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Data Sharing Framework for Success Delivered

DescriptionPromotional leaflet for launch of eCare Framework 1.0
ISBN
Official Print Publication DateMay 2006
Website Publication DateMay 19, 2006

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Peter Russell photo
Peter Russell
Head of
Efficient Government
Delivery Group
The delivery of the eCare Framework v1.0 Release, along with the Managed Service Model which will support its delivery, is a significant milestone achievement for the sharing of personal data across the Scottish public sector. Together, the Framework and the Model form an efficient and effective business solution to the challenge of sharing personal data in a disciplined, accountable way, allowing front-line staff to deliver improved services.

This launch represents the culmination of activity over a number of years, developed in partnership between the Scottish Executive, all agencies involved in the newly constituted Local Data Sharing Partnerships, and the private sector.

The Local Data Sharing Partnerships thus begin life from a considerable position of strength, but with significant challenges still ahead, particularly around local business change management, which will be key to enabling practitioners to deliver better outcomes for the citizens of Scotland.

My team and I look forward to working in partnership with you to deliver these better outcomes.

eCare Framework v1.0 Release

The eCare Framework is the name given to a cohesive set of technology standards, architectures, infrastructure and software that enables multi-agency information sharing within the public sector in Scotland.

"The eCare Framework Version 1.0 Release provides public sector agencies, and their technology partners, with a single strategic approach to secure electronic data sharing in Scotland."The eCare Framework provides public sector agencies, and their technology partners, with a single strategic approach to secure electronic data sharing in Scotland.

The release of the eCare Framework provides the capability to address the technical barriers and costs to data sharing by agreeing a standard technical architecture. The framework allows for multi-agency data exchanges through a fully supported technical implementation and shared service. The key components of the eCare Framework include a set of agreed technical standards and architectures produced by the Scottish Executive's Data Sharing and Standards Division.

These comprise data standards and policies, technical strategy, security, infrastructure and application standards and architectures. These include strategic technical approaches for citizen identification and citizen identity management, citizen consent and legal disclosure for data sharing in a multi-agency environment.

Technological aspects of the eCare Framework include a secure, hosted shared service facility providing national network infrastructure connectivity between public sector agencies in accordance with common security standards. A managed service-oriented software solution, designed on common application and data standards, enables agencies to exchange messages and data.

"A managed service-oriented software solution, designed on common application and data standards, enables agencies to exchange messages and data."Based on a federated data model, individual data sharing partnerships manage and extend their own common data holdings.

Also included as part of the eCare Framework are matching tools to enable partnerships to manage the reliable and robust identification of citizens between agencies and a tool that can be embedded within local systems to enable practitioners to viewing the data disclosed to the multi-agency environment.

Although not part of the eCare Framework itself, eCART is a modern browser based application for recording and in turn sharing information.

Managed Service Model

It has been agreed that sites which have not started implementing a locally hosted multi-agency store will move to a solution whereby the eCare Framework products will be centrally managed. The first central stores will be up and running by July 2006. Other projects will migrate to this centrally managed service as their locally hosted servers come up for renewal, which will be within the next 1-4 years.

This approach does not mean that one single central database is created; the federated model that has been consistently adopted by the eCare Framework is retained.

Provision of services from a central data centre offers a number of potential advantages in terms of economy and quality of service provision, support, planning and development. Being located in the data centre means that a system is part of an enterprise-class physical, data and system security environment. Having fewer system components, with consolidated processing and storage requirements, means that the same level of service can be provided and supported more economically, and makes contingency planning and management of future development and growth easier. Centralisation of the system's processing and data also makes it possible to develop business processes that would be impractical in an environment of locally-stored data.

This co-location of servers has an additional potential benefit, in terms of system audit and the collection of performance indicator data, which is currently being explored.

This managed service solution will be funded centrally, with no initial or ongoing costs falling to local data sharing partnerships.

Standards-Based Development

To support effective, legal data sharing, it needs to be ensured that the information that is being shared carries the same meaning across the wide range of different practitioners that may be involved. The information content of the eCare Framework was specified and defined through the development of Data Standards, which provide the linkage between the information requirements of policy, local practitioner needs and the technical components of the framework. Development was carried out in a consultative, collaborative manner, with ownership of specific sets of standards by appropriate policy and practitioner groups to ensure maximum operational buy-in and optimum re-use of existing standards work in partner agencies. This development approach, with its separation of data and technical standards, provides the flexibility and responsiveness that allows the same core eCare Framework to support an increasingly wide range of national policy requirements.

Crucially, a set of generic core data standards (developed jointly with NHS Scotland to ensure future interoperability with health systems) provides an agreed common view of the citizen that is applicable across all agencies that may need to share personal data. Having established this common view, the more specific information requirements of, for instance, Single Shared Assessment or integrated children's services can be defined, then built on the core.

Delivery Through Partnership Working

The framework has been delivered in partnership by the Data Sharing and Standards Division, the local data Sharing Partnerships, and private sector IT companies.

The Ayrshire and Arran Local Data Sharing Partnership, highlighted the benefits for citizens and practitioners:

"This can only enhance best practice for the practitioner and improve the quality of the service and care provided to the citizen.""The Ayrshire and Arran Partnership welcome the launch of the eCare Framework, which will allow the sharing of citizen-centred information to happen quickly and efficiently. This can only enhance best practice for the practitioner and improve the quality of the service and care provided to the citizen."

ATOS Origin have acted as the Prime Systems Integrator throughout the development of the eCare Framework. Steve Langmead, General Manager, Atos Origin Scotland, said:

"Atos Origin is proud to be the prime IT systems integrator for this work. We firmly believe that this will deliver better care, protection, and assistance to the people of Scotland, through the enablement of secure information sharing between professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and the criminal justice system.

"The success to date is testament to the professionalism of the Data Sharing and Standards Division, and their determination to put the welfare of those receiving care above all else."

Stuart MacDonald, Director of Data Sharing and Standards, endorsed the launch of the Framework, saying:

"The success to date is testament to the professionalism of the Data Sharing and Standards Division""We can now demonstrate efficient and effective information sharing across the Scottish public sector, in a multi-agency environment underpinned and supported by national standards, continuous quality improvement, and a proven culture of partnership working. This is a major achievement by the many people involved, across Scotland, and across sectors."

Well, It Worked Last Time have provided technical architecture consultancy to the Data Sharing and Standards Division, throughout the architecture and design process. Technical Director, Robbie Harris, welcomed the launch of the Framework:

"I am delighted with the positive partnership that Well, It Worked Last Time has developed throughout its involvement with this work. The release of the Framework represents a landmark success."

Anite Framework Contract

"This is a new way of working which better meets the needs of the Scottish public sector and supports service delivery improvement to its citizens."To deliver required outcomes, the eCare Framework must be consumed by business applications used by practitioners. In the case of the Anite SWIFT application, this is being done as a single procurement for the Scottish users, funded by the Scottish Executive. This will lead to incremental delivery of functionality being deployed in the SWIFT product between 2006 and 2008.

This model of procurement is one that could be used for any vendor who has multiple instances of their product in Scotland.

Endorsing this successful approach, Mike Kingswood, managing director of local government at Anite, stated:

"Anite is determined to support this work in the best possible way. This contract, the first of its kind, clearly demonstrates Anite's commitment to Scotland and the national work; it opens the door for local authorities to share a whole range of cost-effective services in the future. This is a new way of working which better meets the needs of the Scottish public sector and supports service delivery improvement to its citizens."