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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

Information Governance

All NHS providers, including community pharmacies need to provide information governance assurances to the NHS on an annual basis. These assurances are provided through completion of an online assessment tool, the NHS Information Governance Toolkit. The deadline for submitting the 2012/13 return is the 31st March 2013.

There are no significant changes to the information governance requirements in 2012/13. 

The Department of Health have confirmed that a global exemption has again been applied to requirement 319 for community pharmacies whilst the Department of Health and PSNC complete their discussions on business continuity planning. The exemption is applied during an overnight process and has also been applied to version 10 assessments that have already been published.

Requirement 319 will need to completed in the 2013/14 version of the Toolkit (scheduled release date June 2013) and the PSNC will shortly be publishing business continuity materials to assist pharmacies to comply with the business continuity planning requirement by 31 March 2014.

Pharmacies are expected to attain Level 2 against each of the pharmacy information governance requirements. Whilst optional, it is not mandatory for pharmacies to have evidence to comply with the Level 3 requirements. The detail of the requirements can be found in the NHS Information Governance Toolkit.

Changes have made to improve the usability of the Toolkit for the 2012/13 submission:

  • Pharmacy batch submission functionality has been introduced to allow pharmacies with a head office information governance function to publish one assessment that will populate the assessments for all of their branches. More information and guidance on how to access and use this functionality can be found in the 'help' section of the Information Governance Toolkit
  • New functionality has been added to improve user navigation between requirements. A drop-down list is available which enables users to move through the different requirements more easily when completing an assessment or just viewing the Requirements.

Note, these requirements apply to England only. Different arrangements apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Guidance on the Requirements

The requirements change annually. A contractor workbook was published in 2009/10. This should be read in conjunction with an update published in 2010/11. There have been no signficant changes to the requirements in 2011/12 or 2012/13.  Click on the links below to access these resources: 


2009/10 Pharmacy Contractor IG Workbook (PDF File)

Hard copies of this resource are no longer available.





 2010/11 IG Update (PDF File)

 Hard copies of this resource are no longer available.




Guidance on using the Online Toolkit

Click on the link below to access a user guide to the online toolkit.

Pharmacy User Guide to the Toolkit

Guidance for Head Offices on Pharmacy Batch Submission

Technical support in using the Toolkit including obtaining access rights and password re-sets can be obtained from the Exeter Helpdesk ( or 0845 3713671).

Templates & Tools

Comprehensive guidance and tools have been developed to support meeting the requirements including template policies, standard operating procedures and patient information material. Click here to access them.


Click here to access a range of FAQs.


All staff working in pharmacies that have access to personal information about patients must undertake basic training on Information Governance. Click here for more information on the training options.


As part of the 2009/10 community pharmacy contractual framework funding settlement, the DH and PSNC agreed an allocation of £23 million of funding to support the implementation of the Information Governance requirements. This equates to over £2000 for the average pharmacy contractor. This was paid out through the general funding arrangements rather than via a specific fee.

PSNC is currently in discussion with the Department of Health to finalise the funding allocation for business continuity planning. To date £12m has been allowed. As with the Information Governance funding, this was paid out through the general funding arrangements rather than via a specific fee.

There are also ongoing costs, in maintaining compliance with the requirements, making annual Information Governance returns via the Toolkit and implementing changes made to the requirements by the NHS. As part of the funding arrangements for the national contractual framework, annual adjustments are made to pharmacy funding to reflect costs necessitated by significant additional regulatory burdens on contractors. Regulatory burdens are assessed on a retrospective basis. PSNC will be negotiating with the Department of Health on funding to cover ongoing costs.


Pharmacies can obtain support with queries linked to the NHS Information Governance Toolkit from the Exeter Helpdesk ( or 0845 3713671). The Exeter Helpdesk will be able to support pharmacies with the day-to-day administration of their account on the Information Governance Toolkit, for example re-setting forgotten passwords and can provide technical support in using the Toolkit.  Please note the DH Informatics Helpdesk pharmacy query email mailbox ( has now closed.

Pharmacy contractors can continue to obtain general support on the IG requirements, by contacting the PSNC Information Team.  

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DOWNLOADS: Some documents are available in ‘Microsoft Word’ format. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can read these documents by downloading the free 'Word Viewer'. This program can be downloaded at the Microsoft website