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IT system - overview and requirements

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) system offers a range of approaches to record data at the point of measurement. Organisations need to choose which approach is best for them and any providers collecting data on their behalf.

Data collection options

Online data input at point of measurement

Data is entered directly to the online (internet browser‑based) NCMP system.

Offline data input at point of measurement

An Excel-based spreadsheet (pre‑populated with pupil details) is downloaded to a laptop from the online NCMP system. Measurements are recorded on the spreadsheet at the point of measurement. The spreadsheet is then uploaded to the online NCMP system once the laptop has been returned to the office.

Manual data input via pre-printed lists

Using the online system, lists of pupils to be measured are printed. Measurements are recorded onto the hard copy lists at the point of measurement. The measurements are then manually entered into the online NCMP system once the lists have been returned to the office.

Measurements inputted into an alternative system

Measurements are initially inputted into an alternative system, such as Child Health Information Systems (CHIS). This can either be at the point of measurement or after the measurements have been recorded another way. Pupil records are then extracted from the alternative system and uploaded into the online NCMP system.

Factors which may affect the suitability of these options include:

  • whether staff undertaking the measurements have laptops
  • whether internet access will be available at the point of measurement
  • whether other (non NCMP) measurements or assessments are being recorded at the same time
  • how the data collected might best flow between the NCMP system and other systems used to record child data such as CHIS. It should be noted that the NCMP system has been developed with the functionality to import and export pupil data

IT requirements

As the system is an online, browser‑based system, the IT requirements for its use system are minimal but include:

Internet browsers

To access the online tool users will need to have one of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer, versions 7 and above
  • Firefox
  • Chrome

Microsoft Office

The NCMP offline spreadsheet data entry aid is based on Excel 2010 in Office Open XML format. This will work for Office 2007 onwards. For older versions of Office a downloadable compatibility pack will need to be applied. This can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.


To use the offline spreadsheet for recording pupil measurements, users will need a laptop that they can take on their school visit. Since laptops will hold sensitive personal information, disk encryption and password protection is of high importance.

User access

Any staff in the local authority or provider organisation needing access to the system will need to be set up as a user. Subject to appropriate authorisation, each authority will initially be set up with a super user. Super users will then be able to set up any additional users that are required locally. 

Information governance

As with the previous system, several information governance implications exist. Transferring the responsibility for NCMP to local authorities increases these implications, as there may be additional data flows between the local authority and the provider of the measurement exercise. Since local operation of the system will vary considerably depending on approaches for delivery of the NCMP, local authorities will need to determine how these implications relate to them, and should engage the support of their information governance officer and data protection officer.

You will need to consider:

  • any update that may be required to the local authority's data protection registration
  • ensuring local delivery of the NCMP is within the information governance requirements set by the NHS Information Governance Toolkit and the Local Authority Regulations 2013
  • design of pre-measurement letters to parents to include privacy notices. Public Health England's (PHE) NCMP operational guidance includes a sample letter for this purpose. In most circumstances the sample letter should serve as an appropriate privacy notice. However, as local processes may vary, authorities should check whether this covers all organisations who they will they will share data with
  • drafting of data sharing agreements to govern the sharing of data with the other parties involved in the collection of the NCMP data.

Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:21 pm