Adult Social Care Data and Cyber Security Programme 2018-20

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


Background

Funding was allocated in 2018/20 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 the current status of the sector in this area as well as to shape future support.
  • For 2019/20 the funding was 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.”

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.

In addition, 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.

Read the Data and Cyber Security Research for Technology Enabled Care.

2019/20

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

The first and second wave of funding closed with 24 social care data and cyber projects being funded until March 2020. A range of topic areas were funded including staff training and development, backup and contingency arrangements and safe and secure use of mobile phones in health and care. 

A series of guidance documents and reports have been published as part of the 2019/20 programme:
The adult social care data and cyber security programme report 2019/20 from the Institute for Public Care (IPC) summarises the main programme activity and findings. Care providers were supported with data and cyber security issues associated with the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT), NHSmail, smart phones, training and awareness, and adopting new technology (including consent and data protection impact assessments (DPIA)). Four case studies were also produced.

The Local Government Association has published data and cyber security guidance for commissioners of adult social care services from collaboration with councils and the Institute for Public Care (IPC). 

Data and cyber security guidance for technology enabled care (TEC) services has been published in collaboration with the TEC Services Association (TSA), alarm receiving centres.

Additionally, Digital Social Care resources data and cyber security resources for care providers have been published.