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Operations

The Operations team are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and support of operational services.

We ensure the health and social care products under NHS Digital’s remit are delivered from a programme environment into an operational environment, where they can be managed on a day to day basis in line with agreed product roadmaps and strategies.

At the appropriate point in a programme's delivery the run and maintain elements of a service are transitioned into operations. 

The Operations function aims to bring efficiencies and economies of scale by taking products into a maintenance and improvement environment, right through to product retirement.  It aims to standardise the management of products which the NHS and NHS IT Suppliers interface in a controlled and secure manner.

What we do

Known as business as usual (BAU) Operations, or Ops, we support the ‘maintain’ aspects of live service management. We work with three main parties: 

  • NHS Digital, (this includes programmes, projects, subject matter experts and directorates)
  • our technology partners, such as third-party system developers and suppliers and NHS Digital development teams
  • health and social care (HSC) organisations 

Our two core roles are Transition and BAU Operations. 

The primary role of the Operations function is to provide a permanent home for products and services after they have been developed by programmes, projects or development teams and are ready to be made available to our external customers. Moving home involves a process called transition (to ops).  

Our second role is to put products, services and applications in the hands of health and care professionals, “to transform the NHS and social care”. There are various ‘BAU operations’ processes to achieve this, depending on the type of data or service and the external organisations involved. These include the following processes.

Onboarding

This process involves providing the technology partner with access to an NHS Digital dataset or service that they will often integrate with their HSC applications or systems. The onboarding process has a risk management and assurance focus to ensure that we, our technology partners and HSC organisations take appropriate responsibility for using data safely to provide health and care services.

Monitoring

Once a product, service or application is being used by an HSC organisation, the Operations function continues to monitor technology partners and the deploying organisation for compliance with relevant requirements and standards (these vary with the data, product or service). As with the onboarding process, the emphasis is upon self-assurance by our partners and deploying organisations, but the Operations function provides an oversight and governance role.

Product management

As the demand on NHS Digital’s services changes, our products, services and applications need to evolve to meet those changing demands. Our product management role is to assess changes and developments and implement them based on impact and urgency. These changes may be mandated, imposed due to statutory changes or needed to improve functionality.

Onboarding

The Operations function uses standardised processes to onboard a technology partner, using a risk management and assurance approach that ensures the safety and security of data. As part of these processes, Operations provide the following onboarding artefacts. Partners must complete:

  • the Supplier Conformance Assessment List (SCAL) - a technical document which details the consumer supplier approach to information governance, clinical safety and functional testing
  • the Connection Agreement (example) - a legal contract between the technology partner and NHS Digital, which sets out the terms and conditions that the partner must agree to that enables them to use an NHS Digital service
  • the End User Organisation Terms (example), which provides confirmation that the end user organisation has assured itself and accepts its obligations and responsibilities - signature of the End User Organisation Terms must be by someone with authorisation to accept the end user organisation’s responsibilities as set out in the End User Organisation Terms and, having entered into contract with the technology partner, approves use of the service
Last edited: 19 November 2019 2:14 pm