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National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care - NIGB

The NIGB is independent and its role is to support improvements in information governance through providing advice and guidance and monitoring information governance practice. It protects the interest of individuals in how their data is used, shared and stored in the NHS and adult social care. It tackles the interpretation and application of policies, procedures and guidance at national level to ensure ethical practice is followed and legal requirements met.

The Board reports annually to the Secretary of State for Health and publishes the NHS Care Record Guarantee for England and the Social Care Record Guarantee for England.

Structure of the Board

The NIGB consists of a main Board which has a total of 21 members (public members and representative members), plus additional advisors and observers. The NIGB can appoint up to 11 public members, including the Chair. These are public appointments made by the Appointments Commission. Members are appointed for up to a period of 4 years and can be re-appointed for a further period at the discretion of the Chair. The representative members of NIGB are appointed by the Department of Health to represent relevant stakeholder organisations in the work of the Board. Additionally, the NIGB has a number of corresponding advisors and observers from other stakeholder organisations. For more information about the NIGB membership and stakeholder organisations visit the Members page of this website, the current structure diagram, or the list of expenses claimed by Members during 2011-12 (PDF, 20Kb) or during 2012-13 (PDF, 25Kb).

How does the NIGB fulfil its remit?

The NIGB fulfil its remit undertaking various functions. It provides advice and guidance to health and social care organisations promoting consistent and high standards of information governance across both sectors. The public members of the Board ensure that the perspective of patients and the wider public is taken into account when the Board discusses or provides advice or guidance on governance matters. The NIGB provides advice to care professionals, patients, service users and the public. For example, it is its responsibility to review the NHS Care Record Guarantee for England (PDF, 70Kb) and the Social Care Record Guarantee for England (PDF, 85Kb) which set out for patients, service users and carers how their information should be used so that their rights are protected and their care and wellbeing promoted. The NIGB also engages with various stakeholder organisations across the four UK nations building alliances to improve information governance.

NIGB's legal basis

The NIGB was established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 with a range of advisory functions on information governance. This included taking over responsibility for the functions under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006. In April 2010 the NIGB was also given a function to advise the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) about disclosure of identifiable patient information from the HFEA Register for research purposes. For more information visit the 'NIGB legal basis' page.

Territorial extent

The NIGB's advisory role covers England. Its functions under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 cover England and Wales. The functions under section 33 D of the HFEA Act 2008 are for all four UK nations.

The NIGB's terms of reference, strategic business plan 2011-2013 and other key documents can be found under Corporate Documents on the publications section of this website.