IG networks - support at all levels

Information Governance (IG) networks work at local, regional and national level and provide valuable support for IG professionals.

This case study looks at the East of England and how these networks work together, so that IG professionals can learn from each other, share ideas, templates and solutions to problems. NHSX supports these networks. They provide valuable insight into the challenges and issues which are being experienced locally and regionally so that we can respond. NHSX also runs a regular webinar for Data Protection Officers to listen and share any national messages. If you're a Data Protection Officer and would like to attend a future webinar, please email the IG team.

We hope you can learn from this case study and either join an IG network if you’re not part of one already, or learn from it so support is in place for IG professionals in your area.

Jane Marley

Jane Marley, Head of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer Mid, South and West Essex

I attended my first meeting of the East of England IG Forum in 2006 when my role within Harlow Primary Care Trust was expanded to include supporting the completion of the IG Toolkit.

From the start, there has always been an ethos of supporting and helping each other. Many members have been around now for a long time and the network has developed into a family. We trust and respect each other's knowledge and experience and during COVID-19 this has allowed us to support our organisations.

Interpreting legislation and guidance needs to be done with the patient in mind, sometimes you have to take the pragmatic approach to ensure that patient care is not impacted. Having a trusted network of colleagues to bounce your interpretation off has certainly made my job easier!

Barry Moult

Barry Moult, IG Privacy Consultant, The Eastern Region SIGN Group

The Eastern Region Strategic Information Governance Network Group (SIGN) came into existence at the start of the IG Toolkit back in 2002/03. It was clear from the outset that it was a group to support one another in completing the IG Toolkit and what evidence was required.

Over the years the group has not only grown numerically, but also widened its scope to include all staff working in IG across all health sectors. This has even extended to other parts of England where local support is not strong, whilst being inclusive of all healthcare organisations. The Group has two elements to it; the part which meets face to face four times a year, and the email network which regularly updates everyone with information from the National SIGN. The email network also acts as a platform for everyone to raise questions or issues.

As Chair of the group, I personally have benefited from the support of others in the group. I am only where I am today in IG because of the IG network in the Eastern Region. The ICO Award I won this year is a tribute to all colleagues in IG in the SIGN Group and further afield.

Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey, Group Head of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer, Chair of Sussex SIGN

The National SIGN Group has been in existence for quite some time and it’s been my true pleasure, as Chair of the Sussex SIGN, or Sussex-Wide IG Group “SWIGG”, to chair it for the last two years.

Until COVID-19 kicked in we used to meet in 2 venues, London and Leeds. More recently we’ve been meeting, like the rest of the world, by MS Teams, which has been great as it’s allowed even more chairs to attend. The group regularly pulls together the chairs of local SIGN groups from around the country to discuss issues on the frontline in health and, hugely importantly, social care.

We also have the benefit of having fairly regular attendance from colleagues at NHS Digital, NHSX, the HRA and other 'central' bodies. When it comes to it, I am extremely grateful for my colleagues across the country, in the way they diligently support their local groups, and come together regularly to help inform, challenge and resolve issues in our hugely important frontline work, and with the central agencies.