Digital working, learning and information sharing

Person writing on a desk in front of a keyboardge Here The social care workforce can use technology to support people to live independently and have meaningful lives.

When we talk about digital working we mean working with computer systems, tablets, phones etc.

There are many benefits of working digitally, for example, staff can gain quicker access to information and find new and engaging ways to stay in touch with those who need care and support.

Digital working also refers to the safe storage, collection and sharing of confidential Information.  This is the responsibility of everyone who works in social care. It’s a vital component of how we ensure the dignity and privacy of the people we support and a requirement of law.

About the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR will affect all social care organisations and come into force in May 2018.  We've published a series of documents and guides to help you comply.

Start with Why information collection, sharing and storage is important to get the basics about how the law is changing and why those who work in adult social care have a duty to uphold data principles.

Further guides, can be found in the following sections:


This leaflet has been written by a solicitor to help set out how you can comply with the new GDPR regulations which come into force on 25 May 2018.

Social care organisations should now be in the process of considering the potential impact of GDPR on their policies, procedures and systems as budget and resources may need to be allocated.

Compliance with GDPR can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s possible to break down GDPR compliance into bite size chunks on a risk analysis basis. 

Information Commissioners Office (ICO) Helpline

The ICO has launched a new helpline aimed at SMEs and charities to advise you how to be GDPR compliant by 25 May 2018. The service includes an additional, personal support feature for those that have specific questions.  

Call 0303 123 1113 and select option 4. 

The Information Commissioner has written a myth-busting blog about GDPR compliance being an ongoing journey, and one where the ICO will be a ‘fair and proportionate’ regulator. 

Cyber security is the name for the safeguards taken to avoid or reduce any disruption from an attack on data, computers or mobile devices. It covers  safeguarding confidentiality and privacy and the availability and integrity of data, both of which are vital for the quality and safety of care.

  • Security breaches can occur when we use paper records, send information using fax machines and even verbally. However, the consequences of security breaches with digital information are potentially far more severe, as information can be distributed more easily and to afar wider audience.
  • Cyber-breaches are costly – in terms of expense, recovery time and through damage to reputation. All staff must be aware of how to implement protective measures. 

Read more about it and how to improve it here

From April 2018 the new Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSP Toolkit) replaces the Information Governance Toolkit (IG Toolkit).

It will form part of a new framework that social care organisations will need to observe in order to meet statutory obligations on data protection and data security.

The Data Security and Protection (DSP) Requirements consist of ten data security standards that apply to all health and care organisations.

When considering data security as part of the well-led element of their inspections, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will look at how organisations are assuring themselves that the steps set out in this document are being taken.

Do I need to comply with the new toolkit?

  • Social care providers who provide care through the NHS Standard contract need to comply with the new DSP Toolkit from April 2018.
  • For social care providers who do not provide care through the NHS Standard Contract, there is no action to take during 2018. However, it is recommended that providers consider compliance with the new DSP Toolkit from April 2018.

Compliance with the ten data security standards will help you prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force from May 2018.

The Care Providers Alliance are currently producing guides and templates for care providers to use with the new DSP toolkit.  We will include a link here when they are published soon.

We’ll be providing examples of how technology is being used to enable workers, employers, people with care and support needs and carers to work and learn differently.

We’ll also look at how digital working has made an impact on those who need care and support.

  • The current capability of the workforce to work and learn digitally has been reviewed with any skills gaps and key issues identified. Download  the findings.
  • We’ll be producing a guide to commissioning and providing workforce development for digital learning, working and information sharing. 
  • A workforce development support resource for digital working, learning and information sharing will be developed from the guide. The resource will aim to address how digital working and learning can support integrated workforce development and examples of how digital products and services can be co-produced. 

Everyone working in social care and health should see the use and safe sharing of information as part of their responsibility. This is why we produced an information sharing for social care employers guide to help social care employers consider these issues and begin to skill their staff to meet these new challenges.


Three short films have been produced to show how employers have started to meet some of the challenges of information sharing

  1. Lessons in integrated working - the Living well project, Cornwall
  2. New systems for information sharing -  the heathland project, Cumbria
  3. Advice from data sharing experts The Centre for Excellence for Information Sharing and the Information Governance Alliance explain how they can support employers in this area.

Core digital skills are the skills and knowledge needed to undertake every day digital activities relevant to your job role.

We have put together a guide to help you understand why people in social care need core digital skills and to identify what they are. Download our guide to core digital skills in social care.

In 2014 we asked the adult social care workforce how they used technology and how confident they were with it. An infographic shows the results of this work in an easy to read format and a short bulletin shares more detail.  

To find out more about the other core skills in social care visit our core skills page.

Uplands Nursing Home in Shrewsbury tells us about how they collect and use information to secure the long term success of their business.

They’ve also helped their staff become more IT savvy and have introduced a range of systems which is helping their staff deliver safer and more efficient care.

This strategy sets out how we can all implement digital working, learning and information sharing. The most important aspect is that digital technologies are used in the best interests of people needing care and support and at all times to support their choice and independence. The strategy ensures:

  • Everyone involved in delivering care and support has the confidence andcompetence to work digitally, and the opportunity to develop their digital skills.
  • Digital learning is recognised as a crucial part of workforce development, and partof a blended approach to learning and development including the achievement of standards and qualifications.
  • The potential of digital technology to enhance the lives of people with care andsupport needs, and that some people need help to engage with the digital technology is understood.
  • Digital technologies are used in the best interests of people needing care and support and at all times to support theirchoice and independence.
  • Digital information is shared appropriately, securely and transparently and workers, people with care and support needs and carers have confidence in the systems used to store information electronically.
The strategy - three years on

Our three years on document takes a look at what work we have undertaken since the strategy was first launched three years ago, as well as dialogue and feedback from recent Digital Leaders event. Read three years on.