News

First free e-learning resource on data protection for care staff launched

Care providers can now improve and assess their staff’s knowledge of data security using a new elearning resource, specifically designed for the care sector.

Better Security, Better Care – the national programme supporting adult care providers with data security – has developed the course in response to a gap in the market.

Speaking about the new course, Michelle Corrigan, Programme Director of Better Security, Better Care, said:

“Care providers told us that they struggle to access relevant training for their staff on data protection and cyber security. Our course content reflects all care settings and staff roles – from home care and residential services, to frontline care workers and administrators. There are lots of videos, case studies and interactive elements which enable staff to understand their role in keeping both print and digital data safe.

“Care providers also said that it can be challenging to meet the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) requirement to train at least 95 per cent of staff on data protection in the previous 12 months. This course has been specifically designed to meet that requirement.

“We have made the course completely open access, without any need to register or login because we want to maximise the number of people using it – especially staff in small care services. But it is also available as a SCORM compliant resource for providers who have a Learning Management System.”

The course, which reinforces the Data Security Standards and the Care Certificate, includes four modules and one online assessment. Each module takes around 10 – 20 minutes to complete, and there is one single assessment covering topics from all four modules. Staff can complete the modules in any order and over the course of several days.

Care managers, trainers and staff can access the course and corresponding user guides at www.digitalcarehub.co.uk/elearning

The course modules are:

  • Module 1: Data protection rights and responsibilities covers the importance of data security and protection in the care system and staff’s personal responsibility to handle data safely.

  • Module 2: Keeping data secure covers the importance of keeping data secure through good record keeping and data disposal, and how to share confidential data securely.

  • Module 3: Threats to data security looks at the threats to data security that employees might encounter, including common types of fraud and scams and how to safely use and keep digital and paper records.

  • Module 4: Data breaches explains what data breaches are, the causes of data breaches and what to do in the event of a breach.

  • Assessment quiz: The assessment includes 20 questions relating to all four modules. Trainees are required to get 80% or more correct in order to download the certificate.

The course, which was developed and tested in partnership with care providers, has been welcomed by the sector.

Dr Jane Townson, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance representing the 10 national care provider trade associations, encourages members to use the course saying:

“Care providers are increasingly aware of how important it is to train their staff on good data and cyber security practice. But until now, there hasn’t been anything really tailored to the specific needs and circumstances faced by our sector’s staff.

“This new elearning course from Better Security, Better Care is the missing piece of the puzzle – and it complies with the training requirements in the Data Security and Protection Toolkit.

“The Care Provider Alliance encourages all care providers to use the resource to improve and assess their staff’s knowledge.”

Tom Rottinghuis, Data Protection Officer at The Forward Trust who was on the Working Group that developed the course said:

“Our safeguarding manager and two of our counsellors … were particularly pleased to see that there is a focus on the need to share – as well as the need to protect – people’s information, and it really shows that data protection is not the enemy of safeguarding and care, but a crucial part of it. You can and must share information in order to ensure people get the support they need.”

“One of the most valuable aspects of the new resources is that they are short… Given the pressure our staff are under, and the high turnover, it is so valuable to have something that is clear, straightforward and flexible to use.”

Care staff who were involved in testing the course fed back:

“This will help train all staff easily and at no cost. Very clear and easy, I look forward to using these modules for our staff!”

“I think it is really digestible, and has managed to strike the balance of including all relevant and necessary information whilst the training does not feeling too info heavy to digest.”

“These modules are tailored to the social care context and reflect real situations that a diverse variety of care workers face in different settings. It’s visual and in plain English so it is very accessible to a wide range of staff including those with English as a second language.”

Visit www.digitalcarehub.co.uk/elearning

Contact

Media enquiries: iris.steen@digitalsocialcare.co.uk Tel 07792 636761

Notes to Editors

Better Security, Better Care is the national and local support programme to help adult social care providers in England to store and share information safely. It covers paper and digital records.

The primary focus of the Better Security, Better Care programme is to help care providers to understand the importance of data and cyber security, and complete an annual, online self-assessment using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

The Data Security and Protection eLearning Course was developed by IPC Oxford Brookes on behalf of Better Security, Better Care, with technical development from Fireant Creative.

Source Digital Care Hub - Published on December 7th 2023 by Iris Steen

Cyber security in social care: a shared journey

With Cyber Security Awareness Month behind us, Ethan Gray, Cyber Security Policy Manager for the Department of Health & Social Care, reflects on the journey the sector has made so far towards strengthening its cyber security arrangements.

With an increasing focus across Adult Social Care on digitisation, supported through programmes such as Digitising Social Care, we must also keep our eyes on supporting the sector to improve its cyber security resilience.

Care services have a duty to ensure that those receiving care, as well as their friends and families, and those working in care settings, can be confident that their information is kept safe and secure. In pressurised settings, it would be easy to overlook, but maintaining good cyber hygiene helps protect everyone in care and must be a focus as we continue on this digitisation journey.

Health and Care Cyber Strategy

In March 2023, we published the Cyber Strategy for Health and Social Care. This outlines our vision of a cyber secure health and social care sector in 2030 across five different pillars:

Pillar 1: focus on the greatest risks and harms
Pillar 2: defend as one
Pillar 3: people and culture
Pillar 4: build secure for the future
Pillar 5: exemplary response and recovery

These five pillars will support every organisation across Health and Social Care to meet the vision of a cyber resilient future.

Whilst working on this strategy, we made sure that both Health and Social Care were considered across the pillars. As with the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT), which has been tailored for social care, we need to do the hard work of understanding the sector and co-designing the approach. This must be proportionate to the potential threats and harms the sector face, which is detailed in pillar one and is the approach taken to the work outlined below.

Current Picture

Thanks to the great efforts of the Better Security, Better Care programme, we have come a long way from where we started. In April of 2021 when the programme began, compliance with the DSPT sat at just 14% of CQC-registered care providers, and now I’m happy to say that we are sitting at 66%, with over 17,500 providers now compliant with the toolkit. This is a huge achievement, with credit due to the many Local Support Organisations who work on the programme. This hard work was rightly recognised at the National Cyber Awards recently, and the team will continue to raise awareness and compliance, helping to ensure a secure future.

Looking to the Future

Following on from the progress over the last two and a half years, the Better Security, Better Care programme continues to work on improving DSPT compliance across the sector, targeting hard to reach parts of the sector to bolster compliance. This includes specific DSPT improvement targets on homecare and on organisations new to the sector.

As outlined in the strategy, by 2025 we will publish a comprehensive and data-led landscape review on the status of cyber security within Adult Social Care. This will provide an outline of what best practice looks like within the sector and how we as a national team can help plug any gaps there may be. This will also look at cyber incidents the sector has experienced in the past year, and how we are continuously learning to improve our response and support.

We know that meeting the DSPT requirement for having staff trained can often prove difficult, but we’re pleased to say that Better Security Better Care, with the launch of the new Digital Care Hub website, is working to produce a suite of e-learning tools for the sector, that will be available later this year. This ensures that cyber knowledge is easily accessible to all those working in social care, and will help care services to satisfy training requirements as part of the DSPT.

While October marked Cyber Security Awareness Month, the importance of protecting information should know no calendar boundaries. It’s crucial that we continue to focus on fostering a strong culture of cyber security across the sector, as it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of those working in and receiving care.

Digitising Social Care 6th Nov 2023

Sheila Scott OBE

Sheila was the Project Lead and driving force behind the DSPT project for Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Northampton from its inception until she sadly passed away on the 20th of July 2023.

The project is now being taken forward by her long-time friends and business partners Claire Ferrari and Keith Anscombe and we hope we do justice to her memory.

RIP Sheila.