Informatics Skills Development (ISD) Networks

Published on 04 August 2021, by Joanne Naughton

Workforce, Networking, CPD

About building local professional networks

As knowledge and library specialists, we hardly need convincing of the value of professional networking and specialist skills development, and our NHS informatics colleagues see the same benefits in working collaboratively to develop their skills and knowledge. 

From data analysts to IT trainers to web developers and clinical informaticians, digital specialists provide the infrastructure around the daily work of the NHS.  Many knowledge and library specialists work closely with other informatics colleagues day to day.  Did you know that informaticians are building local professional networks – Informatics Skills Development Networks? 

The first Informatics Skills Development Network (ISDN) was established almost 20 years ago in the North West followed by Yorkshire and the Humber and London.  They are part of the wider Skills Development Networks which include Finance and Procurement specialists.   Health Education England is now supporting the development of new ISDNs in other regions.  In true KM fashion, the new Networks are benefiting from the lessons learned in setting up the North West Network which have been shared in the ISDN in a Box Toolkit

In the North West, membership of the ISD Network provides focused learning and development opportunities from apprenticeship through to director level.  It encourages collaborative working, sharing of good practice including data sharing across organisations.  The Excellence in Informatics Accreditation Scheme recognises good practice in organisational workforce development. The Network also facilitates Special Interest Groups for sub-specialties including analytical data science, project management and IT training.   

Christine Banks, the North West ISD Manager, is very clear that “Library and Knowledge Management teams are regarded as part of the wider Informatics workforce and could benefit from linking in with their regional ISD networks as well as their local Informatics teams.” 

Following on from the publication of the Topol Review two years ago, CILIP’s Report on the impact of new technologies and the refresh of the CILIP Professionals Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) this year, there is a strong focus on the development of digital, data and software skills for NHS knowledge and library specialists.  As we build our skills for the future, we can also build on existing partnerships and look for opportunities to collaborate in the best interests of patients as well as to learn with our NHS colleagues in the informatics field.   

ISDNs provide us with a timely opportunity to: 

  • Get involved with our regional networks; develop our skills and connections. 

  • Promote our regional ISDN to health informaticists in our local area. 

To find out more about the roll out of ISDNs across England go to: 

You can register on the ISD Network website or contact [email protected] for more information. 


Joanne Naughton

29th July 2021 


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