MEETING: Cathays Park, Welsh Government

Statement of intent, community integration and work plans


MW welcomed members to the meeting. The group started by discussing how to host material related to technical standards online. MW said that the main issue with building a website for this kind of material was that automation would be needed to keep standards repositories up-to-date, and that traditional content management systems don’t usually do this well. MW suggested therefore that the group should take an open source, developer orientated approach to the Board’s web presence. MW asked members for their views.

RJ said that the approach should be trialled, and by doing so the Board could see if it worked. He said that SharePoint was an option for building a website but you would need to replicate the content. AWa said that the issue with SharePoint was that people didn’t know how to use it, which led to the replication of file structures.

MW discussed using GitHub as a tool to create automated documentation where users could raise issues and make changes to documents. MW said that this approach was a developer orientated method of managing the conversation online. MW suggested that he creates a web presence and manages it for six months as a trial run. The Board discussed a number of workstreams to divide content on the website: demographics; professional identity; documents; clinical data; and meta-standards.

MW asked the Board if they were content for him to publish the minutes of each meeting. There was a discussion about what information was appropriate to share publically. MC suggested that at the beginning of each meeting, there would be time to agree the previous meeting’s minutes and to discuss any areas that might need to be redacted before publication. The Board agreed with this approach.

The Board discussed the Statement of Intent that was worked on in the December meeting. MW explained that he had since worked through the feedback from the Board and would like to agree it with members.

The Board discussed each point of the statement of intent, and MW explained the changes that had been made. A discussion arose about sharing code with organisations external to NHS Wales and whether it would expose NHS code to criticism. PC said that health boards don’t generally invest significant portions of their funding in IT and infrastructure, and that they weren’t in a position to rely on security wrapped around infrastructure to enable sequencing.

A discussion also arose regarding cloud. PC said people must recognise that cloud is often more expensive than non-cloud infrastructure alternatives, yet there will be a time when people are forced to use cloud. He said that cloud should not be encouraged for the wrong reasons. RJ said that in his experience, infrastructure is sometimes bought that is not used immediately, and depreciates before rollout and gets closer to becoming obsolete. He said that cloud could address that as with most services you only pay when you use the service rather than when you think you might. RJ said that the general perception that cloud allows cost savings is based on the fact that small businesses can’t justify having their own IT departments, and therefore outsource using cloud services. He clarified that he wasn’t implying there were no advantages to cloud, just that the preconceptions that there are always savings to be made are based on small businesses, not large organisations. He said that people needed to consider more whether cloud was the right choice to make in their situation.

MW asked the Board whether they were content for him to submit the statement of intent to NIMB for approval. The Board agreed.

MW said that he wished to write to NWIS to ask whether they could undertake some work on services with proprietary APIs, and ask what it would take to get them to a more modern, open standards approach. He shared a draft with the Board and asked for their thoughts.

The Board discussed and agreed some minor changes to the list of principles set out in the letter. MC suggested that if the statement of intent is signed off by NIMB, then the Board could ask that Andrew Goodall sends the letter on behalf of the Board. RJ said that NIMB could act as an enabler to make things happen. The Board agreed this as an approach.

AWa raised an issue he had experienced during his work on WCCIS and integration with primary care services. He said currently, teams are able to directly access GP records. However, when they move to WCCIS they will lose direct access to documentation, and instead only be able to see a copy of it, which creates duplication and the possibility of errors. He said he would favour an approach where Careworks would allow direct access to the record and WCRS through WCCIS. He asked the Board whether they would be willing to take a view on how to proceed. MW asked why letters wouldn’t go directly from WCCIS to WCRS, and AWa explained that not every piece of documentation is posted across. RJ said that this is possible, but the issue is that WCCIS is not just a store of health data, but social care data as well.

There was a discussion about whether issues such as this were for programme boards to consider and work through, or if the Board should consider the issue. The Board agreed that they would be willing to comment on and consider cases such as this.

MW explained that at the next meeting, the team working on e-prescribing were to attend and present. He said that he wished to do some more work on the website before the next meeting as well.


  1. MW to create content management system for technical standards and update members on progress at the next meeting.


  • The Board agreed that a website would be created using the automated tools in GitHub, and that MW would manage the process for a trial period of six months.
  • The Board agreed that the statement of intent was ready to be considered for approval by NIMB.
  • The Board agreed MW’s approach to write to NWIS, and agreed that endorsement for the letter should be sought from Andrew Goodall.
  • The Board agreed that they would be willing to comment on and consider cases such as that currently existed with WCCIS.