The Confidentiality Advisory Group precedent set review pathway has been developed to enable a more timely review process for applications that share the same issues as previous applications that have been reviewed by CAG.
application falls into one of the agreed precedent
set categories your
application will be processed under this pathway. The categories describe
commonly-arising situations which have been identified and discussed at
meetings of the CAG, where the expertise of a broad range of members is applied
to the establishment of precedent advice.
To apply under the pathway you will need to:
the guidance on this page carefully
the Confidentiality Advice Team (CAT) via 020 7972 2557 to book your slot at
the next available precedent set meeting.
to the precedent set categories and state the relevant category for
your application at the time of booking.
- Apply using the standard CAG application form
The Confidentiality Advice Team will screen the application to ensure that it is suitable for the precedent review pathway, and may ask for further information before confirming the review pathway.
If your application falls outside of the scope of the precedent set sub-committee, it will be directed to the standard review pathway (a meeting of the CAG).
Applications are reviewed in correspondence within 30 days of the date that an application is confirmed valid, on or after the submission date for the meeting. (The 30 day review period only begins on the submission date, regardless of whether a valid application was submitted prior to this date). Our customer charter sets out the standards you can expect from us in more detail.
To be reviewed through the precedent set pathway your application should:
within one of the precedent categories and should not raise any new or significant concerns or
risks related to confidentiality, scope, purpose, methodology or governance.
a clearly defined exit strategy: a
plan to remove the need for ongoing Section 251 support.
security assurances – these are always required for any organisation processing
identifiable data. Specific guidance is provided within the categories to help
you to determine which organisation should provide the assurance.
the category specifies that data should be anonymised, this cannot include the
following information: date of birth, date of death, postcode. See the ICO guidance on anonymisation for further information.
- Not fall within any of the exclusion criteria.
Applications meeting any of the following criteria will be excluded from review by the precedent set sub-committee and considered at a full CAG meeting:
to information about mental health, sexual health, learning disabilities, potential
abuse, social care data and/or prison populations.
involving access to free text, except for the following categories where an
exception can be applied:
a) Applications submitted under precedent set category 3 (‘where applicants are accessing data onsite to extract anonymised data’), where the data in question will be extracted from medical notes at a GP surgery. or
b) Applications submitted under precedent set category 10 (‘incidental disclosure made to an applicant who is observing practices and procedures in health and social care’).
These exceptions will only apply where access to free text is time-limited, and no free text will be removed from the site.
establishment of a national database or one with a higher risk due to the
quantity of information to be held and/or the information security arrangements
to be implemented.
data collections where consent is not intended to be sought.
access to, or linkage with, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
research register, genetic information or non-health data.
transfer of confidential patient information outside of the European Economic
Area (EEA), or to organisations who intend to use the information for
where support is requested indefinitely without a specified exit strategy.
The potential outcomes are the same as for the standard review process, with the exception of the following:
- Escalation to meeting of the CAG – this will occur if it becomes clear to the sub-committee that one of the exclusion criteria is met (if not immediately apparent at initial assessment stage), or that the application involves more complex issues than those initially identified. Applicants will be kept informed of the reasons for escalation and given the opportunity to provide more information before the application is considered at the meeting.
Precedent Set Review Pathway
Once a category is added to the precedent set pathway, responsibility for the review of applications falling within that category is delegated to the precedent set sub-committee of the CAG. The sub-committee consists of two members and one CAG official (chair, vice chair or alternate vice chair).