The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust provides mostly emergency 999 ambulance services to 20% of mainland England – in areas such as Devon, Cornwall, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, and more. Overall, their service covers 10,000 square miles, serving a population of over 5 and a half million.
The Trust employs around 6,000 people, a figure made up of staff members like paramedics, emergency care assistants, advanced technicians, and nurse practitioners. Managing over 1 million incidents every year, the Trust is dedicated to providing consistent, high quality care to its service users. SWAST always puts their patients first and aims to create conditions where people feel safe and looked after.
SWAST’s operations, geographically, are widespread, and their data processing is complex, serving millions of patients a year, and they process large quantities of special category data on a daily basis.
Their internal Information Governance team wanted an external Data Protection Officer to mentor and support the team and to help them with data protection matters when they didn’t have the capacity or capabilities to do so internally.
The team found themselves in need of extra temporary support to manage a high volume of intricate data subject access requests. To address this, they sought the expertise of an interim DPAS SAR Consultant.
Additionally, the team sought to engage another consultant to assist in the redevelopment of their data protection framework. This included the task of formulating and integrating new policies and procedures to enhance their data governance.
During our engagement, DPAS has supported SWAST with a range of responsibilities, diligently ensuring that the organisation consistently operates in adherence to data protection laws, the DSP Toolkit, FOIA, and additional regulatory requirements. The decision to invite an external organisation to deliver this specialised expertise has mitigated many of the obstacles the organisation encountered. DPAS’s team has contributed valuable, detailed subject matter expertise that was not available internally, significantly benefiting the organisational processes.
Collaborating with SWAST for over the past four years, DPAS has offered a comprehensive outsourced DPO service, and interim consultancy services to aid in upholding data protection compliance. Having this additional expertise has allowed SWAST to have the reassurance that legal requirements are being met, which has further bolstered the Trust’s ability to focus its resources on key service delivery requirements.
“DPAS have been hugely helpful in recent years in ensuring that SWAST are doing our best and continuing to comply with information governance best practice and compliance. From our experience, everyone in the team is knowledgeable and extremely competent. We have benefited from a range of services from DPAS and specifically acting as our Data Protection Officer, offering training, advice and adding to our Information Governance capacity which was welcome and much needed.”
Tim Bishop – Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust