Frequently asked questions on the Information Standards Board (ISB) and its work.
A standard defines a set of criteria, rules or guidelines to be used for common and repeated use. Standards are established by consensus and approved by a recognised body.
The ISB provides governance arrangements for information standards across the Education, Skills and Children’s Services (ESCS) system. ISB standards will be key enablers for the delivery of systems that produce real benefits for children and learners, financial savings for developers, and time savings for users. These savings should ensure that more resources are available on the front line for children and learners rather than being spent on bureaucracy.
Example: the system interfaces of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) A2C Data Standards (Version 1.0) have been aligned with ISB standards. Implementing the A2C Data Standards will bring significant benefits to schools and colleges. It will allow harmonised transactions and processes, and will support several types of qualification. General Qualifications (GQ), Vocational Qualifications (VQ) and on-demand qualifications (which are qualifications where the assessment is available to be completed, and the qualification awarded, when the learner is ready - rather than on a fixed date or dates in the year). Crucially, it will be future proofed for new qualifications and data requirements.
You can find further information about the A2C Data Standards in the associated resources section.
Education is undergoing changes that require interworking between early years and schools; between schools and further education (FE) colleges; and between FE colleges and higher education institutions (HEIs). Lack of common standards has hampered these changes. The system-wide data and information standards approved and published by the ISB will bring a range of benefits across Education, Skills and Children’s Services (ESCS):
The ISB develops system-wide data and information. The requirements for these standards are developed through collaboration with the stakeholders who operate and manage Education, Skills and Children’s Services (ESCS) organisations. The standards are developed as parts of an ESCS-wide enterprise architecture and reviewed by ESCS stakeholders and suppliers before being approved by the ISB. Only those standards which will have benefits for the whole ESCS system will be approved. The ISB covers standards including those for, but not limited to:
Standards approved by the ISB can be found in the standards library section of the ISB website.
The ISB has ministerial authority to approve standards for the system. It also has the authority of its partners, who have signed a partnership agreement.
The ISB works across the sectors covered by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; the board and its chair are accountable to senior officials and ministers within those departments. Its success is measured against the objectives set out in the business plan for each financial year. At the end of each financial year, an annual report outlining the achievements for that year is published.
No, not directly. The Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will continue to develop and issue professional standards as appropriate and deliver them through various policy agendas.
The ISB is responsible for standards across the Education, Skills and Children’s Services (ESCS) system in England. Its remit includes data and information standards that support the Government ICT strategy.
Although the ISB is sponsored by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the majority of its members are drawn from outside these organisations. This is to ensure that the views of the Education, Skills and Children’s Services (ESCS) sector as a whole are considered. The make up of members ensures the independence of the ISB. An independent chair has been appointed to ensure that the views of all parties are reflected and that the ISB operates for the benefit of the whole system. A number of standards champions drawn from a range of partner organisations across the system will take the lead on specific standards. The Technical Support Service (TSS) has been commissioned from an external source that is not an ESCS stakeholder, to give standards expertise and a third party view.
Decisions taken by the ISB will be published on its website and also in its annual report. It will also inform the Cabinet Office’s Information Domain Working Group and report via the Open Standards Board once that body is established.
The ISB is working with the ISB Supplier Special Interest Group (SIG), the Supplier Steering Group and the Information Management Partnership for Schools (IMPS) Group to collaborate more closely with suppliers.
The ISB has established working relationships with other standards bodies across the public sector, such as the ISB for Health and Social Care (ISB HaSC) and the Local e-Government Standards Board (LeGSB).
In the first instance complete the contact us form explaining your interest and how you’d like to get involved. The ISB secretariat will respond with information about the best ways to contribute.
Further information about the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) A2C Data Standards.