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Data quality

Latest Information

xls icon August 2016 Data Quality Maturity Index [863kb]

pdf icon August 2016 DQMI methodology [732kb]

Interactive distribution of DQMI scores.

For more information on the DQMI publications, please scroll down to "NHS Digital Data Quality Work Programme".

Our Role in Data Quality

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (section 266) states that our statutory data quality role is to assess the extent to which the data we collect meets defined national standards and to publish the results of the assessments. In addition, we may give advice or guidance on data quality relating to the collection, analysis, publication or other dissemination of data and information.

Our pdf icon Data Quality Assurance Strategy 2015-2020 [47kb] sets out how we will fulfil these responsibilities.

Assurance and Governance

DQA Steering Group

Data Quality Assurance (DQA) activity is governed by the DQA Steering Group who meet every two months to provide overall strategic direction for DQA. The group is made up of internal members, as well as external representatives from Care Quality Commission, Department of Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement. We are working to ensure that the provider community are also represented at the DQA Steering Group. The group's pdf icon Terms of Reference [571kb]  are available for reference, and any queries about the group should be directed to

DQA Provider Forum

A DQA Provider Forum meets quarterly with representatives from 12 provider organisations from around the country. The forum is in its early stages and is soon to be supported by a national Provider E-Forum enabling further engagement from the 200+ interested parties that have raised an interest in being involved.

DQA User Forum

The DQA User Forum meets quarterly with representatives from a number of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), NHS England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The Forum is in its early stages but has already seen some very positive actions come out of the first meeting to proactively support the improvement of data quality.

NHS Digital Data Quality Work Programme

The xls icon Data Quality Maturity Index [863kb] is a new quarterly publication intended to raise the profile and significance of data quality in the NHS by providing data submitters with timely and transparent information about their data quality.

For an interactive distribution of scores, with the option to create groupings by commissioning region and locality, select the interactive report (opens in a new window).

The second publication of the index, published 15 August 2016, presents a record of the quality of data submitted to NHS Digital (formally HSCIC) by NHS providers from January to March 2016. In addition to assessing both completeness and validity of data across a core set of data fields, the second publication of the index also reports on the use of default values. The proportion of default values will not affect the overall DQMI score in this publication, but is likely to in future publications.

The DQMI reports across the 6 national datasets that were included in the first publication, with the addition of the Maternity Services dataset for the August release:

  • Accident and Emergency (A&E)
  • Outpatient (OP)
  • Admitted Patient Care (APC)
  • Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID)
  • Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS)
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
  • Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS)

The accompanying pdf icon methodology [732kb] document explains the detail behind the score.

A csv icon DQMI CSV file [1Mb] of the raw data on which the DQMI is based is available in machine readable format.

Users of the DQMI may be interested in a further publication offering comparative data quality analysis between the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) and HES data. The report can be found here.

Previous Publications

The first publication of the xls icon DQMI Publication 2016 [546kb] (based on calendar year 2015 data) and the associated pdf icon DQMI Publication 2016 [329kb] methodology document remain available for comparison.

Data Quality Reporting Tool Prototype

The Corporate Data Quality Assurance team has created a xls icon Data Quality Reporting tool prototype [3Mb] for use alongside the DQMI. The tool is currently hosted in Excel, which is a short term solution and will be moved to a web business intelligence platform once stakeholders' feedback has been collated. We invite you to use the functionality and feedback with comments in order to shape the next iteration of the tool.

The aim of the tool is to provide stakeholders with the information they require to view the quality of data in a transparent and easy to use way. The Reporting Tool can be used to investigate the detail of the data quality indicator provided in the DQMI, and provides an opportunity for users to compare data quality across the datasets they submit in one place.

To provide feedback on this version of the prototype reporting tool, and help improve it, please contact the DQA team.

Performance Evidence Delivery Framework

NHS Digital recommends the use of a supportive pdf icon Performance evidence delivery framework [490kb] (version 2) designed to help data providers to improve their level of data quality by enhancing their own local processes. Aspects of the framework have been used successfully in an Acute Trust environment, leading to an improved understanding of the importance of data quality alongside an improvement in the quality of data itself.

To provide feedback on this version of the framework, and help improve it, please contact the DQA team.

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