Skip to main content

Data quality of protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups

Guidance for improving data quality in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Data Set.

Current Chapter

Data quality of protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups


Summary

Guidance for improving data quality in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Data Set.


This document and the recommendations within it were authored by NHS England and Improvement.


Aims and background

This document sets out the fields needed to be recorded to successfully flow and capture protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups data in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Data Set, as referenced in the technical output specifications for those data sets.

It also explains how critical identifying and recording this demographic information is to addressing inequalities experienced by those populations and delivering services for them. It aims to provide clear and practical guidance to mental health, learning disability and autism services wanting to effectively and sensitively record protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups data, better supporting the needs of their patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to establish the MHSDS as the only collection method for mental health, learning disability and autism services data, alongside the IAPT Data Set. All providers who receive NHS funding to deliver mental health, learning disability and autism services (either in part or wholly) are expected to submit data to the MHSDS or IAPT Data Set, as set out in the MHSDS Requirements Specification and IAPT Requirements Specification.

A range of guidance on how to submit data to the MHSDS and submitting to the IAPT Data Set is available, including the upcoming submission window dates.

This guidance is aimed at people and organisations involved in the collection and submission of MHSDS and IAPT data. This includes:

  • information managers, developers and analysts within organisations providing NHS-funded specialist secondary mental health, learning disability and autism services
  • operational managers, service managers and clinical leads of these organisations
  • suppliers of clinical or administrative IT systems to these organisations

This first iteration of this guidance will be reviewed and expanded as the guidance in this area evolves and so that it includes other demographic data items requiring improvements in collection approaches and data quality.

The protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups shown in Table 1 have been included in this guidance based on analysis of the completion and quality of MHSDS and IAPT Data Set data related to patient characteristics and the populations most at risk of mental health inequalities.

Table 1

Protected characteristics and other vulnerable groups data requiring data quality improvement in the MHSDS and IAPT Data Set

Low data quality - DQ focus now Low data quality - DQ focus at a later date Good data quality - no focus required on DQ
Accommodation type (such as rough sleeping) *
Disability type
Ethnicity
Gender identity*
Sexual orientation
Ex-British Armed Forces
Looked After Child status (MHSDS only)
Marriage/Civil partnership (MHSDS only)
Religion or other belief system affiliation
Age
Deprivation (via postcode)

*To be added to/updated in the IAPT Data Set from v2.1 in April 2022

Last edited: 26 April 2022 11:37 am