Skip to main content

Caldicott Guardian Skills and Understanding

Caldicott Guardians will have a clear understanding of the Caldicott Principles and with the more recent publication 'Information: To share or not to share? The Information Governance Review' commonly referred to as Caldicott2. Guardians should explore the 'Caldicott Principles' and be aware of the issues relevant to each of them; although the situation will not be the same for each organisation.

Guardians need to be aware of legislation governing the management of patient identifiable information and should ensure that the goals set out in their organisation’s Information Management Strategy include:

  • Data Protection and Confidentiality
  • Improved Data Quality Assurance
  • Improved Information Security
  • Improved Access to Information
  • Development of Information Governance
  • Training

Caldicott Guardians will understand the concepts which underpin the Information Governance agenda and acknowledge that key parts such as, risk factors, standards and best practice will change over time. By ensuring that appropriate 'policies and procedures' are identified and put in place, it will provide a framework to guide staff and practitioners in making decisions, which follow a clear rationale, are proportionate, justified, and properly documented.

Caldicott Guardians must be recognised as an important influence at the highest level of the organisation, one whose opinion and contribution in the role of Guardian is of the highest standard and is extremely valued. 

Guardians are expected to be senior health professionals; in larger organisations it might be a Board Level Clinician, while in a smaller one it might be the senior partner with responsibility for Clinical Governance.

Independent Contractors such as GPs and Dental Practices may have a specific member of staff who has been assigned responsibility for Information Governance and Caldicott, however they will report to a Senior Clinician on these matters.

Caldicott Guardians or Leads should have a high profile amongst colleagues and be seen as approachable and empathetic, whilst taking a strong stance when required. They must be able to instill confidence in their colleagues by making justifiable and practical decisions about uses of confidential personal information. Therefore, the appointed person needs to be very familiar with key influential guidance and key legislation. Apart from understanding the background and legal framework, which govern the role, a Guardian will need to:

  • Understand what is in place in their organisation to meet the Information Governance framework
  • Instigate and manage the annual programme of work for this area
  • Have appropriate 'training' in place for all levels of staff
  • Be aware of the arrangements in place for Caldicott Guardians

Caldicott Guardians and those working to support them can access additional advice and assistance through their professional organisations, discussions with other Guardians and through the work being undertaken by the 'UK Council of Caldicott Guardians'.

The Information Governance Support for Primary Care Service have developed a template 'Caldicott Guardian Checklist' for the use of GMP Caldicott Guardians. This has been adapted from the UKCGC Caldicott Guardian Checklist. A template 'Caldicott Guardian Decision Log' has also been developed and is available for Caldicott Guardians to use to record their decision-making if they wish.