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New group to oversee NHS Digital data releases



IGARD takes over from DAAG with a brief to improve accountability, transparency and the quality of data

NHS Digital has announced the setting up of a new body – the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) - to oversee its release of sensitive data.

It is replacing the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG) with a brief to improve accountability, quality and consistency in releasing a wider range of data, and a remit to increase transparency.

A spokesperson for NHS Digital said that IGARD will have the responsibility for scrutiny over all of the data disseminated by the organisation, whereas DAAG provided advice only on data from Hospital Episode Statistics and the Mental Health Minimum Data Set.

The new body will be chaired by Chris Carrigan, a specialist in cancer data and information, and includes experts from the medical, data and legal professions.

Other members have been drawn from a number of fields, with six coming from specialisms including clinical ethics and military health, and three lay members. They will work independently of NHS Digital and are on IGARD as individuals rather than representatives of other organisations.

Step change

“NHS Digital has listened to feedback from all stakeholders in its design and implementation of IGARD and, as such, we feel it represents a positive step change in accountability, quality and transparency,” the spokesperson said.

NHS Digital said the group has been created to reflect growing public concern over the appropriate use of data following a review of the previous arrangements under which a similar function was carried out by the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG).

Rob Shaw, NHS digital's chief operating officer, said: "IGARD will streamline existing processes and ensure that our data collection, processing and sharing continues to be independently scrutinised by a balanced group of lay and expert members.”

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