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Private sector organisations: migration advice

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is a new data network for health and care organisations that has replaced NHS N3. It provides the underlying network arrangements to help integrate and transform health and social care services, and it enables health and social care organisations to access and share information more reliably, flexibly and efficiently.

HSCN is now live and you can procure HSCN connectivity from HSCN compliant suppliers.

To take advantage of the cost savings and associated benefits of moving from legacy infrastructure private sector organisations should migrate to HSCN at their earliest opportunity.

Service continuity will be ensured by the Transition Network, and HSCN has been designed such that all organisations, migrated or not, will remain interconnected during the migration period. Based on market data it's anticipated that there should be a significant cost reduction for like-for-like HSCN connectivity services. It should be noted that this is based on 'like for like' comparison and that, in reality, advances in technology should allow many consumers to procure a leaner, cheaper alternative.

If you have concerns over your organisation's ability to migrate in the near future please contact NHS Digital as soon as possible to advise of this and to discuss any constraints you may have.

Whilst we understand that some organisations may not be able to migrate immediately due to current contractual obligations, we encourage you to do everything within your power to migrate at your earliest possible opportunity.

To support private sector organisations in their migration to HSCN we've created a 5 step customer journey. This is supported by the HSCN Migration Checklist.

Stages 1 to 4 below apply whether you're an existing Transition Network customer who needs to migrate or a new customer looking to join HSCN.

Stage 5 only applies to existing customers migrating to HSCN and customers who want to cease legacy Transition Network services.

The HSCN Buying Guide

The HSCN Buying Guide provides useful information to new and existing customers considering buying a HSCN connection. We recommend you read this document before proceeding through the customer journey

The HSCN Customer Satisfaction Survey

Wherever you are on your migration journey to HSCN, we are keen to understand your procurement and migration experiences and if you’ve completed migration how satisfied you are with your new HSCN supplier and services. 

NHS Digital have created a survey to gather your feedback and we’d be grateful if you would share your experiences with by completing the HSCN Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The HSCN 5 step customer journey: Step 1, contact CN-SPs; step 2, procure; step 3, complete connection agreement; step 4, migrate; step 5, cease N3 circuit

HSCN connectivity is supplied via a marketplace of compliant suppliers (called Consumer Network Service Providers or CN-SPs); you can find details of which suppliers have achieved compliance, and an explanation of the HSCN compliance process on the HSCN Suppliers page. All suppliers can supply nationally to any organisation type.

To procure your HSCN connection we strongly advise you to contact several compliant CN-SPs in order to obtain a competitive quote. All listed suppliers are able to supply connections nationally.

Obtaining pricing for HSCN connectivity - advice for private sector organisations

Private sector organisations currently connected to the HSCN Transition Network (formally N3) are strongly encouraged to purchase and migrate to replacement HSCN connectivity at the earliest opportunity.

Doing so will:

  • deliver significant cost savings in comparison to existing N3 services - organisations who have already procured HSCN connectivity to replace existing N3 services are reporting significant savings within a range of 30-60%
  • avoid any disruption to service as NHS Digital start to close down the N3 legacy infrastructure over the coming months

HSCN connectivity is available now from a choice of suppliers in the open market. So whilst there are a variety of ways that organisations can procure HSCN services, including an HSCN specific dynamic purchasing system managed by the Crown Commercial Service (known as RM3825), private sector organisations can simply contact HSCN compliant suppliers and ask them to quote to provide HSCN connectivity.

Suppliers ready to quote for HSCN connectivity

There are currently a number of network suppliers who have achieved HSCN compliance. This means they are permitted to market and sell HSCN connectivity. NHS Digital have created the HSCN Quote form to simplify the process for customers and HSCN suppliers.

The HSCN Quote Form

Whilst not essential, we advise that organisations use the HSCN Quote Form when asking suppliers to provide pricing so the responses they get back are in a consistent format and easy to compare.

If you would like us to collate quotes on your behalf, please email (referencing “Supplier Quotes” in the title) with:

  • a completed quote form;
  • the names of the HSCN compliant suppliers you wish us to obtain a quote from

Any supplier who has achieved Stage 1 HSCN Compliance or beyond can be contacted to request a quote.

We will then contact your selected suppliers, obtain quotes and return these to you within 15 working days.

Supplier compliance and private sector organisation procurements

NHS Digital wants private sector organisations to acquire HSCN connectivity as soon as possible.

Private sector organisations wanting to obtain relatively simple HSCN connectivity in place of their existing N3 connectivity should seek to engage stage 1 compliant suppliers for prices/quotes now. 

Suppliers do not need to be to be stage 2 compliant in order to quote. You can find details of HSCN compliant suppliers on the HSCN Suppliers page.

Although the majority of stage 1 compliant suppliers are progressing their stage 2 compliance now, achieving stage 2 compliance will happen gradually between now and January 2018. Therefore, having sought quotes from suppliers, private sector organisations should consider the following options:

  1. Award HSCN business to a stage 1 compliant supplier on the basis that they can achieve stage 2 compliance within a defined and contractually bound timeframe.
  2. Award HSCN business to stage 2 compliant suppliers only, accepting that this may temporarily limit the pool of suppliers they can enter into a contract with with. 
  3. Obtain and evaluate stage 1 compliant supplier quotes and propositions/plans for obtaining stage 2 compliance in a timely manner, choose a preferred supplier but then postpone awarding HSCN business to them until they achieve stage 2 compliance. 

In all cases private sector organisations should understand their connectivity requirements and progress with engaging stage 1 compliant suppliers in order to obtain quotes for HSCN connectivity. 

The HSCN Connection Agreement sets out the things HSCN customers must do before and whilst using HSCN.

The Connection Agreement replaces the N3 Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC). In doing this, the arrangements for using HSCN are separated from those relating to accessing data or systems available on HSCN.

Every organisation that wishes to use HSCN must complete a Connection Agreement. By "use HSCN", we mean 'sending or receiving data across HSCN'.

The HSCN Connection Agreement is organisation-centric. Each organisation needs to sign and submit only one Connection Agreement no matter how many locations or HSCN connections they have or use.

Signing a Connection Agreement online

The HSCN Connection Agreement should be signed by an individual in a senior role in your organisation. Signing this agreement will also mean that your organisation is ready to be connected to the HSCN once you've identified an HSCN supplier.

The HSCN Connection Agreement can be signed online using via the HSCN Portal. To register for an account, please complete the self-service registration process. You will need to know your Organisation Data Service (ODS) code and the contact details of the person to sign the Connection Agreement.

Data Security and Protection Toolkit

The Data Security and Protection Toolkit has replaced the Information Governance Toolkit.

The Data Security and Protection Toolkit is an online self-assessment tool that allows organisations to measure their performance against the National Data Guardian’s 10 data security standards.

A current Data Security and Protection Toolkit is no longer a prerequisite for obtaining an HSCN connection. However, all organisations that handle patient data are still required to achieve Data Security and Protection Toolkit compliance and to provide evidence for this through an annual submission. This means that it is still required to access NHS Digital's National Applications such as NHS e-Referral Service (ERS), Personal Demographics Service (PDS) and Secondary Uses Service (SUS).

All organisations that have access to NHS patient data and systems must use this toolkit to provide assurance that they are practising good data security and that personal information is handled correctly.

To find out more about the HSCN Connection Agreement and Data Security and Protection Toolkit requirements under HSCN visit the Connecting to HSCN page.

Once your procurement is complete you'll need to work with your supplier to co-ordinate the delivery and migration of your new HSCN services. Across the country, HSCN suppliers will be working with the NHS Digital HSCN Deployment Office to co-ordinate the overall migration from the Transition Network.

Migration involves cutting-over from existing legacy connectivity to the new HSCN service shortly after the replacement service is commissioned. Migration activities will vary dependent on the circumstances and type of connection you need, but we recommend you read the HSCN migration checklist before ordering a new or replacement HSCN connection.

Depending on your type of connection and the complexity of your migration some of the steps outlined in the checklist may not be required for your organisation. Your chosen supplier should have the knowledge required to support and assist you with the migration process.

Both the implementation and migration activities will be agreed with your supplier of choice. Migrations will be arranged with NHS Digital, while for new connections you need only speak to your chosen supplier, though if you have any questions on HSCN before choosing to connect please contact us at

IP address migration

Whether buying a new connection or migrating from the Transition Network, please see the HSCN IP address management page, HSCN IP addressing policy, and the HSCN IP addressing good practice guidelines for details on migrating your IP address range to HSCN. 

Ceasing your N3/Transition Network circuit

Once you have completed migration to HSCN, or confirmed that you no longer require N3-Transition Network (N3-TN) connectivity, you will be responsible for ceasing your legacy N3-TN services.  Prompt ceasing will minimise your N3-TN payments once HSCN charging begins.

This should follow the normal termination process, as per the pre-existing contract. In summary, the process will include:

  1. Issuing a cease request notice to BT
  2. Organising the collection and/or disposal of legacy network equipment if required. Note that configurations should be wiped by BT at the end of a successful migration process and consumers can choose the best alternative for disposal of obsolete equipment
  3. Where you have a ‘complex’ migration, or services are still in-term, a cease quote is required from BT.  As this can take 20 working days, the cease quote should be requested at least one month before the planned migration date.

Requesting a cease

Once the HSCN service is operational and migration has been successfully completed, or you have determined you no longer require your N3-TN connection, you should raise an BT Continuing Order cease notice with BT to terminate your legacy services.

The cease request should not be initiated before migration has successfully been completed and you are satisfied services are running stably, but should be soon after this point as you will continue to be billed for legacy services until they have ceased which can result in unnecessary dual running costs.

Please request a cease to your existing services by raising a request on the BT Continuing Orders portal via the BT CRM at or by phoning the BT Continuing Orders Helpdesk on 0800 085 0503.

Alternatively, contact your Continuing Orders point of contact to request to start this activity.

Upon receipt of the termination notice, BT will perform the decommissioning of any legacy equipment that is required and provide a decommissioning report. 

Migration Manager contacts

Every organisation connected to the Transition Network will be supported by the HSCN procurement team to buy replacement HSCN services. After selecting your HSCN supplier you will be assigned a  Migration Manager to assist with your migration to HSCN

To get in contact with the appropriate Migration Manager to discuss your HSCN procurement and/or migration further please email

It is imperative that your organisation makes both its procurement and its migration plans known as soon as possible.

When contacting NHS Digital please provide your organisations ODS code. Find your organisations’ ODS code via the ODS Portal.

For guidance, policy and best practice documents covering all technical aspects of HSCN see the technical guidance page. Documents on this page are regularly reviewed and updated by NHS Digital.

Case studies from new and migrated users of HSCN, with info on their experience of connecting to HSCN and the benefits they’ve realised.

NHS Digital have published guidance on data off-shoring and cloud computing for health and social care. This guidance is applicable for all organisations connecting to HSCN.

The NHS and social care data: off-shoring and the use of public cloud services has been written jointly by NHS Digital, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Improvement.

Guidance in brief

NHS and social care providers may use cloud computing services for NHS data. Data must only be hosted within the UK, European Economic Area (EEA), a country deemed adequate by the European Commission, or in the US where covered by Privacy Shield.

Senior information risk owners (SIROs) locally should be satisfied about appropriate security arrangements (using National cyber security essentials as a guide) in conjunction with data protection officers and Caldicott guardians.

Help and advice from the Information Commissioner's Office is available and regularly updated.

Changes to data protection legislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 25 May 2018, puts strict restrictions on the transfer of personal data, particularly when this transfer is outside the European Union. The ICO also regularly updates its GDPR guidance.

NHS Digital has provided some detailed guidance documents to support health and social care organisations.

Last edited: 28 August 2019 10:37 am