Adult social care providers across England are invited to access local as well as national support to improve their data protection and cyber security.
As part of the Better Security, Better Care programme, 29 local support partners across the country are now helping care providers to ensure they are storing and sharing paper and digital records safely. Most of the support partners are local care associations, though in some areas, support is led by local councils or the NHS.
The main focus of the programme is to help care providers to understand the importance of data and cyber security, and complete an annual, online self-assessment using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).
The Toolkit shows care providers what they need to do to keep people’s information safe, and to protect their business from the risk of a data breach or a cyber attack.
Data and cyber programme leads, social care commissioners, inspectors, data system suppliers and policymakers are also invited to a webinar on 12 May 2021, 3-4.30pm, on how the Better Security, Better Care programme and the DSPT support them.
And, in a new series of short films, social care leaders and practitioners explain why data and cyber security matters, and how the Better Security, Better Care programme improve skills and care.
Speaking about the initiative, Ian Turner, Chair of the Registered Nursing Homes Association and member of the Better Security, Better Care Programme Board said:
“Keeping data safe – and providing evidence that you are doing this – is no longer an optional extra for care providers. It’s part of our role as responsible organisations. And of course sharing information digitally with colleagues across health and care during the covid-19 pandemic has been essential to providing good care. Whether that is sharing care records within our own organisations – or connecting with GP, pharmacy or hospital records – we have to do that legally, safely and securely.
“The easiest way for care providers to check that they have good data security arrangements in place is to complete the Data Security and Protection Toolkit every year. It’s comprehensive, and officially recognised by regulators and commissioners. And you don’t have to do it alone. The extended Better Security, Better Care programme is providing free support to all care providers across England to understand data and cyber security issues, and to complete the toolkit.”
When providers complete the toolkit, they can publish and share information about the standard they have reached, and how they are improving their policies, procedures and practice. This information can be shared with the Care Quality Commission, health and care commissioners, the Information Commissioner, service users and carers to demonstrate the steps they are taking to meet legal and regulatory requirements, and to keep information safe.
By using the toolkit on an annual basis and reaching Standards Met care providers will also be able to access NHS patient information systems, for example, GP records and shared care records.
Alex Harris, Social Care Cyber Security Assurance Policy Lead at NHSX says:
“We recognise that care providers are under exceptional levels of pressure. Checking your data protection arrangements shouldn’t be an extra burden. Which is why we have set up this extensive Better Security, Better Care support programme. Most of the partners are local care associations – so they understand the needs of local providers and over the coming weeks they will be rolling a series of webinars, workshops and direct support to services in their area.
“The Data Security and Protection Toolkit also supports a range of data and cyber security initiatives in the health and care sector such as Joining Up Care. And it provides important information to regulators and commissioners about a care providers data protection arrangements.”
Care providers who are using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit are already seeing the benefits.
Anand Patel, Registered Manager at Belvedere Park Nursing Home, who is being supported by the West Midlands Care Association – one of the programme’s local support partners – says:
“I would not be able to communicate effectively with NHS organisations without completing the Data Security and Protection Toolkit – it really opens doors. It’s comprehensive and well organised, so we didn’t have to scramble around to find out what standard or piece of legislation we needed to consider. It was all in one place.
“The Toolkit also helped us to identify gaps in our arrangements – such as training for care staff on data security. While working through the toolkit was a stretch, we got great support from our local support partner, West Midlands Care Association. And now that we have done it once, it’s easy to review and republish every year, which is so important as things change so quickly in the data and digital world.”
The Better Security, Better Care programme includes helplines, guides, films, template policies and procedures, as well as tailored support for large national care groups, and to local small and medium sized care providers. The national programme is provided through Digital Social Care and is available to CQC registered and non-registered care providers. The local programme is focused on CQC-registered services through a network of 29 local support partners.
Find out more at: www.digitalsocialcare.co.uk/bettersecuritybettercare
Book for the free national webinar: Better Security, Better Care: Collaborating on data and cyber security in social care – 12 May 2021, 3-4.30pm
View the films featuring care providers, local support partners, Digital Social Care, NHSX, Local Government Association and others: Better Security, Better Care films
Book to attend a webinar on How to register for the DSPT – 12 and 26 May 2021
Engage with us on twitter @DigiSocialCare #BetterSecurityBetterCare #DSPT