The CCG practice agreement

A CCG Practice Agreement was published in 2019. All CCGs are required to sign this agreement with each general practice (holders of a General Medical Services (GMS) contract, Personal Medical Services (PMS) agreement or Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contract) offering Essential Services.

This Agreement provides clarity and assurance on the requirements for the provision and use of digital services available to general practices under this Operating Model as shown in Figure1 below. CCGs (or any successor organisation) must therefore ensure a signed CCG-Practice Agreement is in place before providing these services to a practice.

The agreement

  • Confirms that the CCG can provide funded GP digital services to defined standards under this Operating Model to the general practice. This will provide a single reference point identifying practices receiving GP digital services.
  • References the Operating Model as defining the scope of digital requirements to be provided and standards applicable to those requirements
  • Describes how accreditation required under the GP Contract will be assured for the solutions procured
  • Defines categories for service availability
  • Requires the practice as the “end user” organisation to comply with any terms and conditions of use for NHS commissioned systems made available to the practice
  • Defines processes for the management of change requests, escalations and disputes relating to the delivery of services under the Agreement

The agreement schedules

Four schedules as appendices are included in the Agreement:

  • Appendix 1 – Summary of services (for individual practice)
  • Appendix 2 – Support and maintenance service levels (local content)
  • Appendix 3 – Escalation procedure (local content)
  • Appendix 4 – Business justification form (standard template)

These schedules should be reviewed:

  • Not less than every 12 months
  • When there is a change to the content of any schedule
  • On request for review by either party

New schedules or schedule changes should be agreed with both parties through a local Agreement Addendum.

Organisational changes

The CCG Practice Agreement will by variations (clauses 13.4, 13.5) continue to apply in the event of the merger of practices or CCGs.

The obligation, to support practices under the CCG-Practice Agreement and as detailed in this Operating Model includes supporting the impact on GP digital services arising from local General Practice contractor changes for example practice mergers and closures.

At the point CCG successor organisations are established the agreement will transition under the relevant transfer scheme. No further action in respect of this agreement will be required.

Data processing agreement requirements

As controller each practice is responsible for securing assurance on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance of both any contract for third party system or service which processes patient data and of the activities of the third party as processor.

NHS Digital or the CCG may undertake this assurance on behalf of general practices (for example via a framework or other NHS procurement) with the practice remaining ultimately accountable as controller.

Digital services commissioned by the NHS nationally, including those available through frameworks (for example DFOCVC Framework) made available under the Digital Care Services (DCS) Catalogue, have agreed data processing agreements and measures in place to which all parties must comply.

The CCG-Practice Agreement references, in addition to each party’s obligations under current data protection legislation, the Data Processing Deed which governs data processing activities under the GP IT Futures Framework.

Where such Agreements/Deeds are available CCGs should include a reference (and link) to the relevant data processing agreement(s) in Appendix 1 – Summary of Services Table within the CCG-Practice Agreement.

Where the practice directly puts in place arrangements with a third party which include the processing of patient data for example a PCN service provider, a GP Federation as separate legal organisation entity, an NHS Trust, a digital service (software or hosting) provider, or physical record handling organisation (for example scanning or archiving services) this falls outside the scope of the CCG-Practice Agreement. The individual practice must take necessary steps, including documentation, to ensure the digital service commissioned meets robust standards relating to information governance, including the supplier’s compliance with current data protection legislation.

 Accountability and responsibilities

The CCG Practice Agreement describes the respective practice and CCG responsibilities for the provision and receipt of GP digital services. Detailed accountability and responsibilities for all parties involved in the Operating Model are given in Appendix B.


Following publication of this Operating Model a review of the CCG Practice Agreement will commence to consider the impact of new developments include the establishment of ICS and the establishment of new frameworks for general practice digital services involving data processing activities.

Guidance contents

Download a PDF copy of ‘Securing Excellence in Primary Care (GP) Digital Services: The Primary Care (GP) Digital Services Operating Model 2021-2023’