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National Back Office for the Personal Demographics Service

The National Back Office (NBO) provides a national data quality service. It's responsible for the management of NHS Numbers and PDS records, investigation and resolution of data quality incidents on Personal Demographics Service (PDS) demographic records, and the provision of a Tracing Service to approved organisations.

What we do

We're responsible for the: 

  • management of NHS Numbers and PDS records
  • investigation and resolution of data quality incidents on PDS demographic records
  • provision of a Tracing Service to approved organisations

Home Office tracing service

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Home Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital to process information requests for the purposes of tracing immigration offenders was suspended in May 2018 and fully withdrawn on 9 November 2018.

The Home Office can still request non-medical information to locate an individual where this is in the interests of safeguarding an individual and necessary to protect a person's welfare. Any such request would be considered by NHS Digital’s Welfare Assessment Panel.

As at 31 March 2021, NHS Digital has not released any information to the Home Office on these grounds since the MOU was suspended in May 2018.


Tracing Service review

A review to assess the appropriateness, effectiveness and operational efficiency of our tracing services was undertaken during 2015 and 2016. The review was published in November 2017.


Fair processing

The Personal Demographics Service (PDS) is the national electronic database of NHS patient details such as name, address, date of birth and NHS Number (known as demographic information). More information about how this information is used can be found in the PDS fair processing statement.


Further information

internal Data quality incidents

The Personal Demographic Service (PDS) National Back Office (NBO) can update incorrect data items on the PDS.

internal National Back Office Tracing Service

The Personal Demographics Service (PDS) National Back Office (NBO) provide a Tracing Service under specific legislation to a range of NHS and non-NHS bodies.

internal Demographics Batch Service Bureau

This service has been decommissioned and replaced by the Data Access Tracing Service (DATS). All enquiries should be directed to enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk

internal GDPR information for the National Back Office

Find out why and how we process your data in the National Back Office for the Personal Demographics Service system, and your rights. This is part of our GDPR information on how we handle data.

Last edited: 20 April 2021 3:22 pm