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Caldicott Decision Making and what happens if there is disagreement between Caldicott Guardians?

Simon Robinson, Barrister, Five Paper discussed Caldicott decision making and what happens if there is disagreement between Caldicott Guardians at today’s conference. In his presentation Simon discussed in depth:

  1. Legal framework around decision making
  2. What if there is disagreement?
  3. Accountability and governance of Caldicott Guardians
  4. Legal and ethical decision making processes and documentation

1.           Key bases of the legal framework around decision-making:

A.Statutory obligations

B.Common law principles

C.Public law principles

Caldicott Guardians must be understand and comply with legal obligations. The statutory codes of practice as well as non-statutory guidance can help Caldicott Guardians to achieve and maintain their knowledge base.

Caldicott Guardians must comply human rights and data protection rights

2.           Disagreements

Caldicott Guardians should clearly set out in writing what their view is on a information sharing/disclosure issue. This must clearly explain their reasons.

Guardians must know when and where to go for advice – including UK Council of Caldicott Guardians, and to take legal advice where necessary, such as if court orders disclosure.

Health & Social Care bodies should develop robust processes to assist them to resolve disputes

3.           Accountability and Governance

  • UK Council of Caldicott Guardians – exemplar job descriptions and information on accountability arrangements
  • Caldicott Guardian should have seniority and clear authority to influence policy development and strategic planning
  • Governance systems must support Guardian’s role
  • Governance: clear reporting lines to top level of management, and annual reporting to Trust Board or equivalent
  • Caldicott Guardians and their organisations must understand where their accountability arises from: contractual, statutory, potential for legal action from individuals, regulators.

4.           Legal and ethical decision making processes and documentation

  • HSCIC guide to confidentiality in health and social care: organisations should put policies, procedures and systems in place to ensure confidentiality rules are followed
  • Use Information Governence Toolkit Assessment
  • Encourage people to report concerns that rules have not been followed
  • Caldicott Guardians must ensure knowledge base is current
  • Organisations support CGs to develop clear decision making processes
  • Adopt quality management systems (ISO 9000:2008)
  • Record all decisions and reasons using clear standardised documentation
  • Establish clear audit trail and hold documents securely
  • Review all decisions
  • Ensure regular reporting and oversight


Information Commissioner

Health and Social Care Information Centre

Information Sharing

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Simon Robinson’s Biography:

Simon is a barrister of 23 years experience, specialising in employment and equality law, education and mental health law. Simon has advised in many cases involving healthcare professionals and also has experience of adult and child safeguarding cases. Simon practice includes mental health and mental capacity cases and he has represented patients before the Mental Health Tribunal and many of his cases involve human rights issues.  Simon is also an Accredited Mediator, dealing with workplace/employment, civil and commercial cases, and he is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Caldicott Guardian Training Course
Tuesday 19 May 2015, London

Wednesday 1 July 2015, London

Monday 12 October 2015, London

Tuesday 1 December 2015, London

Legal Masterclass: Confidentiality, Data Protection and Information Governance
Friday 18 September 2015, London


Download: Simon Robinson's presentation

6 May 2015


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