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Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD)

Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) is an advisory body to the NHS Digital Board. 

IGARD coronavirus (COVID-19) response

IGARD is now meeting twice a week to meet coronavirus (COVID-19) as urgent requirements. Although the COVID-19 response meetings are separate to the Thursday IGARD meetings, to ensure transparency of process, a meeting summary of the COVID-19 response meetings are captured as part of IGARD’s minutes as an appendix.

We are prioritising requests for data in respect of COVID-19 as urgent requirements. This means that other applications or enquiries may be delayed.

If you have any immediate concerns, please contact your case officer directly or email referencing DARS in the subject field.

We aim to improve transparency, accountability, quality and consistency through robust, independent scrutiny of NHS Digital data distributions, as well as providing a voice for the public. NHS Digital's release register is published every month and provides information on data released.  

IGARD also makes general recommendations or observations to NHS Digital about their processes, policies and procedures, including transparency measures such as registers.

Providing independent advice and recommendations

NHS Digital takes the importance of information governance very seriously. Controls and procedures are in place to make sure IGARD demonstrates the highest standard of stewardship and governance of the information we handle. IGARD provides oversight of NHS Digital's processes to ensure they are appropriate for governing the receipt, processing and publication of data that does not compromise confidentiality and maximises the use of information.

IGARD independently assesses applications for data. This ensures that the use of patient data within research, academia, the public and private sector is done in controlled environments, where any risks of disclosure are minimised.

Contact details

If you have any further questions about IGARD you can email us at

Last edited: 30 June 2021 10:38 am