ICS intelligence functions graph

In 2020, NHSE announced the expectation that ICSs should develop “shared cross-system intelligence and analytical functions that use information to improve decision-making at every level.” This expectation has been followed by more detailed guidance for health and care systems setting out:

  • What an intelligence function is
  • National enablers that can support their development
  • How intelligence functions can help with decision-making; and
  • What a good intelligence function looks like.

Alongside this work, the Strategy Unit, with input from the Nuffield Trust, were commissioned by NHSE to create a toolkit to help ICSs introduce intelligence functions into their system plans. This toolkit provides a curated set of materials offering ideas, inspiration, and practical advice for getting started with an intelligence function that can be tailored to local contexts. The toolkit provides systems with:

  • A clear description of different types of analyses systems can undertake, and the skills and resources they will need to execute them
  • A set of actionable ‘tips for getting started’ with an intelligence function
  • Available resources that can address some of the essential questions that will need to be explored as intelligence functions are developed; and
  • A set of case studies describing how ICSs have already made progress in establishing their intelligence functions.

This toolkit is another example of the Strategy Unit’s ongoing commitment to furthering the use of high-quality analysis across the NHS. For example, it should be considered alongside our recommendations for advancing the analytical capability of the NHS and its ICS partners. It is also clearly linked to our work with Decision Support Networks.

The Strategy Unit is also organising the first national Health and Care Analytics Conference (HACA 2023) to celebrate and advance analysis as delivered by the NHS and local government across the UK.