In 2010, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) launched a programme to regularly provide relevant, actionable, and measurable information about quality of care and service performance across health and adult social care. These indicators and their supporting methodologies were assured under a rigorous governance structure.
Acknowledging the value of such indicators, section 268 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 formalised this work and set an obligation for the HSCIC (now known as NHS Digital) to create and maintain a National Library of Quality Assured Indicators.
Recognising that NHS Digital’s approach had significant synergies with that of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in approach to assurance, development and publication of indicators, an evaluation of the extent to which a library of assured indicators could satisfy NHS Digital's statutory duty was completed in 2019. This evaluation included a view of the parallel indicator work undertaken by other bodies such as NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NICE, was completed in 2019.
As a result of this evaluation, NHS Digital and NICE announced a collaborative partnership for the ongoing delivery of the national library. The partnership, which started in April 2020, uses the strengths of each organisation and removes existing duplication and confusion in the creation and publication of national indicators of quality in care.
The service underpinning the partnership provides the means to assure, publish and maintain:
- proposed new indicators in relation to the provision of health care, public health and adult social care in England
- those indicators currently published by NHS Digital plus those where the assured status has lapsed, or will lapse, during the period of this agreement
The initial period of this partnership will run until April 2023.