The Government’s open data agenda allows the public to find out more than ever about the performance
of public bodies. Furthermore, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives the public the right to
receive information about public bodies and their activities. However, this openness brings with
it a risk that we will be able to piece together a picture of individuals’ private lives too.
Human Rights and Data Protection legislation, along with our domestic common law duty to respect
confidentiality, require us to protect information that could identify an individual. A tension
exists between openness and privacy of individuals. With ever increasing amounts of personal
information in the public domain, re-enforced by the Government’s transparency agenda it is important
that organisations understand where to draw the line between identifiable data, which must be
protected, and anonymised data, which can be published. HA new Anonymisation Standard provides health
and social organisations with a structured and methodical approach to assessing the risks, and in
turning identifiable information into publishable anonymised information.
The Information Governance Delivery Team have lead on the development of this new information
standard ‘ISB 1523 Anonymisation Standard for Publishing Health and Social Care Data – Amd
20/2010 Initial Standard’ on behalf of the Department of Health (DH) IG Policy Sponsor. It has
been developed in partnership with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and a
variety of key stakeholders, since May 2011. The development process involved a number of
stakeholder workshops, email consultations, reviews by interested representatives from a variety
of bodies (such as the NIGB, ICO, BMA etc) and has undergone testing. This process was reviewed
by the ISB as part of their decision to approve the standard.
Click here to link to the ISB website where the information standard notice, specification and
guidance documents can be found.