Home OpinionMarket Analysis Record numbers of care providers checking their data and cyber security arrangements

Record numbers of care providers checking their data and cyber security arrangements

by Kirsty Kirsty

70% (18,000) of all CQC registered care provider locations have an up-to-date Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) in place – up from just 15% before Better Security, Better Care – the national support programme on data and cyber security – started in 2021.

Better Security, Better Care’s impact report, published at this week’s Cyber UK Conference, highlights the difference they are making – well beyond basic compliance with the DSPT.

Despite launching during the Covid pandemic which had a tremendous strain on the care sector, the programme has managed to reach and engage record numbers of care providers.

Almost five times more care providers are now using the DSPT to help them to keep information safe.

Since the launch in 2021, the programme has delivered 2,200 webinars, 10,000 hours of one-to-one support and 14,000 hours of helpline support. Its free elearning resource has attracted over 31,000 views since launch in December 2023.

Speaking about the programme, director Michelle Corrigan said:

“What’s been really striking is that our impact is so much wider than the use of the DSPT. We are helping care providers to really get to grips with practical issues – from awareness raising and cyber security training for their staff, to improving their policies and practices around issues such as staff’s use of their own devices for work purposes.”

An independent evaluation by Cordis Bright concluded that the programme demonstrated value for money in four main areas:

  • Return on investment in terms of preventing costly cyber-attacks and data breaches. Their analysis indicates that for every £1 spent on the programme, approximately £2.50 was saved in terms of avoiding the cost of cyber incidents on the social care sector.
  • Reduction in administration costs for both social care providers and for the NHS through access to NHSmail, digital record-keeping and Proxy Access achieved as a result of publishing the DSPT.
  • Delivering a strategic focus for engagement between social care providers and the integrated care systems and integrated care boards which supports the wider agenda of integration and closer alignment between health and social care.
  • Efficiency savings to the wider health and social care system arising from the digitisation of systems enabled by the completion of the DSPT.

The programme is now well-established as the adult social care delivery infrastructure for cyber resilience, and it continues to work closely with the Joint Cyber Unit on, for example, briefing the sector on cyber incidents.

As well as supporting care providers to complete the DSPT, the team has been keeping our eye on emerging issues.

Over the last three years, they have commissioned 20 special projects to increase understanding of data protection and cyber security issues for social care’s diverse sector. In 2023, they launched the Action Research Fund to harness sector knowledge and expertise and to identify and test new approaches.

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