A total of 40 organisations have been selected to test the Department of Health’s information accreditation scheme that will award quality marks to bodies producing health and social care information.

The initiative will ‘kite mark’ information producers, accrediting the source of information rather than the information itself, to make it easier for people to be assured that the health and social care information they are accessing is reliable.

Making up the 40 organisations chosen to test the scheme are 24 charities, 10 public sector bodies including a PCT and six hospitals, and six organisations from the commercial sector.

The commercial organisations selected include BUPA, the BMJ Group and Patient UK, a health information website backed by GP computer supplier EMIS.

The testing network will test the scheme’s national standard, share experiences to support the development of case studies and help to develop the visual identity of the quality mark.

The scheme is due to launch in 2009 following the completion of the testing phase and all organisations from the public, voluntary and commercial sectors can apply to become a member. Information producers will have to meet the requirements of the national standard which will apply to information in any format including leaflets, booklets and online information.

Health minister Ann Keen said the test sites would be invaluable in providing knowledge and insight for organisations considering joining the scheme in future.

She added: “There is much information out there that it’s hard for people – both the public and professionals – to know what can be relied upon. A scheme with a recognisable quality mark will assure them that information is from a reliable source.”

Useful link

DH information accreditation scheme