Section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act enables the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to direct the HSCIC (now known as NHS Digital) on matters concerning the provision of health services or adult social care in England. As an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England can issue a direction on behalf of the Secretary of State on matters concerning public health in England. This can include instructing NHS Digital to:
• Put in place systems to collect and analyse information
• Develop or operate information or communication systems.