Providing bespoke DSPT support to care services across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes

Providing bespoke DSPT support to care services across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes

Building on strong relationships already in place, NHS and local authority partners across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have identified and implemented a range of new technologies that improve care and enable people to stay independent for as long as possible. Central Bedfordshire Council has been supporting local care providers to embrace many of these digitisation programmes.

Working with the local ICS

Through the national and local programme – Better Security, Better Care – all care services are being encouraged to review how they store and share information to improve data protection and cyber security within the sector.

Working in partnership with Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (ICS), free, expert advice on data protection arrangements is offered to care homes, home care agencies, supported living and other care services across the local area.

Where completion of the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) and setup of NHSmail is a requirement of the Digital Social Care Records funding, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Care Group  have worked collaboratively across the ICS and with the local authorities to engage with providers and ensure they feel supported when it comes to digitising social care.

Clare Steward, Digitising Social Care Programme Director, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS said:While advances in technology bring exciting benefits for the sector, and for the people the sector supports, they can also present risks in how information is managed and kept secure. We therefore strongly encourage providers to complete their DSPT in order to access other initiatives like the NHSmail system for secure email, and Proxy Access for ordering medicines.”

Building relationships with providers

Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Care Group began working with Oxford Brookes University in 2019 when their support for the DSPT initially started. They hosted numerous DSPT workshops around Bedfordshire to raise awareness of the importance of the DSPT and help providers complete their DSPT. This was the start of their relationship-building with providers in the local area, and they were able to engage with care homes and domiciliary care providers across Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire.

Central Bedfordshire Council built on previous work to promote the toolkit locally and encourage signup to NHSmail. They co-ordinated provider engagement with Bedfordshire Care Group to deliver half-day Entry Level and Standards Met workshops. This success resulted led to further funding to roll out wider support across BLMK – to reach more providers across the ICS.

Regular updates on DSPT uptake are shared with NHS and local authority partners at regular programme meetings and in annual programme reports.

Providing a range of support

Bedfordshire Care Group hosts a local website which shares information about the support and resources available: Data Security Protection Toolkit (DSPT) – Bedfordshire Care Group (

Patricia Coker, Senior Responsible Officer for the Digitising Social Care programme, said: “It’s crucial for care providers to have access to the right tools and support, but we recognise that one size doesn’t fit all. So we offer a range of options including one-to-one support, a helpdesk, facilitation of workshops and webinars.”

Case studies and videos demonstrate how digital records are helping care providers to improve the experience of care for residents and free-up time for staff to provide more personalised care.

Measuring success

With the support, 347 (67%) care providers across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have met a compliance level with their DSPT (Figure correct as of May 2024, and covers both residential and community-based providers).

Anda Marin, General Manager at Burlington Hall Care Home, said: “Now we have the DSPT, we have been able to demonstrate to the Care Quality Commission that we have taken steps to securely store and protect service user data. This has helped us to strengthen our IT system and begin our digitalisation journey.”

Further information

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