From now, parental consent is no longer required for the NCMP. This is the most of important of 2018’s updates to the Operational Guidance of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and has been made to meet GDPR requirements. If you’ve yet to read all 58 pages of it, here’s our summary of the guidelines’ updates. Also, we’ve included links to the official PDF document and the NCMP site, below.
Parental Consent Not the Lawful Basis for Processing NCMP Data Under GDPR
The General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) became law on 25 May 2018. All processing of personal data must have a lawful basis under this. The NCMP is built upon a statutory authority, whereby local authorities are compelled to collect data. That information is the height and weight of children in Reception and Year 6. This is deemed to be sufficient under GDPR, so parental consent is no longer required for the NCMP.
Children’s personal information is legitimately used to manage the height and weight measurements, without parental consent. This includes the provision of class lists to the school nursing teams or other providers of school screening services. No permissions are required for this.
SchoolScreener® software makes administration of the NCMP easy, automating all administration required to deliver the NCMP, reporting KPIs and avoiding an additional school visit. All data uploads to the NHS Digital/HSCIC and letters to parents can also be automated using SchoolScreener®.
Information that Schools MUST Provide to Parents
Although parental consent is no longer required, there two things that parents must be provided with. These are:
- information about the processing of their children’s height and weight measurements; and
- the opportunity to withdraw their child from the measurements (opt-out).
A revised version of the pre-measurement letter to parents is being prepared by PHE. This is a direct result of the parental consent changes outlined. The previous version is no longer available; schools should use the new one, once published.
While not mandated by the NCMP, feeding back results to parents is still regarded as important. Research shows that 87% of parents found the feedback helpful; nearly 75% reported an intention to make lifestyle changes following receipt of feedback.
Other Updates to the 2018 Guidance
Apart from the topic of parental consent, the following other updates to the PHE's Operational Guidance have been made:
- the records retention schedule (data upload and validation);
- informing parents of the results of their child’s measurement;
- proactive follow up for children classified at extreme BMI centiles;
- child BMI centile classifications now include ‘very thin’ and ‘severe obesity’;
- guidance for measuring height when the hairstyle doesn’t allow for accurate measuring;
- a revised version of the Change4Life post-measurement leaflet for parents.
Visit the official NHS Digital NCMP website