Joint Research Office


Applications to use data without consent now go to the HRA

23 May 2013

Researchers must now apply to the Health Research Authority (HRA) Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) if they intend to process personal data without seeking consent.

The National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care (NIGB) was abolished on 31 March 2013 and its duties were transferred to the CAG.

CAG has been established to provide independent expert advice to the Health Research Authority (HRA) for research applications and the Secretary of State for Health for non-research applications on whether applications to access patient information without consent should or should not be approved.

The CAG (under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006) has the ability to set aside the common law duty of confidentiality which ordinarily assumes consent will be sought prior to processing.

The role of CAG is to review applications and advise whether there is sufficient justification to access the requested confidential patient information. Using CAG advice as a basis for their consideration, the HRA or Secretary of State will take the final approval decision.

More information on the new process is available on the HRA website.