techUK's Interoperability Charter

  • techUK techUK
    Wednesday29Jul 2015

    Sign up to techUK's Interoperability Charter which sets out key principles to enable the change needed to deliver better integrated health & care.


techUK's Health & Social Care Interoperability Charter

Background to the Interoperability Charter

The NHS is changing. Simon Stevens' Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View proposes new models of integrated care that will radically transform the traditional boundaries between primary, secondary, community, and social care. techUK members that supply to the health and social care market welcome these changes and wish to make a meaningful contribution, by making information systems more open and easier to integrate, to enable the free-flow of patient information between products, and hence across the care continuum.

Our Vision for Interoperability (March 2015) sets out the changes to interoperability standards that are needed to deliver radical service transformation. Signatories to our Interoperability Charter, which symbolises the core principles outlined in our Vision document, are committed
to ensuring that their information systems are neither financial nor technical obstacles, but are the enablers of change in support of integrated care.

In September 2015 NHS England announced its support for techUK's Interoperability Charter. Inderjit Singh, Head of Enterprise Architecture, NHS England said: "We support the Interoperability Charter and the need for suppliers to provide open interfaces within and across care settings, and therefore will be directing organisations starting to plan their blueprint for interoperability to the Charter for their supplier partners."

techUK is involved in the Code4Health Interoperability Community, which was launched by NHS England at EHI Live on 04 November. The Interoperability Community is a positive step towards meeting the principles set out in our Charter and we intend to use the forum to help drive forward the development of interoperability standards that adhere to the commitments we have set out for the NHS and Local Government.

techUK is also a member of INTEROPen, an open collaboration of individuals, industry, standards organisations and health and care providers, who have agreed to work together to accelerate the development of open standards for interoperability in the health and social care sector.

Sign up to techUK's Interoperability Charter: 


In order to sign up to the Interoperability Charter, Suppliers will commit in writing to adhere to the five key principles:

  1. We will make available to other suppliers, the NHS and Local Authorities, the technical specifications of our interfaces without charge.
  2. Where there is customer demand we agree to co-operate without charge with other suppliers in developing interfaces.
  3. We will not reinvent the wheel and will use internationally recognised standards where relevant.
  4. We will only charge reasonable and proportionate fees to the end user organisation for Licensing, Implementation and Support services required for the interfaces.
  5. Where new interfaces or enhancements to existing interfaces are required, we will not charge twice for the same software development.


In return for these new principles of interoperability we ask that the NHS and Local Government reciprocate by guaranteeing that: 

  1. Nationally defined interoperability standards are based on internationally recognised standards and upon pragmatic, real-world requirements driven by business needs, in partnership with appropriate industry bodies such as techUK.
  2. Where accreditation or compliance testing is deemed necessary it will be kept lighttouch, proportionate, open to all, adequately resourced, and free.


Why you should sign the Charter


  1. You are making a public commitment to being part of the information revolution that will radically change the way services are delivered in the NHS.
  2. NHS England supports the Charter and the need for suppliers to provide open interfaces within and across care settings, and therefore will direct organisations starting to plan their blueprint for interoperability to the Charter for their supplier partners
  3. Your company will be included in techUK’s marketing activity related to the Charter, including press releases, tweets, correspondence with key stakeholders at a national, regional and local level and on the Charter’s website.
  4. You will be entitled to use techUK branded content as part of your own marketing material. 


Compliance Procedure


Signatories of the Charter commit to abide by the five principles. Any concerns regarding the compliance of a signatory should be directed in writing to the Head of Health and Social Care, Ben Moody. A formal compliance procedure involving affected parties will be undertaken which may result in removal from the Charter if the organisation is deemed not to be compliant.


The voluntary Charter has been developed and ratified by techUK's Health and Social Care Council, following input from the wider membership of the techUK Health and Social Care Programme. techUK will be inviting its members and the broader supplier community to endorse the Charter.

The Charter will be self-regulated. techUK's role will be to co-ordinate the development of the Charter, in terms of seeking supplier and stakeholder endorsement and providing regular updates on support.

This Charter has been developed in good faith and every effort has been used to reflect potential new ways of working. It is only intended to provide thought leadership. techUK does not accept any liability arising from use of, or reliance on, the Charter. techUK will not regulate compliance with the terms of the Charter. 


For further information on how to sign up to the Charter, please fill in the following form :

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