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Caldicott Principles: a consultation about revising, expanding and upholding the principles

BASW England asks members for feedback on proposed changes to good practice principles which are applied to the use of confidential information

What are Caldicott Principles/Caldicott Guardians?

The Caldicott Committee’s Report on the Review of Patient-Identifiable Information published in 1997 recommended six good practice principles to be applied to the use of confidential information within the NHS.

It also recommended that a senior person, preferably a health professional, should be nominated in each health organisation to act as a guardian, responsible for safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information. 

The principles became known as the Caldicott Principles. And the senior individuals responsible for ensuring that the principles were upheld within their own organisations became known as Caldicott Guardians. 

Every NHS organisation has had to have a Caldicott Guardian since 1998, and each local authority with adult social care responsibilities has been required to do so since 2002. The principles and the Caldicott Guardian role are also used by other organisations within the health and social care sector, such as care homes and hospices, and by some organisations in other sectors such as prisons, police and armed forces.

BASW is responding to a consultation from the National Data Guardian. Why are they consulting?

The National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care (NDG) is now seeking views on:

• Proposed revisions to the seven existing Caldicott Principles;

• Proposed extension of the Caldicott Principles through the introduction of an additional principle which makes clear that patients’ and service users’ expectations must be considered and informed when confidential information is used;

• The proposal that the NDG uses her statutory power to issue guidance about organisations appointing Caldicott Guardians to uphold the Caldicott Principles

What do they hope to achieve?

By conducting the consultation now, the NDG hopes to develop a new set of Caldicott Principles and guidance in time to inform decisions and discussions about data sharing after the pandemic is resolved.

Share your views

Please take time to fill in our survey to help us build a BASW response to this consultation