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GP Data Check and Challenge Advisory Group

An overview of the GP Data Check and Challenge Advisory Group, and notes from recent meetings.

Background

The Check and Challenge Advisory Group was established in Autumn 2021 to support the delivery of the GPDPR programme. It followed a letter that ministers wrote to all GPs in England in July 2021 describing changes being made to the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) Programme.

The letter confirmed that data collection would only begin when the following criteria is met:

  • the ability to delete data if patients choose to opt-out of sharing their GP data with NHS Digital, even if this is after their data has been uploaded
  • the backlog of opt-outs has been fully cleared
  • a Trusted Research Environment has been developed and implemented in NHS Digital
  • patients have been made more aware of the scheme through a campaign of engagement and communication

The group, which is attended by a range of strategic leaders with a connection to GP data, was established to support the programme in the delivery of these criteria.


Purpose

The main purpose of the group is to:

  • allow the GPDPR programme to hold constructive discussions to validate approaches and options being considered in order to maximise general practice, patient and public benefit from the programme, whilst maintaining visibility across key stakeholder groups
  • build alignment throughout analysis, design, and delivery with the end-goal of aligning with key stakeholder groups as much as possible so that conditions set-out in a letter to GPs by ministers have been met to allow data collection to proceed 
  • promote improved engagement and communication with key programme stakeholders to ensure a fully transparent approach is being taken against programme planning and delivery

Role

The role of the group is to:

  • play an advisory role on the overall approach, plans and delivery options for GP Data for Planning and Research programme
  • make sure that group discussions and recommendations are shared across the GP Data for Planning and Research programme, being escalated to board level if appropriate, and that feedback on outcomes is provided back to the group (you said we did)
  • represent the views of their own expert views or those of their parent organisations (where relevant) in providing feedback 
  • bring together viewpoints from the GP profession and data usage communities (acting in tandem with the patient and public engagement and communications panel)
  • act as a senior advisory panel for questions and possible issues raised through the programme design and solution drafting and review stages, with specific recommendations responded to, through the same process as other formal requests and correspondence to the programme
  • be involved in the early draft stages of documents to provide feedback against potential changes and challenges, and revisit late-stage documents to review decisions and changes made based on early-stage group feedback
  • drive and maximise the effective function of the group by ensuring the agenda, structure, and membership remain under regular review and under the responsibility of all members

The group is not a decision-making body for the GPDPR programme and acts purely in an advisory role.

Input from members will be used to influence and build stakeholder alignment around the forward direction and delivery of the programme, however formal acceptance and agreements from members will not be sought.


Terms of reference for the Check and Challenge Advisory Group

The Terms of Reference define the Check and Challenge Advisory Group's role, membership and operating model.

The Terms of Reference are reviewed quarterly as a minimum, or as triggered by any major changes to ensure they are fit for purpose. Over the course of the programme, it is expected some changes may be made.

A formal review of the Terms of Reference was undertaken in January 2022 to ensure the group is delivering for its members against the stated purpose of supporting the proper implementation of the GPDPR programme. The content has been updated accordingly and revalidated with members.

Aims and objectives of the group

  1. To allow the GPDPR programme to hold constructive discussions to validate approaches and options being considered in order to maximise general practice, patient and public benefit from the programme, whilst maintaining visibility and support of key stakeholder groups.
  2. To build alignment throughout analysis, design, and delivery with the end-goal of aligning with key stakeholder groups as much as possible that conditions set-out in Letter to GPs by Ministers have been met to allow data collection to proceed.
  3. Promote improved engagement and communication with key programme stakeholders to ensure a fully transparent approach is being taken against programme planning and delivery.

The group will play a vital role in providing expert and professional opinion (and support if/when appropriate) on the overall delivery approach, design and options chosen. 

It will do this by:

  • challenging where the programme approach is thought to be diverging from the commitments and conditions made in the Letter to GPs signed by Ministers, or from additional commitments made
  • focusing on an agreed roadmap of programme design/solution documentation to facilitate ongoing and targeted stakeholder input. The rolling roadmap of upcoming reviews will be established at the first meeting and kept updated to provide visibility of a minimum of 2 meetings in advance
  • giving counsel to those teams developing the materials where additional content and/or materials are thought necessary
  • representing the views of the profession, data usage and wider data community as well as parent organisations (where relevant)
  • being confident that the content provided in materials has been through sufficient review and rigour to ensure the content is accurate and responds to concerns and challenges raised during testing, by wider stakeholders and/or this group
  • acting as an escalation route into the Programme for questions and possible issues raised through parent organisations or direct from members

The group will review a range of materials from different sources including:

  • programme implementation objectives and approach
  • programme communications and engagement over-arching approach, and specific content/documentation as required
  • information governance (IG) and legal roadmap options, and specific IG documentation as required
  • GPDPR Trusted Research Environment (TRE) approach, design, build, and implementation options and progress updates
  • Type 1 retrospective deletion approach, design and delivery options and progress updates
  • Type 1 digital service approach, design and delivery options and progress updates
  • documentation and approach options on addressing opt-out backlogs and ensure demand management will remain under control

All group members will have authority and responsibility to suggest topics for discussion, changes to group membership, and or any area of improvement.

The group structures and processes will be kept under regular review, and amended through group consensus to maximise the effective functioning of the group.


Membership

The GP Data for Planning and Research Check and Challenge Advisory Group represents a number of organisations/areas with knowledge and expertise in Data usage and security, and the GP Profession, including:

The ICO’s role is to consider and provide advice on points of data protection law and their engagement will not inhibit them from taking regulatory action in respect of the processing for GPDPR should that be necessary.

In addition to the above members, the panel will be facilitated by NHS Digital and further invitees from NHS Digital, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and NHS England and Improvement will attend as required to represent the programme, its over-arching governance, and wider benefits.

If a panel member from a listed organisation is unable to attend a meeting but they wish to be represented, they may nominate a deputy who is authorised to input on their behalf.

Panel membership Organisation Current holder
Programme Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) NHSX* Tim Donohoe
Panel member British Medical Association

Anu Rao

David Parkin

Panel member Royal College of General Practitioners

Ruth Ellenby

Paul Atkinson

Panel member National Data Guardian 

Nicola Byrne

Office of the National Data Guardian Representative

Panel member Office for National Statistics

Ian Diamond

Alison Pritchard

Panel member Information Commissioners Office Steve Wood
Panel member Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences Ben Goldacre
Panel member Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Helen Stokes-Lampard
Panel member Association of Medical Research Charities Nicola Perrin
Panel member National Institute for Health Research Michael Lewis
CEO NHSX* Matthew Gould
Director of Data Policy DHSC Simon Madden
CEO NHS Digital Simon Bolton

 *NHSX is now part of the NHS Transformation Directorate. The NHS Transformation Directorate unites staff from across NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care behind a common goal: to drive innovation at scale where it can improve care for people and support staff.


Method of operation

Meetings

Chair

Chair will be rotated through membership based on members availability and capacity. Rota will be maintained by GPDPR programme team on behalf of the Check and Challenge members.

Quorum

For the GP Data for Planning and Research Check and Challenge Advisory Group to convene, the Chair and 5 other members (or alternative representatives) must be present.

Frequency

Meeting frequency is currently fortnightly.

This cadence will be regularly reviewed and amended as required to meet the stated aims of the group.

Format

The meetings will usually be held via Microsoft Teams, there will also be requests for members to review materials offline or out of the regular meetings to ensure meetings can be focussed on feedback and discussion. 

The Terms of Reference, agendas and short meeting notes will be published on the NHS Digital website. Any exceptions will be specifically noted and agreed with members during meetings.

Standing agenda

Standing agenda items will consist of the following:

  • apologies
  • actions review from previous meeting
  • materials/presentations/agenda items for review
  • any other business
Governance

The Check and Challenge Group is accountable to the GP Data for Planning and Research Programme.


Inputs

The following inputs will be provided to each meeting:

  • action notes from the previous meeting
  • materials produced by the programme delivery teams ready for member review and feedback - see Ways of working for further detail
  • papers, presentations and other materials for information 

If any member is unable to attend a meeting it is expected that any updates relating to outstanding actions are provided in advance of the meeting.

Escalation process

Any serious issues or problems are to be reported to the GP Data Programme Head and, if not resolved, to the GP Data for Planning and Research Programme Board.

Outputs from the meetings and publication of information about the group

This will include: 

  • high-level meeting notes and actions arising from the meeting - within these, an update on progress on materials submitted for review and decisions on questions/issues escalated to the Check and Challenge Group
  • any documentation produced at the request of Check and Challenge members

These Terms of Reference, alongside high-level agendas, meeting notes, and any documentation produced as outputs from meetings will be published on the NHS Digital website.

Outputs of meetings will also be shared with NHS partners and colleagues to inform the planning and delivery for GP Data for Planning and Research.

Ways of working

A transparent and open approach will be taken by the GPDPR Programme to build confidence and alignment.

Papers for each upcoming meeting will be shared as far as possible in advance to allow group members maximum time for review, to allow constructive and effective discussion during the meetings. Feedback raised during meetings will be fed back into the design and delivery of the programme, with Check and Challenge members kept updated on progress.

The Check and Challenge Assurance Group will be involved in the review of early-stage approach/design/delivery documentation to provide feedback and challenge against potential changes required. This will be used as key input as the final delivery is shaped, and late-stage documentation will be revisited to note changes driven out of group feedback OR confirm where feedback has not been utilised as well as the rationale behind these decisions.

The documentation for review will be primarily produced by the GPDPR programme as part of the workstream or overall programme delivery. In some instances, documentation produced outside of the GPDPR delivery may be presented when it has a large impact on the direction taken by the programme.

Examples of documentation that may be brought to the Check and Challenge Assurance Group for review are as follows:

  • programme objectives and high-level delivery approaches to ensure alignment with stakeholder perspectives and historic commitments
  • over-arching communications strategy documentation and specific communications messaging as required to ensure alignment ahead of formal publication
  • key programme documentation to enable delivery such as required legal documentation to ensure alignment ahead of formal publication
  • technical delivery detail and approach documentation to provide clarity on how key objectives will be delivered

The Check and Challenge Assurance Group will be conducted in parallel with further stakeholder groups targeted on patient and public advisory and information governance. Where appropriate, this meeting will be updated on key outputs and discussion topics on these parallel meetings.

Support statements may be sought from specific members, as appropriate, at key points to build into message of full community alignment during delivery and ahead of data collection commencement. They will not be sought where that will impact any member or organisation in their wider roles and responsibilities, or create conflict with their membership of the group.

Parallel stakeholder groups

The Check and Challenge group will be conducted in parallel to a number of other stakeholder groups covering specific elements of programme design and delivery.

Find out more about our GPDPR assurance groups.

Confidentiality

We want all members to feel confident that the views they express in the meeting are confidential and will not be shared outside the stated aims of these Terms of Reference by members either verbally or by using other means without permission.

Group members:

  • are expected to maintain confidentiality in order to promote honest, frank discussion during group meetings. Comments and views will not be attributed to particular group members, without the prior agreement of that member - this includes any in meeting notes 
  • may be privy to information that is not yet in the public domain
  • will be informed about what is, and what is not, confidential and asked to maintain absolute confidentiality - members will be told when previously confidential information is ready to be in the public domain 

Publication of meeting content (as covered in the 'Meetings' and 'Outputs and publication of information about the group' sections) will be primarily through the NHS Digital website, but members will be advised on publication locations in advance if this changes.


Action notes


Download these terms of reference

Last edited: 16 May 2022 2:38 pm