The National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care VAC-1723

Body: The National Data Guardian
Appointing Department: Department of Health and Social Care
Sector: Health and Social Care
Location: Remote with some travel to Leeds or London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £45,000 per annum
Time Requirements: Two to three days per week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Dr Nicola Byrne has been appointed as the National Data Guardian for 3 years from 17 March 2021.

The appointment will involve a time commitment of 2 to 3 days per week. Remuneration for the role will be at a rate of £45,000 per year.

This appointment is made in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Governance for Public Appointments. The regulation of public appointments against the requirements of this Code is carried out by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The appointment is made on merit and political activity played no part in the decision process. However, in accordance with the Code, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Dr Nicola Byrne has not declared any political activity.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    28/09/2020 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    19/03/2021 at 11:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministers are seeking to appointment the National Data Guardian (NDG).

The health and care system collects and holds valuable data from citizens using its services.

The National Data Guardian (NDG) role was created in November 2014 to be an independent champion for patients and the public on matters of their confidential health and care information. The purpose of the role is to make sure that people’s information is kept securely, and that it is shared when appropriate to achieve better outcomes for patients. The NDG does so by offering advice, guidance and encouragement as well as scrutiny to the health and care system.

In December 2018 the Health and Social Care (National Data Guardian) Act 2018 was passed. The law placed the NDG role on a statutory footing and granted it the power to issue official guidance about the processing of health and adult social care data in England. Public bodies such as hospitals, general practices, care homes, planners and commissioners of services have to take note of guidance that is relevant to them, as do organisations such as private companies or charities which are delivering services for the NHS or publicly funded adult social care.

The NDG may also provide more informal advice about, and assistance in relation to, the processing of health and adult social care data in England. Before publishing any guidance, the NDG must consult such persons as the NDG considers appropriate.

The NDG must produce an annual report as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of a financial year and send it to the Secretary of State before the end of the following June.

Personal data is precious to those who give it in confidence when they seek care and this is recognised through the development of the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Its effective use in line with the appropriate privacy protection can improve diagnosis, treatment, the efficiency of the system and overall outcomes for individuals, not least in supporting technology-driven innovations. Success in realising these benefits from health and care data relies on securing and maintaining public trust in how that data is used.

Person Specification

The Department of Health and Social Care values and promotes diversity and encourages applications from all sections of the community. The boards of public bodies should reflect the population they are there to serve. Boards also benefit from fresh perspectives, and we are always keen to encourage candidates with private sector experience to consider applying for our roles.

Essential Criteria

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.

This is a high-profile role which would ideally be filled by someone with knowledge of health and social care organisations and the system, the information governance framework within which they operate and in particular the common law duty of confidentiality, how modern information technology can impact on the privacy of individuals, and public attitudes towards the use of health and care data.

The successful candidate must demonstrate the following:

Leadership – A successful track record of credible and strategic leadership including working with other organisations to deliver results and the ability to challenge systems in health and/or social care when needed.

Technical – Understanding and experience of the practicalities of the security and use of sensitive data and the evolving technology that underpins it.

– Experience using data to improve organisations and building data sharing within organisations.

Communication – An ability to demonstrate a strong commitment to the seven principles of public life, and the importance of the well-being of citizens.

– An ability to relate to and influence members of the public and other stakeholders, including government.

Judgement – Independence and impartiality.

– Ability to identify, evaluate, and manage risk and to build mitigating strategies.

Additional Information

The National Data Guardian (NDG) advises and challenges the health and care system to help ensure that citizens’ confidential information is safeguarded securely and used properly.

The National Data Guardian (NDG) role was created in November 2014 to be an independent champion for patients and the public when it comes to matters of their confidential health and care information. The purpose of the role is to make sure that people’s information is kept safe and confidential, and that it is shared when appropriate to achieve better outcomes for patients. The NDG does so by offering advice, guidance and encouragement to the health and care system.

In December 2018 the Health and Social Care (National Data Guardian) Act 2018 was passed. The law placed the NDG role on a statutory footing and granted it the power to issue official guidance about the processing of health and adult social care data in England.

The NDG wants to build trust in the use of data across health and social care and is guided by these 3 main principles:

  • encouraging clinicians and other members of care teams to share information to enable joined-up care, better diagnosis and treatment
  • ensuring there are no surprises to the citizen about how their health and care data is being used and that they are given a choice about this
  • building a dialogue with the public about how we all wish information to be used, to include a range of voices including commercial companies providing drugs and services to the NHS, researchers discovering new connections that transform treatments, and those managing the services

Although sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NDG operates independently, representing the interests of patients and the public. The NDG also appoints an independent group of experts – the NDG Panel – to advise and support this work.

There is more information about the backgrounds and experience of NDG Panel members in NDG Panel biographies.

The UK Caldicott Guardian Council (UKCGC) is a sub-group of the National Data Guardian Panel. The chair of the council sits on the NDG Panel.

The council is the national body for Caldicott Guardians, who are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of people’s health and care information and making sure it is used properly. All NHS organisations and local authorities that provide social services must have a Caldicott Guardian.

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of the National Data Guardian.

To make an application please email your CV, a supporting letter and completed monitoring forms to: – please quote VAC-1723 in the subject field.

Applications must be received by midday on 28th September 2020.

In making an application please note the following:

Supporting letter

The supporting letter is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in the person specification. It will benefit the Advisory Assessment Panel if you can be clear which specific evidence you provide relates to which criteria. Providing separate paragraphs in relation to each criterion is common practice. Please write all acronyms in full first.

Please ensure your full name, the role to which you are applying and the corresponding reference number for the post are clearly noted at the top of your letter.

Please limit your letter to two pages, and type or write clearly in black ink.

Conflicts of interest

If you have any business or personal interests that might be relevant to the work of National Data Guardian, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your Supporting letter.

If appointed, you will also be required to declare these interests on appointment and they will be entered on a register which is available to the public.

Standards in public life and ensuring public confidence

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of the public and Government. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history (including any convictions or bankruptcy) that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment to Ministers or ALB or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue/s in your supporting letter. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media and blogs. Due Diligence may be carried out on any publicly available information and shared with the Advisory Assessment Panel.

The panel may explore with you any issues you declare before they make a recommendation on the appointment.

Failure to disclose such information could result in an appointment being terminated, as those who hold public appointments are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of corporate and personal conduct and are required to subscribe to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, as part of agreeing to the terms and conditions of appointment. You can access this document at:

There are also circumstances in which individuals may not be considered for appointment, due to them not meeting certain eligibility criteria for appointment. For further information, please refer to Section 2.3: Eligibility Criteria

If you wish to discuss any queries on conflicts, please see the contacts section.


Please ensure your CV includes:

  • Your full name, title, home address, personal contact telephone numbers (land line and mobile), personal email address and details of any twitter accounts and LinkedIn accounts including your twitter handle/username.
  • Similar contact details for two referees who will support your application. One referee should be the person to whom you are/were accountable in your current/most recent appointment or position of employment. Please indicate the relationship of each referee to you. References will be requested for short-listed candidates prior to interview
  • Brief details of your current or most recent post and the dates you occupied this role. Please identify any past or present Ministerial appointments.

The appointment of the National Data Guardian will be subjected to a pre-appointment hearing with the Health and Social Care Select Committee. For further details see Section 2.2. Please be aware that the CV of the Secretary of State’s preferred candidate for appointment, with personal details removed, will be sent to the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Monitoring form

Please complete the monitoring form. Diversity monitoring information will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel assessing your application.

Political activity information is primarily for monitoring purposes only, however if you are shortlisted for interview, this information will be shared with the selection panel. The reason for this is that it is appreciated that such activities may have given you relevant skills, including experience gained from committee work, collective decision-making, resolving conflict and public speaking. If you have had such experience and you consider it relevant to your application for this post, you should also take the opportunity to include it separately in your supporting statement. If possible, you should not, however, identify the relevant political party in your statement.

If you are appointed to this role, please note that any political activity you declare will be published in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Department of Health and Social Care operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for disabled people. The Equality Act 2010 defines a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Under the GIS a disabled candidate will be selected for interview if they meet the essential criteria for the post.

If you wish to apply under the GIS please complete the GIS form and return it with your application.

All applications will be acknowledged by email after the closing date.

For further information regarding the selection process, please contact

Daniel Clemence

Appointments Team

Tel: 0113254 5335


For further information regarding the role of National Data Guardian and the role of please contact Katy Lindfield:

Tel: 0113 25 46166


Please quote reference VAC-1723 on all correspondence.

If you choose to apply, we would like to thank you in advance for your time and effort in making an application.

Extended2 - NDG Candidate Info pack
15. GIS_Form
12.1 DHSC_Privacy-notice-v03
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