News Article

‘Anonymisation Standard for publishing health and social care data’ - Approved by the Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care  (27/02/2013)

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.

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