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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD)

IGARD ceased on the 31 January 2023 when NHS Digital merged with NHS England. NHS England has established interim arrangements to seek and receive independent advice.

IGARD coronavirus (COVID-19) response

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 [email protected] 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 can give advice, to ensure that NHS Digital 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 [email protected]

Last edited: 17 February 2023 10:38 am