Supporting Caldicott Guardians across the UK

Learning

Learning and development

The importance of specialist training for senior information leadership roles, including Caldicott Guardians and SIROs, has recently been highlighted by the National Data Guardian and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In addition, the Information Governance Toolkit requires appropriate training and support for Caldicott Guardians.

Your learning needs as a Caldicott Guardian are individual and depend on many factors such as the type of organisation your Caldicott role supports and the particular challenges that your Caldicott function faces.

Undertaking a Caldicott role-focussed SWOT analysis on appointment and annually may help you identify a clear vision of your current strengths, potential developments and areas for improvement, and help inform your own individual learning needs analysis.

Things to consider include:

Strengths and weaknesses

  • your past experience and existing skills and knowledge;
  • your own culture and values and how they influence your thought processes in your Caldicott role;
  • your available resources: time, money, commitment;
  • your own style of learning, of leadership, of management and how it influences the Caldicott role.

Opportunities and threats

  • your stakeholders’ engagement and expectations e.g. patients, citizens, staff, colleagues, other organisations;
  • organisational values, mission and strategy;
  • the skills and knowledge that may already be readily available;
  • the knowledge or skills gaps which may adversely affect the Caldicott function.
  • the Caldicott interventions you have been responsible for recently;
  • organisational resources or engagement: time, money, commitment.

Influencing skills. Positive leadership and influencing all takeholders — from Board and frontline staff to regulators — will help to embed information awareness and culture into the organisation, for the benefit of patients/service users and staff.

Legal aspects. The sixth Caldicott principle Comply with the law can be a challenge for Caldicott Guardians. In larger organisations, access to legal, information governance, and records management advice is readily available, but for smaller organisations this can be problematic. Key legislation is included in Annex C, but an awareness of how the legislation is applied should be included as part of the development of the Caldicott role.

Research and development In some organisations, a significant number of Caldicott decisions are based around sharing information for research purposes. If you work in one of these, ensure you have sufficient knowledge and skills to make these decisions or include this as a development need.

A SWOT analysis will inform your learning needs analysis which can then be used to populate your personal development plan for continuous professional development, revalidation and appraisal purposes. Your plan, if you have many roles, may be a holistic one which incorporates your Caldicott role learning needs alongside other needs. Alternatively, you may develop a plan that is solely Caldicott-focused.

As well as providing evidence of your learning and development for appraisal or revalidation or CPD, you may also consider writing your plan in such a way that its achievement can be used as evidence for your organisation’s IG Toolkit assessment.

Your plan for your learning and development should be refreshed annually in response to the Caldicott plan for your organisation.