Social Care Data and Cyber Security Discovery Programme

The Local Government Association, Care Provider Alliance and Department of Health and Social Care are working collaboratively to assist adult social care providers and commissioners to manage business risks associated with data and cyber security.


For 2018 - 2020 funding has been allocated from the National Cyber Security Programme (which works to improve cyber resilience across UK public services) to support the adult social care sector.

Increasingly, the sector is adopting technology to support care delivery and this is improving digital connectivity both within social care providers as well as information sharing with other organisations such as local authorities, NHS and other partners.

Legislative changes, such as the introduction of GDPR, and new data security and protection requirements affect how organisations, including care providers, manage people’s data and information.

In 2018/19 the funding was used to commission two pieces of discovery work to help us understand where the sector is at in this area as well as to shape future support.

For 2019/20 the funding is being used to support local and collaborative work in this area between adult social care providers and commissioners. 

Elected Mayor Kate Allsop, Digital Lead on the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board in 2018/19, said:

“Both councils and adult social care providers take seriously their role in keeping sensitive information safe and secure. With increasing digitisation across adult social care there is a constant need to review and strengthen data and cyber security arrangements to ensure that the right protections are in place.

“This is also important given the important sharing of information that takes place between different health and social care organisations such as GPs, councils, care homes and home care organisations. This helps to ensure that the care and support they deliver is coordinated and person-focused.

“This programme will assist individual councils and care providers, help share good practice and identify areas where there may be further opportunities to ensure the safeguarding of personal data is as strong as possible.”

Find out more

1. Discovery with adult social care providers in 2018/19

Working with and across three local authority areas, the Institute of Public Care – Oxford Brookes University was commissioned to undertake on-site work with 70 care providers to understand levels of data and cyber security.

North Yorkshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and the Royal Borough of Greenwich were selected to take part and on-site practical support was delivered to a range of care providers operating in those areas.

The findings and recommendations from this work – which include recommendations for national bodies, local commissioners and individual care providers – are available to view here.

You can also read about five case studies IPC have published highlighting good data and cyber security practice across the provider sector here.

2. Discovery with telecare providers in 2018/19

The Telecare Services Association was commissioned to help build an understanding of the data and cyber security risks associated with the delivery of technology-enabled care.

TSA undertook on-site work with 20 alarm response centres across the country to understand levels of data and cyber security – these are the teams that receive alerts and co-ordinate a response, for example, somebody has a fall.

Given that the majority of TEC connections are over traditional analogue telephone lines, the discovery sought to understand data and cyber security risk in the context of the analogue-digital switchover which is expected to be completed by 2025.

An Executive Summary setting out the findings and recommendations from the work has been published and is available here.

3. Social Care Data and Cyber Security – 2019/20 Programme

Funding now available to support local data and cyber security arrangements

In 2019/20 local areas have the opportunity to bid for grant funding to support collaborative work and improvements around data and cyber security. The funding is available for care providers and/or councils to build upon the 2018/19 discovery programme. Collaborative bids are encouraged.

Up to 15 grants of between £25,000 - £50,000 are available with successful projects running between 19 August 2019 – 21 March 2020.

The application process for the first wave of funding has now closed. The second and final wave of funding will open for applications in mid-September.

For more information please contact socialcaredigital@local.gov.uk.

4. Regional events – Using Technology for Quality Care

In parallel with the above, we are holding a series of free, half day workshops for commissioners, care providers and technology suppliers to support the sector with the use of technology in care. This is primarily focused on supporting the use of technology amongst adult social care providers (e.g. residential care, home care) but of importance to councils in their commissioning role.

The purpose of the workshop is to learn from local areas where councils, providers and suppliers are working together in this area, hear about new digital developments and from others who commission, deliver or work in social care.

Find out more and register below (additional sessions are being planned for London and the south in early 2020):