Digital and technology assurance

What is digital and technology assurance?

The assurance process is in place to independently review and assess all digital and technology projects against the mandatory standards (see below).

Support is available from the NHSX Digital and Technology Assurance team throughout the process to answer your questions and help you meet the standards.

Who manages the assurance process?

NHSX and the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) jointly assure projects across the Department of Health and Social Care and all partner organisations.

CDDO was formerly part of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

What are the key stages of the assurance process?

The 2 key stages of the assurance process are:

  • spend controls
  • service assessments

What do I need to know about spend controls?

  • Spend controls happen during project proposals (before your project has started spending or started any procurement processes) and before each phase of your project (Discovery, Alpha, Private Beta, Public Beta)
  • All digital and technology projects need spend controls
  • For spend controls, the spend control standards and the Technology Code of Practice apply
  • The assurance decision is made by an NHSX/CDDO assurance board

What do I need to know about service assessments?

  • Service assessments happen after each phase of your project is completed (Alpha, Private Beta, Public Beta)
  • Digital services projects need service assessments
  • For service assessments, the Service Standard applies
  • The assurance decision is made by an NHSX/CDDO service assessment panel


What are the standards?

The standards cover established best practice for the design and delivery of all digital and technology products and services.

The standards are mandated by the Cabinet Office and all government departments and partner organisations must meet them.

There are 3 core mandatory standards:

Why are the standards important?

Because the standards cover established best practice, they help you deliver great products and services that meet patient, citizen, professional and strategic needs.

When do the standards apply?

All of the core mandatory standards apply to any digital service delivered to users on the internet.

For technology projects only the spend control standards and the Technology Code of Practice apply. Technology projects include things such as devices, HR systems, hosting and infrastructure.

If you are unsure which standards apply to your project, we can advise you.

What happens if I don’t meet the standards?

You won’t get the sign-off you need from us to continue with your project if you don’t meet the standards. This can cost your project time and money.


The NHSX Digital and Technology Assurance team

We’re here to explain the assurance process to you and support you through it, so you know what to expect and can get the most out of each stage.

We want to work with you and help you get things right from the start, not just come in at the end and ask you to do things differently.

From the outset, we can help:

  • reduce your project’s risks
  • save you time
  • get you the best value for money
  • connect you with other people working on similar things across the health and social care system

We’re not here to be your delivery team, but we are here to support you to meet the mandatory digital and technology standards and deliver great products and services.

We make it easy for you to share the project information we need to get you started with the assurance process. And we help you prepare for an assessment to review the work you’ve done and get the sign-off you need to continue with the next phase of your project.