DARS application process

Submitting an application

You should get in touch with NICOR’s data access request service (nicor.datarequests@nhs.net) before you submit your formal application. By discussing your data needs with NICOR’s DARS manager, you can receive guidance on how to make a strong application.

The DARS manager will assist you with the requirements for the separate sections of the data access request form (DARF). You can access the form through the DARS manager. Research applications are reviewed according to a pre-mapped timetable but at least monthly.

We require you to complete all relevant sections of the request form in full and to have all relevant supporting information and signatures embedded into the document.

The application form has embedded terms and conditions and together they form the data sharing agreement (DSA). All applicants and NICOR are required to sign this document before we authorise the release of data to you. The applicant must read the conditions prior to signing the form. NHS England and GIG Cymru have the right to terminate the DSA and data transfers if there is a failure to comply with the conditions. Failure to adhere to the conditions in the DSA will jeopardise future submissions from the applicants.

What happens to your application after submission?

NICOR will confirm receipt of your request. The NICOR data access request service (DARS) will undertake an initial review of each application within two weeks of submission.

After the initial review, the NICOR DARS manager will either refer your application to the NICOR/NHS England and GIG Cymru/NHS Wales Research Access Committee (RAC) or, if the application has not been satisfactorily completed, request clarification or further information from you.

We will allocate a reference number to your application. This reference number should be used within the subject field on all correspondence relating to the application.

The RAC meets monthly, but some decisions may be made by the Chair of the RAC prior to the next meeting.

Each application is reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Is the proposed use of the data clinically appropriate?
  • Is the proposed use of the data methodologically sound?
  • Are there similar applications under review?

If the RAC approves the basis for the study, it will proceed to a full review of the information governance details provided:

  • Does the application satisfy the requirements of the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018?
  • Are the necessary legal and ethical permissions and security arrangements in place?

We will inform applicants of the outcome of the completed review within one week of the final decision.

Following approval, data will be released within a reasonable timeframe agreed with NICOR. This may vary depending upon the complexity of the data requested and the scope of the core audit activity being undertaken at that time. Specific requirements around de-personalisation (pseudonymisation) or data linkage may require discussion with the NICOR data managers. We expect data to be released in 4-8 weeks for most applications. Please discuss any deadlines or timescales with the NICOR DARS team before you submit your application to ensure you can get the data you need within your preferred timeframe.

If the RAC does not approve the release of the data, you will be advised on steps required to improve or modify your application. This advice will be provided on the listed outcome date. Once your application has been updated with the requested clarification and returned to NICOR it will either be submitted for the Chair’s action or be submitted for review at the next RAC.