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NHS Care Identity Credential Service

NHS Credential Management is a new component that replaces current card management system (CMS) operations within the NHS Care Identity Service user registration service.


Users of NHS Care Identity Service 2 need to use registration services and some may wish to continue to use smartcards.

In order to do so, they will require the NHS Credential Management component and the NHS Digital Identity Agent.

Currently smartcard users will need an HSCN network, Credential Management and the Identity Agent installed on their machines.

NHS Credential Management

This is a standalone installation, that facilitates communication between the Identity Agent and modern browsers, removing the dependency on Java Applets and IE11.

NHS Credential Management (CM) is also required for Windows desktop users of NHS CIS2 Authentication (for example National Cervical Screening Management System) and to use new Magicard 300 printers​. It supports all current smartcards, IA Agents.

More of our internet-facing systems and services are now compatible with NHS Credential Management, enabling them to be accessed via modern browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

NHS Credential Management removes the need for Java applet authentication and reliance on using IE11 as the internet browser. By using modern browsers, we can improve data protection, security and remove the risk of organisations having to pay a support licence fee for Java 8.

Our Spine UIs such as SCRa and EPS Prescription Tracker are now CM compatible. NHS e-Referral Service is now also compatible with CM (version, and guidance has recently been updated.

NHS Credential Management facilitates a more secure way for health and care professionals to authenticate when accessing our services and improves operation speed, performance and stability.

Most NHS Digital web-based products and services require NHS Credential Management to authenticate in secure modern browsers. Organisations should ensure they have installed it across their IT estate in preparation for Microsoft withdrawing support for Internet Explorer on 15 June 2022.

The benefits of using NHS Credential Management include:

  • removes dependency on legacy browser and Java Applets
  • improves operation speed, performance and stability in performing RA functions
  • it’s a simple desktop installation
  • it supports self-renew, pin change and self-unlock of smartcards in modern browsers
  • it improves data protection and security offered by modern browsers

NHS Credential Management is already being used on more than 780,000 machines within the health and care service. 89% of organisations tracked by NHS Digital ATP service have instances of Credential Management installed.

NHS Credential Management also replaces current card management system (CMS) operations within the NHS Care Identity Service user registration service. It allows CIS and CMS to be used with modern browsers including Chrome and Edge, without using Java Applets (users have noticed faster operations). ​It requires installation on the desktop.

NHS Digital Identity Agent

The Identity Agent is an installable component that resides on every device that acts as a point of access to Spine systems.

NHS Digital Identity Agent v2.3.2.0 (needs a HSCN connection) is the preferred client as it compatible for support across the majority of current Operating Systems and components. See the Warranted Environment Specification for a comprehensive list.

Prior to installation, Trusts should check with their system suppliers to confirm that NHS Digital Identity Agent v2.3.2.0 is compatible with their products and services.

Currently the NHS Digital Identity Agent only works over the HSCN network. A version is currently being developed that will allow authentication over the internet to those national services that can be connected to in this way.

Download NHS Credential Management and the NHS Digital Identity Agent.

Last edited: 4 July 2023 3:27 pm