The purpose of the Caldicott Guardian originated from the 1997 report produced by the Caldicott Committee and chaired by Fiona Caldicott which dealt with the use of Patient Identifiable Information held by NHS organisations.
The idea of a Guardian was to have in each NHS organisation a senior person responsible for the oversight of the arrangements in that organisation for the use and sharing of clinical information. Subsequent work extended the requirement in 2002 to appoint Guardians into councils with social services responsibilities (Local Authority Circular LAC 2002/2).
In 2005 an elected body was created made up of Caldicott Guardians from organisations involved in the provision of health and social care services in the United Kingdom. It was set up to facilitate the sharing of good confidentiality practice and the promotion of a national approach to confidentiality and information sharing.
The Caldicott principles apply to the use of confidential information within health and social care organisations. They also must be followed when such information is shared with other organisations and between individuals, both for individual care and for other purposes.
The principles were updated in December 2020 by the National Data Guardian and are as follows:
- Principle 1: Justify the purpose(s) for using confidential information.
- Principle 2: Use confidential information only when it is necessary.
- Principle 3: Use the minimum necessary confidential information.
- Principle 4: Access to confidential information should be on a strict need-to-know basis.
- Principle 5: Everyone with access to confidential information should be aware of their responsibilities.
- Principle 6: Comply with the law.
- Principle 7: The duty to share information for individual care is as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality.
- Principle 8: Inform patients and service users about how their confidential information is used.
Caldicott Guardian contacts
For Cambridgeshire County Council the Caldicott Guardians are:
Principal Child and Family Social Worker
Safeguarding & Quality Assurance
People and Communities
Assistant Director: Adults and Safeguarding, Safeguarding and Quality Service
People and Communities