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Our strategic outcomes will act as the overarching aims with which we develop and deliver services over the coming years. These outcomes have been developed with stakeholders from across the HSC and our partners in supporting health and social care.


The outcomes will help shape and guide key digital priorities that HSC will deliver and will  to effect positive change for  the delivery of health and social care in Northern Ireland.

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Greater visibility

Digital will provide the population of Northern Ireland greater visibility and control over treatment and care journeys.

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Improved experience

Digital solutions will put quality, safety and improved experience at the heart of all new processes, systems and ways of working across health and care.

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Joined up care

Effective and joined up care delivery and support services through systems integration and streamlined information flows.

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Digital will enable our people to work more efficiently and collaboratively across standardised systems.

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Use of data

Intelligent use of data will optimise performance and harness population health insights, whilst ensuring robust data protection standards.

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Digital will support the acceleration of research and innovation to gradually embrace system leading disruptive and cutting edge solutions.

How does DHCNI work?

The purpose of DHCNI will include:

  • Creation of a new integrated and collaborative leadership team spanning the current silos of the Department of Health (DoH), the Public Health Agency (PHA), the Business Services Organisation (BSO) and the six HSC Trusts;
  • Setting regional policy and developing best practice for HSC technology, digital and data – including data-sharing and transparency;
  • Use of portfolio management tools and techniques to reduce administrative activities and focus more on strategic improvements;
  • Building a comprehensive programme plan to map dependencies between the various programmes and activities;
  • Developing a library of data and technology principles, policies and standards for Health and Care including cyber security so that HSC care systems have security designed in from the start;
  • Helping to improve health and social care by delivering agile, user-focused projects in collaboration with Trusts and other service providers;
  • Supporting the use of new technologies by the HSC, both by working with industry and via its own prototyping and development capability including SBRI;
  • Ensuring that common technologies and services are designed so service providers do not have to reinvent the wheel each time – once for NI approach;
  • Identifying how we can build a digital design capability for system-wide thinking and planning;
  • Championing and developing digital training, skills and culture so our staff are digital-ready;
  • Developing our digital eco-system, working across the service and with our research, academic and private sector partners through a new programme of engagement.

DHCNI governance

The Northern Ireland code of good practice for corporate governance in central government departments defines the way in which Public Sector organisations and their Arm’s Length Bodies (ALB) are directed, controlled and led. It defines relationships and the distribution of rights and responsibilities among those who work with and in the organisation, determines the rules and procedures through which the organisation’s objectives are set, and provides the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance.

DHCNI has undertaken a governance review and has established a new Governance Framework which addresses Digital Governance. DHCNI has focussed on improving the overall management of digital services within Health and Social Care (HSC) to ensure the public get the most value from investment

This framework will enable HSC to manage digital risks effectively and ensure that the activities associated with digital services are aligned with DHCNI’s overall strategic objectives. This is different to IT/Digital management which focuses on the planning, organising, directing and controlling of IT resources.

DHCNI is committed to:

  • Ensuring that all decisions link to Departmental priorities and the Digital Strategy;
  • Actively engaging with our stakeholders and ensuring that digital delivers what they need;
  • Operating in an open and transparent manner and communicating all decisions promptly and working in accordance with agreed principles;
  • Supporting programme and project owners and holding them accountable for the delivery of benefits, and quickly identifying the impact of any failure to deliver benefits on the wider system to facilitate mitigation.

There are seven main Boards within the new DHCNI Governance Structure – each Board and a description of its role, is set out below:

Name of BoardRole
DHCNI BoardTo ensure that the Digital Strategy aligns with key Departmental policies, ratifying investment decisions made at DHCNI Portfolio Board and providing a framework of governance, clarity and direction in relation to digital health and social care decision making. Membership is a sub-set of the Management Board for Rebuilding HSC Services.
DHCNI Portfolio BoardTo ensure the Digital Portfolio is designed to meet the strategy and outcomes set by the DHCNI Board and delivers against these. To resolve investment conflicts, prioritising investments of <£500k and recommending priorities for investments of >£500k to DHCNI Board when demand exceeds supply.
Enterprise Architecture BoardTo determine and maintain the oversight for new or changed Enterprise Architecture artefacts including: principles, standards, architectures and guidelines.
Strategic Information BoardTo provide strategic direction and oversight to the HSC System regarding all aspects of information including Data Standards.
Digital Optimisation BoardTo monitor performance and support continuous improvement of services and systems in place.
Digital Capacity and Capability BoardTo promote the development of a sustainable, capable workforce in order to support the delivery of high-quality integrated and transformed services enabled by digital technology.
HSC Information Security BoardTo determine the strategic oversight of all aspects of Information Security across the HSC.

The DHCNI Board, Portfolio Board, Enterprise Architecture Board and the Strategic Information Board have all been established and work is ongoing to set up the remaining Boards in the near future.

If you have any questions about our Governance structure you can contact us at DHCNIContact@hscni.net

Page last updated: 30 March 2023