The Health and Social Care Information Centre has been made a full member of the Informatics Services Commissioning Group, which will be renamed the National Information Board.
Despite being responsible for delivering the vast majority of national informatics services to the NHS, the HSCIC has only been an ‘observer’ of the national board.
The newly named NIB will continue to be chaired by NHS England’s director of patients and information Tim Kelsey, who will become the ‘national information director’.
Department of Health director general information and group operations, Karen Wheeler, told the January ISCG meeting that a review of its governance was carried out because the group had “developed at such a pace that it was showing evidence of growing pains”.
“Some in the system have been confused about how ISCG processes work and how they align with their internal processes,” she told the meeting.
Wheeler confirmed the change of name to the National Information Board and reaffirmed Kelsey’s position as chair.
She said the new arrangements will bring it greater power and certainty of delivery by better aligning the responsibilities of the DH, NHS England, and the HSCIC. Some of the sub-groups will be re-distributed from NHS England to the HSCIC and the secretariat function will move from NHS England to the DH.
“The NIB will work for the entire system and will be directly accountable to the Department of Health,” she said.
The new arrangements should be in place by this April.
HSCIC interim chief executive Alan Perkins said the HSCIC is pleased to be formally recognised as an equal partner on the board and that the review will bring clarity for those at the heart of detailed commissioning conversations.
The ISCGG has been strengthening its grip on the national healthcare IT agenda since it was first announced in late 2012. It plans to publish a national technology strategy in June, which all the NHS arms lengths bodies will feed into.