Records management guidance for the transition of CCGs to ICBs
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) is providing detailed guidance on the journey to integrated care systems (ICS), and this is located in the ICS guidance area on FutureNHS. NHSEI expects that integrated care boards (ICB) will be created from April 2022 (subject to legislation), with the majority of functions currently performed by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to be conferred to ICBs.
The CCGs staff, assets and liabilities will be transferred to the relevant ICB. This is reflected in the ‘ICS implementation guidance: due diligence, transfer of people and property from CCGs to ICBs and CCG close down’ which is available on FutureNHS. It provides a checklist for ICBs to consider as part of the handover from CCGs. It is not an exhaustive list, but rather a summary of key duties to ensure a safe and effective handover of functions and processes by 1 April 2022.
This records management guidance is specifically aimed at CCGs and ICBs as plans start to be put in place for their establishment and focuses on the management of records as part of this transition. The key points outlined in this guidance are also included in section 4 of the ‘due diligence’ checklist as referred to above.
The Records Management Code of Practice provides detailed guidance on the management of records. By following this you should have:
- an inventory of the paper records you hold
- electronic records in a logical filing system, with folders and subfolders as necessary
- records retained for the minimum period of time and managed appropriately when that time is reached
- retained records which are subject to an inquiry, investigation or request for information
- a record of any actions taken in relation to records, for example, transferred to the local place of deposit - certificates of disposal should be obtained where necessary
General guidelines on the transfer of records
Paper records should be boxed up and suitably labelled. If you are transferring records between physical sites, or floors in a building, ensure you account for all boxes and records moved. For example, if you move boxes labelled A to F, ensure boxes A to F arrive at the new destination. You should also ensure that you transfer the record of any actions taken by the CCG, for example, x boxes transferred to the place of deposit; y boxes destroyed; z boxes transferred to ICB. This will ensure that if a request for a record is sent to the ICB, they can easily locate the record, for example, by retrieving it from the place of deposit.
Electronic records should be made accessible to new staff. You should make sure, for example, that they are available in accessible shared repositories and not password-protected. Official sensitive information should be kept in appropriately restricted areas to enable access to the appropriate persons only. CCG staff should check their own work areas where they have set up their own filing and information areas on network and shared drives, to ensure they have reviewed the records they have created.
The ability to transfer electronic records from current systems to their new destination may be required (such as by Secure File Transfer Protocol) if you need to transfer records outside of your current IT estate. You should seek advice from your IT department on how to do this. Some IT departments will set this up for you whereas others may provide you with a guide on how to complete transfers.
In some circumstances the IT system may not be changing, for example the IT department from the former CCG may be running the IT service for the ICB. In this case, you should follow guidance issued by your IT department in relation to setting up new folder structures that reflect the new arrangements from April 2022. You should then archive (in a specific network space) the records relating to the former CCGs, as advised by the IT department.
If the CCG records need to be transferred to a new system, the IT support of the ICB will need to provide guidance on importing records to their IT system. You should check that all records have been transferred correctly and can be opened, For example if you are moving a file from x drive to y drive, check it is located on the y drive as intended and opens in a usable way.
In cases where boundary changes are taking place and the CCG does not fit into the geographical boundary of an ICS, a decision needs to be made as to which records go to which ICS. A simple rule of thumb is patient or service user records (such as Continuing Health Care or Individual Funding Request records), should go to whichever ICS the individual’s home address falls under.
Where this is not possible, as is the case with corporate records such as finance records, discussions must be had between relevant parties to decide which ICS will receive that series of corporate records. For example, ICS A takes all the finance records, and ICS B takes all the estates records. Corporate records must not be split up to reflect the new geographical boundaries.
All parties need to be clear on who holds which legacy records in case these are required at a later date, such as a form of access request. All records and information must be accounted for, assigned to a new organisation, and transferred for ongoing management. No records must be left behind or stranded as a result of the transfer from the CCG to the ICB. In particularly complex cases, a data sharing agreement may help to set out responsibilities.
Actions for the ICB
To ensure a smooth transition the ICB should ensure there is:
- a procedure to deal with the increased risk to records that result from a re-organisation - such as potential loss or accidental disclosure
- clarity about which records the ICB is taking where there is a boundary change taking place, or a “split” CCG, if applicable - liability for these records will transfer to the ICB
The ICB should also establish ongoing records management processes as set out in the Records Management Code of Practice. This includes:
- responsibility and accountability for the records management requirements assigned to a suitably qualified or experienced person
- records management policies and procedures are put in place, covering both corporate and clinical records
- a network or shared repository for the storage of records and an electronic records management file structure
- arrangements for physical records storage, both onsite and offsite storage (where applicable) including inventories detailing records in store
- all information asset registers and records of processing activity are kept up to date
- ensuring that any records which are subject (or may become subject) to an inquiry, investigation or request for information continue to be retained and can be accessed - this includes records which are subject (or may become subject) to any current public inquiry (such as Infected Blood Inquiry), and the forthcoming COVID-19 inquiry that the government has announced