Overview - National Standard Microsite
National data and technology standards help policing deal with the problems of increasing expense, complexity and inconsistent infrastructure. The development of National Standards helps drive innovation, reduce cost and improve interoperability by bringing together UK policing, the Home Office and the private sector in a common approach to sourcing, promoting and adopting standards in line with the National Policing Digital Strategy 2020 - 2030.
The Police Digital Service works with national policing partners to coordinate this activity and has Chief Constable Jo Farrell as the senior responsible officer for the programme to ensure National Standards remain useful, useable and used.
What are National Standards?
National Standards are principles, policies, standards, guidelines and reference data/templates, which are either:
These documents represent best practice for the unique use cases of Policing and are referred to collectively as National Standards. Where available, existing best practice will be sourced before being developed. This platform signposts existing and upcoming standards whether they come from established organisations, national programmes or smaller projects.
The National Standards programme has a clear focus on interoperability, but that applies to both humans as well as machines. The platform surfaces data and technology related workstreams that are already in development, to reduce the chance of duplication of effort whilst ensuring best practice working groups are joined up and visible.
These can be working groups in the very early stages of discussing options, all the way through to programmes which are nearing completion but have yet to officially launch. If you wish to add your workstream to the platform you can let us know here, but it must:
- Be data or technology related
- Have a clear policing focus and benefit
- Have documentation as an agreed output
Frequently Asked Questions
Who manages National Standards?
The programme is managed by three groups, who work together to provide effective governance and support for National Standards. The members of the boards are subject matter experts, leaders in policing, senior members of the Home Office and TechUK's interoperability board, ensuring the voice of the standards' community is represented and heard.
- The Assurance Board are the main working group for National Standards, meeting monthly to discuss, allocate and review actions to drive forward appropriate changes to standards.
- The Governance Board are the strategic leads for National Standards, meeting quarterly to provide oversight and direction for the programme. Ensuring alignment with the National Policing Digital Strategy and dealing with any escalations from the Assurance Board.
- The National Standards Team are full-time members of the Police Digital Service, who are responsible for facilitating both boards, maintaining the platform and triaging requests for support from the wider community. Regular reviews are carried out of documentation on the platform.
If you want to find out more, please contact us.
How can I find standards?
Each standard is sorted into a main National Standards Category (such as 'Data' or 'Security') and then has appropriate tags applied to it. This enables a simple, flat structure to enable the right set of standards to be quickly located by searching for the relevant categories and tags. You can also use the free text search bar at the top of the page, from anywhere on the platform.
How a National Standard is made Live
There is a governance process in place to ensure documentation is put through a series of reviews before making it to the platform.
Draft: After receiving a request for a new/changed/retired National Standard, the National Standards team will triage the request for completeness and accuracy.
Review: The request is then presented to the Assurance Board to assure the request and provide input into additional work required after reviewing it.
Consensus: Once reviewed, it is then sent out to the standards community, who are encouraged to provide feedback on the new / changed / retired standard and have their voice heard.
Live / Retired: Once the community feedback has been gathered (usually 1 month after putting the standard out for Consensus), any resulting work is completed as appropriate and reviewed again by the Assurance Board before a decision is made to go live with the change (and potentially retire an existing standard). Retired standards are retained on the platform and can still be searched for and filtered.
How can I be sure National Standards are strategically aligned?
The National Standards (NS) programme has an established governance structure in place to apply proper due diligence to standards going on, staying on and being retired from the platform to ensure they are for policing, by policing. For more details see 'MLR' and '4Pol' gradings FAQ regarding which specific standards are strategically aligned with policing.
The NS programme as a whole is aligned with with:
- Police Digital Service
- National Policing Technology Council
- National Police Chiefs Council working groups
- National Cyber Security Centre
- College of Policing
- Home Office (OCiP, PPPT)
- Transforming Forensics / Forensic Capability Network
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- National Policing Information Risk Management Team
- TechUK (Representing suppliers)
- Blue Light Commercial
- Data Standards Authority
- National policing programmes
Lack of interoperability of technical solutions, systems and tools is a recognised challenge in the policing sector. The National Standards programme supports the TechUK InterOp-Pol initiative, which is aimed at changing commercial behaviours by facilitating the ongoing development and adherence to an interoperability charter. This charter outlines a company’s commitment to openness and interoperability which in turn will help ensure products developed for policing can add value to one another, by the appropriate and secure sharing of data in a standardised way.
What do the MLR and 4Pol gradings mean?
The platform holds a large number standards, which have been graded by the National Standards Assurance Board to assist users with prioritising which standards they choose to adopt. There are two gradings:
Minimum legislative requirement (MLR)
Standards which stem directly from legislative requirements, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards. These are standards that represent the 'Minimum Legislative Requirements' (MLR) to ensure that the related data and technology in use is operated in a lawfully compliant manner.
For Policing (4Pol)
Standards are given ‘For Policing’ (4Pol) status, if they meet a set of criteria which means the wider adoption of these standards will help improve quality, increase value and allow convergence.
The National Standards Assurance Board has considered each standard in relation to the below criteria before awarding it 4Pol grading:
Support minimum legal requirements where they exist
Align with the National Policing Digital Strategy to ensure strategic alignment and design
Align with the TechUK Justice & Emergency Services Interoperability Charter to deliver better data sharing, exchanging and exploitation
Direct relevance and applicability to policing
Represent best practice
Able to be measured and achieved within the unique landscape of policing
What is the difference between National Standard: Principles, Policies, Standards, Guidance and Templates/Reference Data?
- The defining characteristic of a principle document is that it is conceptual. It describes a target state or end goal without specifying how it will be achieved.
- Guidelines / Policies / Standards
- The defining characteristic of guidance, policies and standards are that they are rule based. The document specifies the rules to be applied to achieve a particular state.
- Technical Reference
- The defining characteristic of a template is that it is value based. It specifies exactly the values that must be used.
Standards that have been retired will still be available on the platform, as these standards may have been used to inform past decisions, they provide value for reference purposes. It is clear which standards are live and which ones are not, by checking the ‘Status’ which will read “Retired” and by them being greyed out on the search screen (indicating they are non-live, so may be in review, draft or retirement).
The platform links remain constant to ensure they can be used by processes and documentation requiring a URL to a specific standard. Any new standard created will have a new record and URL generated with the old one retired. These retired standards are coloured grey, to indicate that they are not live and should be treated with caution. There is a date added to each standard to show when it was made live and when it was retired – both events can only happen after going through our governance process.
Links and attachments
The platform contains attachments of the documents signposted too, to ensure that a record is made of what was assessed by the governance process at that time. This attachment represents the approved version from the platform. A link is often provided to ensure users can locate the source of the document for any peripheral reading, or to see if an updated document has been developed. Although links are checked, we still encourage our users to let us know if a newer version exists or if a link no longer works.