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.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will now be considering data security as part of the well-led element of their inspections.  Care providers will need to provide assurance that they are taking their data obligations seriously so we have cyber security guidance and there is a toolkit to help you in the sections below. 

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

Robotics and the use of artifical intelligence in social care

The possible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics is a relatively new development for the delivery of social care. Evidence suggests there are currently a limited number of robots being used or in development within social care but its development is growing, with many seeing it’s use as a key part of how the sector will adapt to increasing needs in the future.  An overview leaflet sets out the types of AI already in use. 

We've recently commissioned a 'scoping study on the emerging use of Artificial Intelligence and robotics in social care'.

Robotics events

Two events will bring technology experts and social care employers together to discuss where they are already in place and to try and discuss the issue - are they friend or foe, You can book a place on the Leeds event (Thursday 18 October) here or London event (Tuesday 20 November).


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. 

e-Learning for Healthcare are offering an online training module for social care providers on GDPR.  If you'd like to access this, please download and follow these instructions.

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

The Department for Health and Social Care recommends that all social care providers complete the DSPT as they will hold, process or share personal data. Completing the DSPT is a contractual requirement for those who provide care through the NHS Standard Contract. 

NHS Digital have designed a Data Protection and Security Toolkit which is an online self-assessment tool. It will help you comply with:

  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
  • The ten Government agreed data security standards for health and social care for holding, processing or sharing personal data.

It will also help you demonstrate:

  • Readiness to access secure health and care digital methods of information sharing such as NHSmail and Summary Care Records (a summary of GP information about an individual) and local information sharing solutions.
  • Good information sharing.

NHS Digital has worked with the Care Providers Alliance to develop the ‘Entry level’ for social care organisations. ‘Entry level’ is a stepping stone to achieving the ‘Standards Met’ level, it will be time limited (subject to review) but will allow you to begin using NHSmail.  More information

The Care Providers Alliance has produced guidance and free templates to support completion of the Toolkit.  

Technology is powerful. It can help relatives and family feel more involved and in control; give care workers more time to spend with residents; provide safer care and help your care business become more transparent. 

Three different care businesses have all embarked on a journey to invest in technology – in very different ways – and we want to share these journeys with you. 

Visit our digital leadership page to hear their stories in a series of videos. 

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.

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. 

Three years on 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. 

Camphill Village Trust (CVT) is a national charity supporting around 450 adults with learning disabilities. People are supported to be independent in their homes and given opportunities to develop vocational skills and be active in the community through social and cultural activities.

The charity encourages people to take an active role by co-producing projects that have a real impact in their communities. One particular project was CVT Connect which is a digital platform produced by adults with learning difficulties.