If you want to find out more about any of our digital social care projects  email: nclccg.nclcarehomes@nhs.net

Digital Social Care


Digital Social Care helps you meet the Care Quality Commission and legal requirements as well as helping you keep residents and business information secure.

We believe that digital innovation gives us the opportunity to:

  • Improve the quality of care for those we support

  • Be transparent and accountable to those we support and their families and friends about how we use their information

  • Support individuals to remain independent for longer

  • Improve the quality and efficiency of information sharing between health and social care.

There are a range of digital social care projects across north central London including:

Book onto a DSPT Registration Workshop here - https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/B1YX85/

Register your interest in our DSPT Completion Workshops here - https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/DSPTCohorts/

Data Security and Protection Toolkit: DPST

The Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) [TC1] is a really helpful annual self-assessment for health and care organisations. It shows care providers what you need to do to keep people’s information safe, and to protect your business from the risk of a data breach or a cyber attack. It covers both paper and digital records.

When you complete the toolkit, you can publish and share information about the standard you have reached, and how you are improving your policies and practice.

Achieving Standards Met on DSPT means you could access projects and initiatives that allow care services to directly access NHS patient information systems, for example, GP records and shared care records.


Benefits of the DSPT

Central and local government bodies, local authority and CCG commissioners, the Care Quality Commission and the National Data Guardian recognise it as the official tool to evaluate your compliance with legal requirements, Data Security Standards and good practice.

It has been developed by the NHS and updated in consultation with care providers to ensure it is social-care friendly.

By using the toolkit on an annual basis and reaching Standards Met you will be able to:

  • reassure people who use services, their families and your staff that you are managing their information safely. Most people expect you to share information with others who support them – but you must do this securely and legally

  • answer the Care Quality Commission’s Key Line of Enquiry questions about how you manage data securely (see KLOE W.2.8)

  • demonstrate that you meet legal requirements including Data Protection Legislation and the Data Security Standards

  • access key services such as NHSmail and shared care records.

Not all care providers will be able to reach Standards Met immediately. So there is a stepping-stone level called Approaching Standards. If you reach this standard, the toolkit will prompt you to produce an Improvement Plan to demonstrate how you are working towards Standards Met.

But remember, you’ll need to reach Standards Met before your service can be part of any of the projects and initiatives that allow care services to directly access NHS patient information systems, for example, GP records and shared care records.


Who needs to complete the DSPT?


  • If you have services funded by the NHS, for example under continuing healthcare, there is a legal requirement to complete the DSPT every year.

  • All adult social care services in England, including residential and nursing homes, supported living, homecare, extra care, shared lives and day services, are strongly recommended to complete the DSPT. It’s increasingly what local authorities, CCGs and the Care Quality Commission will expect to see.

  • You don’t need to have completed or to register with the DSPT just to have video appointments with NHS services, but it is strongly recommended.

Support and guidance: Better Security, Better Care Programme

Better Security, Better Care, is a national and local support programme to help care providers to improve their data and cyber security by completing the DSPT.

It includes a range of useful resources to help you to use the toolkit, as well as practical support from a network of local support partners across England, national support for large care providers, and a dedicated helpline.

Access the following resources:

If you have questions on completing DSPT you can call the Digital Social Care helpline: 0208 133 3430 or email help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk. 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday


Local Support to complete DSPT

Book onto a DSPT Registration Workshop here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/B1YX85/

Register your interest in our DSPT Completion Workshops here:https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/DSPTCohorts/

We’re finalising our local offer of interactive webinars and workshops as well as a limited amount of 1:1 support. If you would like to be kept updated on this please email us at nclccg.nclcarehomes@nhs.net  




During the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirement to complete Approaching Standards on the Data Security and Protection Toolkit before accessing NHSmail has been temporarily waived.


There is a new, fast track registration process for applying for NHSmail accounts.



NHSmail is a free, secure email system which is available to all providers in England who have achieved Approaching Standards on the Data Security and Protection Toolkit.



The Benefit of NHSmail 2 21052021




Access to NHSmail


There are 3 main routes to NHSmail :-


1. Self-Management (Top Down)

  • Suitable for large organisations, i.e. those that have their own IT function, and have the expertise and technological proficiency to carry out the local administrator role

  • Organisations manage the accounts themselves – starters, leavers, password resets etc.

  • Organisations can integrate NHSmail with their own IT and HR procedures

  • The default account allowance is up to 10 user accounts and 1 shared mailbox per site

  • Register using the self-management application form. This is completed at HQ level, sites are later added as ‘organisation units’


2. National Administration Service (NAS) Portal (Decentralised)

  • The main route for small providers, administrative support is provided centrally

  • Register via the online self-service portal – usually completed by a care site.

  • Nationally administrated, no administrators are required within the social care organisation.

  • Dedicated admin support managed via Accenture helpdesk – careadmin@nhs.net

  • Generally, the shared mailbox owner for each site manages joiners and leavers. Other responsibilities are detailed in the guide

  • Bulk upload facility is available, however there could be a long lead time if large numbers of accounts are required

  • May be complicated if the organisation structure is not reflected correctly in the ODS code HQ/site hierarchy (as often seems to be the case)

  • The default account allowance is up to 10 named user accounts and 1 shared mailbox per site

  • Naming convention for shared mailbox – postcodetown.carehomenameODScode@nhs.net (this is being revisited to look at other simpler naming solutions).

  • CQC Registered Services only


3. Third Party route (For Non CQC Registered Services)

  • Separate Application Route – Third Party Process and application form

  • Must be providing or supporting publicly funded health and social care.

  • The NHSmail team will evaluate eligibility

  • Default is up to 50 accounts per organisation


NHSmail Waiver


Because of COVID-19, there is a waiver which allows care providers to access NHSmail without using the DSPT. This waiver is in place until 30 June 2021.

If you use NHSmail or you want to have access to it, the most effective way of ensuring that you have ongoing access is to reach at least Approaching Standards.

If you have questions on getting NHSMail you can call Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm the Digital Social Care helpline: 0208 133 3430 or email help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk