The purpose of the Caldicott Guardian originated from the 1997 Report produced by the Caldicott Committee and chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott which dealt with the use of Patient Identifiable Information held by NHS organisations.
The idea of a Guardian was to have in each NHS organisation a senior person responsible for the oversight of the arrangements in that organisation for the use and sharing of clinical information. Subsequent work extended the requirement in 2002 to appoint Guardians into Councils with Social Services responsibilities.
In 2005, an elected body was created made up of Caldicott Guardians from organisations involved in the provision of health and social care services in the United Kingdom. It was set up to facilitate the sharing of good confidentiality practice and the promotion of a national approach to confidentiality and appropriate information sharing.
Six principles relating to data handling and use were established on which the role was to be based. These key principles enable the safe and secure handling of client's personal data:
- Principle 1 - Justify the purpose(s) for using confidential information
- Principle 2 - Do not use or transfer personally identifiable information unless it is absolutely necessary
- Principle 3 - Only use the minimum personally identifiable information that is required
- Principle 4 - Access to personally identifiable information should be on a strict need-to-know basis
- Principle 5 - Everybody must understand his or her responsibilities and obligations to respect client confidentiality
- Principle 6 - Understand and comply with the law
Who Should Perform the Role?
The person best equipped to be the Caldicott Guardian should fit one or more of these requirements:
- Be a senior person within the Councils social care management team,
- Be a senior social care professional
- Have the responsibility for promoting information governance within the organisation
The current Caldicott Guardian for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is John O'Loughlin - Director of Children's Services.