Effective sharing of information, across service silos (within and across organisations), lies at the heart of delivering efficient data centric public services.

Unfortunately, delivering effective data sharing arrangements requires the navigation of a number of challenges; cultural barriers, professional codes of ethics, complex legal arrangements, commercial interests of software providers, outsourcing arrangements to name a few.

Although business drivers for better sharing of information are well understood, the financial pressure to find solutions to barriers have never been greater.

In this context, it is critical that organisations and their partners establish a robust repeatable methodology to deliver data sharing frameworks.

What we offer

We work with local government agencies to move from general agreements to share data (Tier 1 level agreements) to detailed actionable agreements that can be embedded into the business processes (Tier 3 level agreements).

Our methodology is predicated on two key approaches:

  1. Firstly, helping our client’s link data sharing maturity directly to critical business outcomes. In general terms this involves establishing linkages between critical objectives like; ‘Early Intervention’ or ‘Strategic Commissioning’.
  2. Secondly, by supporting the controlled sharing of data through a technology platform that has been designed with Information Governance at its core.

In order to deliver operational Tier 3 agreements, we typically engage a broad range of business, legal, technical and data sharing professionals. This results in a set of very detailed protocols that clearly articulate; sharing purpose, legality of proposed sharing arrangements, what is shared, who can access shared data, what level of data is available, what preconditions must exist in order for data to be shared etc.

Our approach is aligned with and based on best practice guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Case Study

Xantura believe that robust Information Governance (IG) is at the heart of all the work that we do, especially when delivering solutions to working with vulnerable people. We have spent time ensuring that our work is not only legally compliant but that it is ethically acceptable and that IG is built into every key decision made when clients implement our systems. We have experienced project managers who work with clients throughout implementation to ensure that information Governance is an integral part of core business operations when Xantura is involved .

We have recently completed the implementation phase of the Children’s Safeguarding and Early Help model pilot for 4 Local Authorities. From the outset, Corporate Information Governance Managers and Lead Officers were engaged in the project. Too often, Information Security is seen as a technical issue and is not put in the context of business risk. Our collaborative partnership style ensures that all the key stakeholders of a project are involved in planning and that they understand the consequences of sharing and of not sharing data. We believe that this increases confidence and streamlines the implementation.

Xantura have developed a comprehensive IG framework that includes Data sharing agreements, Specification documents and Data Sharing Protocols. Following sign off by the IG teams and legal teams within the Council, we met with each of the data owners and discussed the project, the benefits to the council and the impact on families. We then met with each partner organisation to help them understand the request for data being made of them, how it would be used and why. With data sharing protocols, organisations need to understand them as ‘living’ documents that shape work on an ongoing basis and not as tick box exercises that must be completed but then forgotten. At Xantura, we embed IG within our technical solutions.

Throughout this work, we had regular communication with the ICO about our methodology and processes. It was clear that we were legally able to do what we were doing and that our implementation of ICO guidelines had been robust.

Alongside this work with partners, we ensured that there was frequent revisiting of the ethical discussions that any use of data should consider. As part of the project, we built in Ethical Gateway points for targeted discussion and review of the work and consequences of the decisions that had been made.

The final aspect of IG that we wanted to explore was with Service Users. As part of implementation in one Borough, the system was discussed with 40 families. Families were asked if they were fully aware of what happens to their data and how it is used. We have assisted all our clients with Fair Processing Notices and helped them to incorporate feedback from the session into their citizen communications.

Data sharing is an ongoing theme in our work and will continue to develop as our systems do to ensure that IG is widely embraced within all our client sites as a priority. At present we are gathering data from many partners including Children’s Services, Criminal Justice Partners and Health. Our keys to success include:

Collaboration with key corporate IG and Legal stakeholders from the start of the project

Experienced Project Managers on site to explain the project and work with partners to understand the unique way in which we pseudonymise records.

Clear documentation that has been approved by LA IG and Legal teams.

Ongoing consultation with the IGO to maintain the highest standards.

Regular Ethical Gateways as review points.

Systematic IG built into the technology platform.

Service User engagement feedback.