PERFORMANCE: Sussex Community NHS Trust’s quality and risk committee has questioned the “integrity” of its quality accounts, following a review.

According to board papers, the committee looked at the integrity of key data contained within the draft quality accounts and noted the “high number of areas where the source of data had not yet been established or, where the source had been established, evidence of verification (via board or other governance report) had not been found”.

It added that the committee also reviewed performance against the Audit Commission’s recommendations on quality accounts, which were published in March.

The review identified the following four issues:

  • Reporting and publishing – a process for production, review and approval of the quality accounts is not in place;
  • Data quality objectives – data quality objectives, linked to broader business objectives, are not set and monitored;
  • Leadership and responsibility – the Trust’s committee structure does not incorporate responsibilities for data quality; and
  • Planning – a data quality audit and improvement programme is not in place.

The report states: “Given these issues, the committee concluded that there is limited assurance on the integrity of the draft quality accounts.”

To rectify the situation, the committee recommended that the board implemented a data quality strategy – including “objectives, systems and controls and clear governance arrangements to manage the end-to-end process of data collection, recording, retention and interpretation”.

It also recommended that the board agreed a process for the production of the 2011-12 quality accounts that included “sufficient time for completion of the committee’s review of the integrity of the required data”.