Social care and health leaders share their views on the value of the Data Security and Protection Toolkit and the Better Security, Better Care Programme.
And care providers who have used the Better Security, Better Care programme and the DSPT share their experiences.
David James, Head of Adult Social Care Policy at the Care Quality Commission discusses current and future plans for regulation and data protection and technology. “Our inspectors do encourage care providers to use the officially recognised Data Security and Protection Toolkit to assess their own data and cyber security arrangements – and provide evidence that they are complying with legal and regulatory requirements.”
Jane Townson, CEO of the Homecare Association discusses the impact of a cyber attack and free support offer from Better Security Better Care to help care services complete the DSPT. “Cyber attacks may put you out of business if you don’t take them seriously. It’s a very real and present danger and everyone needs to be very alert and be prepared…Better Security, Better Care has a range of resources of good quality including 28 Local Support Partners across the country who will help you to complete the DSPT to do the best you can to ensure you are operating a safe environment.”
Initially unsure about using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit, home care provider Love In Care now sees data security as a core element of their work. As a provider under an NHS Continuing Healthcare, they needed to meet this basic level to be compliant with their contract. And having NHSmail is enabling them to liaise directly and securely with their NHS colleagues. They are ensuring that data security is a key element of their recruitment, induction and ongoing employee support and management requirements. Based on the Data Security and Protection Toolkit, they developed their own presentation materials based on real life scenarios that their own staff face.
Naheem Shan, MMCG’s Data Protection Officer and Head of Information Governance explains how tech and data protection is ingrained in the group’s work. “The updated Data Security and Protection Toolkit is really clear and much more relevant to the care sector,” says Naheem. “And the huge benefit is that, as a large care group with almost 30 legal entities and still growing, I can submit one DSPT entry for all our businesses. We use the same policies and procedures across the group – so one DSPT submission works for all. That saves our care home managers – and me – a lot of time.”
Mike Armstrong, Managing Director explains: “The revamped Data Security and Protection Toolkit is so much better. It feeds you information in bite-sized pieces and it’s supported by really clear guidance – all in a language that makes sense to social care providers.”
Graeme Stark, Service Development Lead, at Resolve Care says “Get on board with the DSPT. But don’t treat it as a tick-box exercise. Make it meaningful and consider not just your technical solutions, but the human input as well. And don’t be put off by the number of questions on the toolkit. It’s a comprehensive self-assessment – so you would expect it to be detailed. But you can work through it over time, save your responses and go back to it. The freely available guidance on Digital Social Care is really clear, and of course there is direct support available from the Better Security, Better Care local support partners.”
A care home explains the devastating impact of a cyber breach on their service. In 2019, the company experienced a cyber breach which caused significant disruption across the whole organisation’s operations and service delivery. Employee rosters were deleted affecting care arrangements across several service locations. Passwords to senior managers’ emails and service users’ digital records were changed and the company’s website was removed.
Stacey Hemmings, Clinical Development Nurse, at Future Care Group says: “Achieving Standards Met on the DSPT meant we were able to access shared systems like GP Connect. The DSPT does take a while to complete but after you’ve done it once the resubmissions are so much easier. It opened up so many avenues for us and our software supplier were really supportive when we went through the process of completing it.”
John Rennison, CEO at 1st Homecare says: “Going digital means implementing the equivalent controls you would for paper records – and the DSPT is applicable to both. It makes sense for all care services, irrespective of structure and size, to complete it. There are real risks out there however you store your information, and the DSPT will help you to reduce that risk.”
Speaking on how the DSPT helped her care business to recover from a cyber attack, Sadia Mohammed said: “The DSPT is the difference between you putting the right steps in place or not. We now have strict policies that help to protect us against something like this from happening again, and a business continuity plan that includes cyber security. I’m not an IT expert, I’ve never been interested in it, but I’m so glad we completed the DSPT. Everything is moving digital, and it helps you to prepare for that safely.”
Nisha Patel, Registered Manager at Divine Care, says: “I’m so glad we accessed the free support to complete the toolkit. It was invaluable and has helped us prepare for the future. We know what we need to have in place to protect our business thanks to the DSPT.”
Robert Connor, CEO of Holywell Care, says: “Here at Holywell Care we now have access to a dedicated team of people from our Better Security, Better Care Local Support Organisation who are happy to guide us and from whom we really have benefitted a lot.”