Skip to main content

Spine Security Broker API

Provide single sign-on for Spine users.


Use this API to implement single sign-on for users who are registered with the Spine.

You can:

  • access the Identity Server which serves up SSO Tokens and manages the sessions for users who have been successfully authenticated
  • access the Identity Agent on the end user's workstation, which mediates the authentication transaction and serves subsequent user information on demand as part of the application's authorisation process
  • access the Client Signing Interface, which provides client-side digital signing functions for the purposes of Content Commitment. This interface primarily uses cryptographic functions that execute on a user’s smart card.

Users can only be authenticated if they are formally registered to the Spine. This includes creating a user profile, stored in the Spine Directory Service (SDS), containing the user’s roles and other information that the Registration Authority or Service deems necessary to make appropriate data access decisions.

This authentication service is also known as the Care Identity Service (CIS). It makes use of smartcards to provide strong authentication for health care workers to control access to national services. It is being replaced by NHS Care Identity Service 2 (NHS CIS2), which provides additional authentication methods for scenarios where a smartcard might not be preferred or appropriate.

This API is described fully in the Spine External Interface Specification (EIS). Part 6 has the overview and part 7 the formal API specifications. These are a set of Word documents that provide system developers - architects, designers and builders - with the necessary information to connect to Spine national services.

API status

This API is stable.


This API is a SOAP API.

For more details, see Basic SOAP.


For a full list of interactions for this API, see the Spine External Interface Specification (EIS). Part 6 has the overview and part 7 the formal specifications of the Java and C APIs.

Last edited: 13 May 2021 1:25 pm