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Improving data and cyber security in adult social care

The Care Provider Alliance, Local Government Association and NHSX, commissioned us to support the adult social care provider sector to improve data and cyber security as part of a national programme

  • Situation and task

  • What was the impact?

  • Key success factors

  • Situation and task

  • Situation and task

    The adult social care sector is adopting technology to support care delivery. Whilst advances in technology bring benefits for the sector, and for the people the sector supports, they also present risks in how information is managed and kept secure. The sector is large, diverse and has relatively low levels of digital adoption and support. Understanding of data and cyber security risks and resilience in the sector was low.

    We were commissioned, initially, to explore how technology was being used and to identify data and cyber security risks faced by the sector. We carried out on-site research with a representative sample of care providers of all types, sizes and levels of use of technology operating in three local authority areas in England.

    We identified the common, key risks that provider services face and published case studies that illustrate some of the good practice in data and cyber security that we found.

    In a follow on project, we worked with partners to raise awareness across councils and adult social care providers of the importance of data and cyber security – and of what they can do to adopt appropriate safeguards. The 2019-20 report summarises learning from the programme, gives practical advice, and makes recommendations for government, NHS and local authority commissioners and care providers.

  • What was the impact?

  • What was the impact?

    The initial 2018-19 discovery programme raised awareness of the importance of data and cyber security for adult social care providers and identified the most common data and cyber security risks in the sector.

    The findings were published and helped secure further funding to support the sector, including by the Institute producing a wealth of data and cyber security guidance, training materials and other support products for providers - that are freely available at Digital Social Care.

    A social care specific version of the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) has been developed, which will support faster roll out of digital innovations that promote integration of health and social care.

  • Key success factors

  • Key success factors

    The design of the programme was co-produced with the sector to minimise the burden and to make sure that care providers benefitted from participation: providers volunteering to take part in the discovery programme received a day's free data and cyber security consultancy from us.

    Practical, flexible support was offered to providers that met the needs of the, often, small businesses without internal IT or information governance support that make up much of the care sector.

    Our report and case studies set out our findings in non-technical language so as to be accessible by the sector, and we responded to requests by the Programme Board, following submission of our early learning report, to develop organisational personas and a risk assessment mechanism which informed the final report and the redevelopment of the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

Fiona Richardson, Director
Fiona Richardson, Director

Contact Fiona Richardson to discuss this case study

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