detailed exploration of the technology landscape.

The common elements identified have been interpreted in a range of ways across Scotland, with four broad approaches in use at this time:

  1. an integrated local store (where agency systems are connected via a shared information repository)
  2. use of portal technology (where information from agency systems is pulled together into a commonly accessible view)
  3. a local messaging hub (where information is exchanged between agency systems via a local messaging hub)
  4. a single shared system (where an agency system is made available to some/all agencies within a partnership area)

In addition, collaborative tools, such as Huddle or Yammer, are being used to support effective communication between practitioners and the people with whom they are working.

Partnerships will consider these approaches and the continually evolving landscape of options when considering how best to support their electronic information sharing requirements, with information governance arrangements developed locally to underpin them.

The ISB's information sharing architecture vision document will cover requirements for national information sharing where they arise. This will align with the Local Government ICT Strategy, the Digital Health and Care Technology Opportunity Action Plan and the High-Level Operating Framework, agreed as part of the Scotland's Digital Future work.


The Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) will provide a set of common network infrastructure services for the use of public services in Scotland. This will provide all organisations, including the independent and third sectors, with a consistent platform on which to operate, thus removing barriers to secure network connectivity. There is an expectation that organisations will use SWAN as their secure network for information sharing.

There is a role to be played by the SWAN management board, through its forthcoming code of connection, as well as any Information Governance toolkit that is developed as a supporting element of that process, to provide a level of assurance, at network level, around the sharing of information.

Incremental development

An incremental approach to meeting locally-identified business and practice requirements has been shown to deliver positive results, so should be considered. A clear and consistent approach on how to capture and analyse new requirements is needed, with appropriate links to national groups, so that any common requirements can be responded to in a co-ordinated fashion.

Different approaches will be used to meet care practice requirements, with face-to-face meetings, telephone, and videoconference remaining crucial tools to support practice. Technology systems do not need to manage every step of the process.

Sector-specific context

There are also some specific technical considerations within each sector. The ones where the ISB has already focussed activities are set out below. These need to be considered by partnerships as part of their initial work programme for information sharing:

  • Education: there is now a single education system supplier to all 32 local authorities. Work has been initiated to develop a common interface, presenting an agreed dataset, which can then be consumed in a range of different ways. Work already undertaken in the Tayside partnership area can be used by other partnerships as the basis for the required interface, therefore reusing existing assets.
  • Social care: there is the potential to re-use pieces of interface technology, which have already been developed for some of the social care systems, both commercial and in-house, used across local authorities.
  • Health: health has a number of strategic systems and products that will enable integration of care services, across NHS Board areas, increasingly involving GPs in all relevant parts of the process. Effective consortium approaches, such as the Patient Management System procurement and implementation, are good examples for other sectors to consider.
    police services across Scotland have recently been consolidated into one national organisation, Police Scotland. During this time of change, the organisation is also implementing a system for the recording of their activity supporting vulnerable people, while developing requirements for their next generation information management programme, i6. The police have long-established good working relationships on public protection activities, both locally and nationally.

Conversations with Housing, Scottish Ambulance Service, Fire Services, Scottish Children's Reporters Administration have focussed on practice issues, to date.

Independent and third sectors: the diversity of the these sectors means that they face complex challenges. The online resource 'Discover the Third Sector' gives a useful insight into the vital role they have to play.

Two particular barriers have proved challenging: network connectivity and information management. The Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) developments could provide the sectors with one consistent set of network standards against which to be accredited, thus removing some of the complexities encountered previously. Information management, particularly for small providers, will continue to be a challenge, but with contracts increasingly placing more stringent conditions on providers to meet safe information handling standards, this is a matter that local partnerships will need to address. There is an opportunity for third and independent sector organisations to work more closely with statutory organisations to tap into the information governance expertise within these organisations.

Supplier engagement and procurement

Mechanisms are already in place for public services to engage with suppliers, these include user groups, and procurement frameworks. In addition, Scotland has a wealth of expertise in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). To ensure consistency, partnerships need to consider the standards that will be delivered from the actions outlined in section 2.4. There are opportunities for consortium approaches to be taken to the development of common interfaces, ensuring that products are built to open interface standards. Procurement activities that are required for the advancement of information sharing should take place at as aggregated a level as possible, to ensure the adoption of common solutions and the achievement of effective and efficient commercial arrangements.

Mobile and flexible working

Various strands of work have been undertaken to support increased uptake and development of mobile solutions, such as specific funding allocated to NHS Boards to drive forward progress. In addition, work is being progressed via the Enabling Reform workstream of the Local Government ICT strategy. Partnerships need to make links with these wider developments on mobile working to ensure that specific elements related to information sharing are factored into thinking, so that where new technological solutions are being developed, they are capable of enabling mobile and flexible working.

Summary of principles from this section:
  • Guided by the High-Level Operating Framework, common interfaces will be developed, to deliver the technology components for information sharing
  • Organisations will be expected to adopt SWAN for the network infrastructure services to support information sharing. Organisations that adopt a separate network approach will be required to match the standards set by SWAN and other standards, such as Public Sector Network (PSN)
  • Convergence around approaches to technology enablement, currently in use in Scotland, will be promoted
  • Partnerships should consider an incremental approach to developing their solutions
  • Whilst technology does not need to support every element of information sharing, it should be explored in order to understand if services can be improved or information strengthened by its application
  • Procurement activities that are required for the advancement of information sharing should take place at as aggregated a level as possible
  • Where new technological solutions are being developed, these should be capable of enabling mobile, collaborative and flexible working
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Organisations should put in place plans to connect to SWAN for the network infrastructure services and should provide details to the SWAN project team of issues which may need to be addressed as part of this process.
  • ISB to coordinate the production of an information sharing architecture vision based on local partnerships requirements
  • ISB to coordinate plans for the development of common interfaces
  • Partnerships to consider the current sector specific challenges when developing the work programme on information sharing
  • Partnerships to make links with plans on mobile working across their locality, so that prioritised plans for information sharing in support of mobile working can be developed, based on local needs


With so much work currently in development, it is extremely important to ensure examples of, and learning from, information sharing projects are effectively captured and disseminated, in a timely fashion. These will form an important part of how training on safe information handling and information sharing is shaped.

Maturity model

The ISB has developed a maturity model, included at Annex B, for information sharing projects, which reflects that partnerships are at different stages of development. It provides a framework for driving local progress towards successful delivery, so partnerships will use it as the basis for their workplan. It will be regularly updated to match needs with appropriate quality assurance criteria developed. The ISB will develop a repository of documentation and products that will be made available across all sectors, to underpin the maturity model, in order to promote and encourage the reuse of assets and stimulate collaboration across partnerships.


Training, across a range of health and social care practice issues, is central to delivering truly integrated care. Organisations and professional bodies will need to embed principles around safe information handling in the training curriculum for practitioners across all fields, so that this continues to be a central part of everyday responsibilities. The Caldicott 2 report, among other reports, places a strong emphasis on ensuring that the workforce across health and social care is fully trained in up-to-date information handling processes and procedures. This aligns well with the precepts of the 2020 Workforce Vision.

Links need to be made with the "Technology-Enabled Learning for Scotland's Health and Social Services" programme to embed safe information handling as a concept in early stages of practitioner training.

While it is recognised that a detailed and comprehensive programme of training will be needed, there are opportunities to build upon existing elements delivered to date, such as the Safe Information Handling eLearning resource developed by NES for use across the NHS. An evaluation of the training delivered to date should be undertaken, with a view to reusing all relevant components. In addition, there will be a task around developing workforce policies and procedures around the appropriate use of data across sectors, particularly in terms of the use of audit systems, to ensure a common understanding of responsibilities.

Consideration needs to be given to what the training needs are for those people that we're asking to play a more active role in the information interactions to support their health and wellbeing.


Significant investment of time and resources will be required to deliver effective information sharing as an operational reality within partnerships. Partnerships must ensure that funding requirements for both information sharing start-up activity and on-going costs are an integral part of partnership plans. However by using the principles outlined in this document, such as re-using assets and collaboration, there will be opportunities to maximise use of public funds to support the core function of information sharing.

The Scottish Government, via the ISB, has already released £1.058m in funding to support local innovation projects in 2011-13. In addition, £557.5k was released via GIRFEC to support partnerships in 2012-13. £1m has been made available to partnerships, by the ISB, in 2013-14, with a further £1.5m available in 2014-15. This is being used to fund a range of work that is specifically designed to support practitioner led health and social care information sharing. Funding was allocated to those projects which support, and do not contradict, the principles outlined in this strategic framework. National and local funding approaches beyond 2014-15 have yet to be determined.

While the major proportion of information sharing activity will be funded by local partners, to support the actions detailed in this framework it will be necessary to have a central funding source to commission work that is of national benefit. The Scottish Government should establish an overarching funding model for the support of information sharing beyond 2014-15.

Summary of principles from this section:
  • The workforce across health and social care needs to be fully trained in up-to-date information handling processes and procedures
  • The maturity model will be used across partnerships to provide a framework for driving local progress towards a set of improved outcomes.
Summary of actions from this section:
  • Scottish Government will make links with the Technology-Enabled Learning for Scotland's Health and Social Services programme to embed safe information handling as a concept in practitioner training, at an early stage
  • Evaluation of existing work around Safe Information Handling to assess its suitability for cross-sector use
  • Work with workforce colleagues at a local and national level to understand what impact improved information handling and sharing capabilities have on policies and procedures
  • Further develop the maturity model, based on consultation responses
  • ISB to develop a repository of documents and resources, to support collaboration across partnerships
  • Resource requirements for both information sharing start-up activity and on-going costs need to be factored into partnership plans
  • Scottish Government to establish an overarching funding model for the support of information sharing beyond 2014-15.


Email: Alan Milbourne

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