A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient and service-user information and enabling appropriate information-sharing.
Each NHS organisation is required to have a Caldicott Guardian; this was mandated for the NHS by Health Service Circular: HSC 1999/012. The mandate covers all organisations that have access to patient records, so it includes acute trusts, ambulance trusts, mental health trusts, primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, and special health authorities such as NHS Direct.
Caldicott Guardians were subsequently introduced into social care in 2002, mandated by Local Authority Circular: LAC 2002/2.
The Guardian plays a key role in ensuring that NHS, Councils with Social Services Responsibilities and partner organisations satisfy the highest practical standards for handling patient identifiable information.
Acting as the 'conscience' of an organisation, the Guardian actively supports work to enable information sharing where it is appropriate to share, and advises on options for lawful and ethical processing of information.
The Caldicott Guardian also has a strategic role, which involves representing and championing Information Governance requirements and issues at Board or management team level and, where appropriate, at a range of levels within the organisation's overall governance framework.
This role is particularly important in relation to the implementation of the National Programme for IT and the development of Electronic Social Care Records and Common Assessment Frameworks.
If you need information about a Caldicott Guardian at a particular organisation, please contact the relevant NHS organisation or Local Authority.
UK Council of Caldicott Guardians
The Council is an elected body made up of Caldicott Guardians from health and social care. It was formed following work carried out by Janine Brooks, Caldicott Guardian of the former NHS Information Authority. The Council meets four times per year and the next scheduled meetings are:
- Wednesday 13 July 2011 - London
- Thursday 13 October 2011 - Leeds
- Thursday 12 January 2012 - London