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Stage 2: Access to Personal Demographics Service

Describes how all end user organisations wishing to query a subset of demographic information (via SMSP for PDS) must obtain usage and settings approval.

Essential first steps

There are two essential pre-requisites for accessing PDS on Spine; submission of a satisfactory Data Security and Protection Toolkit and an HSCN connection.

Usage and settings approval

As described in the NHS Digital compliance process, if an end user organisation will be deploying the client, usage and settings approval must be obtained. This involves NHS Digital assessments of:

  • If the purpose for which the data is required represents a legal basis for sharing that data with the organisation, if the purpose is not direct care (as defined in the Caldicott Review 2013). The PDS Access Request scrutiny process is owned by NHS Digital Information asset owner for PDS and described in detail in the PDS access request brief. The PDS Access Request process is concerned with the authority for a non-NHS organisation to access the PDS; it is the organisation that is granted authority at the end of the process. The associated legal agreements are the DSFC and the DSA which are also explained in the briefing document.
  • The system(s) and setting in which the data will be used to ensure that Information Security and business process requirements are complied with.

The overall Usage and Settings assessment is achieved by completing the PDS Access Request Form and submitting the information to NHS Digital. 

On receipt of the PDS Access Request Form, the NHS Digital Demographics Team will scrutinise the details, including:

  • the organisation type and type of service
  • the purpose of requesting the data (the ‘use case’ including business flows of data, systems that data will flow through, user base etc.)
  • governance and IG arrangements, including existing data sharing contracts with NHS Digital such as Data Sharing Framework Contract (DSFC) and any Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs) between the requesting organisation and NHS Digital. Each purpose will have a separate DSA.

The outcome of this scrutiny will be approval (or rejection) of the access request.

Best practice guidance for demographics data

The following best practice guidance documents give effective methods of searching the PDS and managing complex cases:

Further information

internal Stage 1: Getting started quick start

Enables a developer to become familiar with a typical journey that they will take to develop and deploy their solution in a live care setting.

internal Stage 3: Development

Information and resources for developers who are starting to build the SMS client.

Last edited: 6 February 2023 11:21 am