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NCMP IT system - system overview and requirements

Data collection functions

The NCMP system offers a range of approaches to record the data at point of measurement. Each of these may have advantages and disadvantages for the local authority. Organisations will need to consider which approach will best suit their circumstances and those of their providers who may be collecting the data on their behalf.

The options are:

  • Online data input at point of measurement: Data is entered directly to the online (Internet browser‑based) NCMP system.
  • Offline data input at point of measurement: An Excel-based spreadsheet (pre‑populated with pupil details) is downloaded from the online NCMP system to a laptop. Measurements are recorded on the spreadsheet at the point of measurement. The spreadsheet is then uploaded to the online NCMP system once the laptop has been returned to the office.
  • Manual data input via pre-printed lists: Using the online system, lists are printed which detail those pupils to be measured. Measurements are recorded onto the hardcopy lists at the point of measurement. The measurements are then manually entered into the online NCMP system once the lists have been returned to the office.
  • Measurements input into an alternative system: Measurements are initially input into an alternative system such as Child Health Information Systems (CHIS). This may either be at the point of measurement or after the measurements have been recorded by some other means. Pupil records are then extracted from the alternative system and uploaded into the online NCMP system.

Factors which may affect the suitability of these options include:

  • Whether staff undertaking the measurements will have laptops.
  • Whether Internet access will be available at the point of measurement.
  • Whether other (non NCMP) measurements or assessments are being recorded at the same time.
  • How the data collected might best flow between the NCMP system and other systems used to record child data such as CHIS. It should be noted that the NCMP system has been developed with the functionality to import and export pupil data.

IT requirements

As the system is an online (Internet browser‑based) system, the IT requirements for its use system are minimal. The following is a list of IT considerations:

  • Internet browsers: To access the online tool users will need to have one of the following browsers:
  • Microsoft Office: The NCMP offline spreadsheet data entry aid is based on Excel 2010 in Office Open XML format. This will work for Office 2007 onwards. For older versions of Office a downloadable compatibility pack will need to be applied. This can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.
  • Laptops: To use the offline spreadsheet for recording pupil measurements, users will need a laptop that they can take on their school visit. Since laptops will hold sensitive personal information, disk encryption and password protection is of high importance.

User access

Any staff in the local authority or provider organisation needing access to the system will need to be set up as a user. Subject to appropriate authorisation, each authority will initially be set up with a "super user". Super users will then be able to set up any additional users that are required locally. 

Information governance

As with the previous system, several information governance implications exist with the new system. The transfer of responsibility for NCMP to local authorities increases these implications as there may be additional data flows between the local authority and the provider of the measurement exercise. Since local operation of the system will vary considerably dependent on approaches for delivery of the NCMP, local authorities will need to determine these implications as they relate to their authority, and should engage the support of their information governance officer and data protection officer. Consideration will need to be given to:

  • Any update that may be required to the local authority's data protection registration.
  • Ensuring local delivery of the NCMP is within the information governance requirements set by the NHS Information Governance Toolkit v 11 and the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013.
  • Design of pre-measurement letters to parents to include privacy notices. Public Health England's (PHE) NCMP Operational Guidance includes a sample letter for this purpose. In most circumstances the sample letter should serve as an appropriate privacy notice. However, as local processes may vary, authorities should check whether this covers all organisations who they will they will share data with.
  • Drafting of data sharing agreements to govern the sharing of data with the other parties involved in the collection of the NCMP data.
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