Registration Authorities (RA)
Dorset Registration Authorities (RA) Function is run by Dorset CCG for the CCG, Primary Care Practices and Dorset Pharmacies.
The senior responsible officer on the NHS Dorset CCG board, for the RA function, is the Head of the System Integration Directorate.
An NHS Smartcard is needed in order to access most of the NHS clinical software. Smartcards should only be used by the individual to whom it has been issued to, and never left logged onto an unattended machine. This site is designed to provided material to assist in understanding the processes around Smartcard issues and management.
The Smartcard FAQs below may answer your queries.
The national RA Process Guidance is available on the NHS Digital website. The RA Process Guidance clearly explains your responsibilities as an RAA or Sponsor.
The RA Function Local Process and Policies document is the local implementation of the RA Process Guidance.
Stolen, lost or misused cards must be reported to the Smartcard Support Desk immediately email@example.com
You can now unlock your own Smartcard using the self-service portal. You must register first in order to use this service. Please read the information leaflet before registering for this.
The Smartcard user leaflet contains useful information about use of your card and some step-by-step information for when things go wrong.
How to get a Smartcard?
If you work within a practice – please see your local Registration Authority Agent/Sponsor for the practice, who will check your IDs, set you up on CIS and then request the Smartcard for you.
If you are a locum GP or within the CCG – contact the Smartcard Support Team by email, who will advise you of the process.
If you work within a pharmacy – please see your local Registration Authority Agent for the pharmacy, who will check your IDs, set you up on CIS and then request the Smartcard for you. If they do not want to use this method, they will need to complete one or both of the CIS Forms – Request Create User (Sponsor) and Create New User (RAA). These forms, along with instructions can be found in the Community Pharmacy Assistance section below.
CIS can be accessed via the Spine Portal https://portal.national.ncrs.nhs.uk/dt. CIS will be an option on the menu “Launch CIS care identity Service”. All PC’s should have the portal link as a shortcut.
All staff when using their Smartcard will be able to access CIS. They will have access to update the demographic information on their own profile, check the certificate expiry date, reset their own password and also access the Terms and Conditions of Smartcard use. RA Agents will have full access to all the functions such as creating and amending user access.
How do I unlock my Smartcard?
If you work within a practice – Please see your local Registration Authority Agent/Sponsor for the practice, who will unlock your Smartcard with you using CIS.
If you are a locum GP – contact the Smartcard Support Team who will advise you of the process or contact the practice in which you are next working at, they will be able to unlock this for you.
If you work within the CCG – Contact the Smartcard Support Team who will advise you of the process.
If you work within a pharmacy – a Pharmacist, a Sponsor or the Registration Authority Agent at your pharmacy should be able to unlock your card using CIS. Instructions for the Pharmacist are in the Community Pharmacy Assistance section below.
Stolen, lost or misused cards must be reported to the Smartcard Support Desk immediately.
If you are experiencing problems with Smartcard software on your PC, you may need to complete a diagnostic test. The results of this test need to be sent to your IT department so they can then see what is missing from the PC and update the software. Alternatively, you can read through the NHS Digital Diagnostic Tool User Guide for further help and information.
To perform the Smartcard software diagnostic test:
- Ensure all Smartcards are removed from the readers and download the CIS Desktop Diagnosis Tool
- Open the downloaded ZIP file and then open the relevant folder which matches your machine.
- For 32-bit machine open CISDesktopDiagnosticTool_x86
- For 64-bit machine open CISDesktopDiagnosticTool_x64
- Navigate to your desktop and open the file named CIS_Desktop_Diagnostic_Log_YYY-MM-DD_HH-SS. This should contain all the information required from your machine.
- Send this document to your IT department for further analysis.
Under the Smartcard system (CIS) it is possible for RA Agents, Sponsors and Pharmacists to unlock cards and renew certificates. Read, or download, the PC Requirements, explaining what is required on a PC to be able to unlock Smartcards.
Pharmacies must now have two people within their organisation to act as a Sponsor or Registration Authority Agent (RAA).
Sponsors will be responsible for ensuring that a person in their area is suitable to have a Smartcard and they must also agree what level of access that person should have (e.g. Pharmacist, Dispenser etc.). They should complete the Request Create User form below. Every pharmacy must have a Sponsor. We will not be able to create new card, amend card details or add access to a users card without sponsorship from that pharmacy.
Registration Authority Agents will be responsible for undertaking the mandatory identity checks and should complete the Create User form below. Only RAA’s can undertake identity checks. A person cannot be both a Sponsor and an RAA. For pharmacies that have Sponsors already they will need to establish an RAA at their organisation. The alternative will be that the Sponsor can continue to sponsor staff but until they have their own RAA the applicants will need to attend a Dorset CCG location to have their ID checks done in person by one of our RAA’s at Dorset CCG.
For those pharmacies who do not have either a Sponsor or a RAA they can send CIS RA forms for us to sponsor new applicants if they are are on the General Pharmaceutical Council Register, however, the applicant will have to attend Dorset CCG for ID checks. We are unable to sponsor staff that are not on this register, therefore the organisation MUST establish a Sponsor to get cards for Dispensers or Technicians who are not on any register we can check.
If you want to be an RAA or Sponsor for your pharmacy please see the section below Create a new Registration Authority Agent (RAA)/Sponsor
All the forms required for Smartcard creation and modification are listed below. These forms must be completed, scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photo if required.
Please note that on the request forms below the user ID information should be entered fully. For example the passport country, number and expiry date need to be accurate. The same is true of driving licenses. On the address ID we need the name of the company/organisation and the date it was issued, just entering ‘utility bill’ is not correct. These must be dated within the last 3 months.
If you are unsure on the relevant IDs please check on the following website https://www.nhsemployers.org/your-workforce/recruit/employment-checks/identity-checks
The CIS – Request Create User form needs to be completed by the Sponsor for the pharmacy. This indicates that you are happy for this person to have a card and the level of access (e.g. Dispenser). If the pharmacy has an RA Agent the form should be given to them. If you do not have an RA Agent then send this form directly by email to email@example.com.
When the RAA receives the CIS – Request Create User form from the pharmacy Sponsor they must then complete the CIS – Create User form. This is to record the ID checks that have been carried out by the RAA. You need to complete the CIS – Create User form and send it to the Smartcard Support Team. If you have an RAA they will be able to complete the ID checks prior to it being sent. This will mean the user will not have to attend a Dorset CCG location to have their ID checked.
The CIS – Modify User form should be used to request amendments to user details (such as name, photo etc.). The completed form should be sent to the Smartcard support team for the change(s) to be made.
The CIS – Assign Position form can be used to request a position be assigned to a user to allow access at your site. The CIS – Assign Position form is also used to remove a users access for your pharmacy.
Pharmacists who are requesting Locum Access (FFFFF) on their smartcards must fill out the form found here. Once we have this form back along with points 1.1 or 1.2 AND 1.3 we can put the access on to your smartcard.
Smartcards can only be unlocked by the RA, Sponsor or Pharmacist (not locum). There are two ways in which Smartcards can be unlocked.
If the following steps on the guidance leaflet do not work please try searching for the user in CIS, open their profile, scroll down to ‘Smartcard Details’ and click on the ‘Service’ button. Please click ‘Unlock Smartcard’, enter the card in to the second reader and click ‘Continue’. The user must be present to enter their own password.
It is the responsibility of the practice RAA’s to keep up to date all current users, at your site. This can all be accomplished by using the Smartcard management system CIS – Care identity Service.
The section on Smartcard system – Quick Reference Documents below, show you how to undertake these tasks using CIS.
Remove all old users
by deleting their access position for your site, “end dating” their positions for your site (or requesting the user to be closed via Smartcard support if you know they have left the NHS for good). This should be done within 24 hours of them leaving.
Position Changes, Position Deletion and Smartcard Unlocking
Position requests can be made by any one of the following:
Only the RAAgents, Sponsors, Caldicott Guardians or the Practice Managers can request position changes.
All RAAs/Sponsors must have completed the appropriate RA/Sponsor training course and have provided a certificate to show this, before they can make a position change request.
All requests for position changes should be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org. The email request should contain as a minimum the following information:
Position Changes and New Positions
Name and UUID of requester
Name of Position to be changed (if it is a modification request)
Description of change required with the associated B code (activity) or R code (Role). A description will suffice if the codes are not known
Reason for change
Name and UUID of requester
Name of Position to be deleted
These requests will then be assessed by an RA Manager and if there are activities of a sensitive nature the RA Manager may want to refer this to Information Governance for approval.
In the event the request is rejected, the RA Manager will send an email reply to the requester indicating the request has been refused and the reason why.
The RA Manager, if happy the change is needed or will be useful, will then undertake the change in CIS. As part of the change the text box related to the change should indicate the requester’s name. The RAM will then advise the requester by email of the change completion.
Smartcards can only be unlocked by the RA/Sponsor. There are two ways in which Smartcards can be unlocked.
If the steps on the CIS – Unlocking a Smartcard document in the Smartcard system – Quick Reference Documents section below, does not work please try searching for the user in CIS, open their profile, scroll down to ‘Smartcard Details’ and click on the ‘Service’ button. Please click ‘Unlock Smartcard’, enter the card in to the second reader and click ‘Continue’. The user must be present to enter their own password.
We now require NI numbers to be entered when setting up a new user in order for us to process the application. Without an NI number we will not print/issue the Smartcard. If you need help with the ID checking process please use the Identity check guidance from NHS Digital website.
To request a new RAA visit the Create a new Registration Authority Agent (RAA)/Sponsor section below. If an RAA leaves your practice you must advise the Smartcard Support Team by email as only they can remove the RAA Positions for the leaver. We will also need to update our RAA contact lists.
It is policy for all RAA’s when assigned to an RAA/Sponsor position at a practice, pharmacy or CCG to be trained in RAA/Sponsor responsibilities, ID checking responsibilities and Smartcard Management Systems (CIS).
The RAA/Sponsor then needs to undertake the training which is in two parts:
- The e-learning module National RA and smartcard Policy is mandatory for Dorset and, once successfully completed, will produce a certificate that needs to be emailed with the signed RA and Sponsor Acceptance Form to email@example.com. This training is provided by NHS Digital via e-Learning for Health and requires users to register for an account if they do not already have one. Once logged in please search for National RA and smartcard Policy. If this is not available please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get it added to your list of available courses.
- In addition to the mandatory training, we recommend users undertake a 1-hour MS Teams training on the smartcard software, Care Identity Service (CIS). This is provided by Dorset CCG Digital Support & Training Team and will ensure that you can Create Users, Add/Remove Positions, Unlock/Re-certify Smartcards and understand the processes for Closing User Accounts. Please email email@example.com for available dates.
If you are not able to attend the MS Teams course, there is the option to read the How to Guides on the Dorset CCG website, however it may be more difficult to support you with CIS related questions if you have chosen not to attend one of our MS Teams sessions.
Please note the RA/Sponsor position will not be added to your smartcard until we receive a copy of the Certificate from the online training as in 1. above.
CIS Launch Care Identity Service
CIS Launch Care Identity Service is live and can be found in the Spine Portal.
Certificate Renewals Issues
If the self renewal process gives an error or just keeps showing a revolving symbol, check that your Smartcard is not a series 01,02,03,04 or 05. Check the number on the reverse of your Smartcard in the bottom right hand corner, if it starts with the numerals 01,02, 03, 04 or 05 then you will not be able to renew it. You need to email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a new card.
If it is a newer card you should ask an RA or Sponsor to try to ‘repair’ the card in the service section of the users profile in CIS. Contact your IT Team and check the Identity Agent and Oberthur middleware setup is correct. Finally, if this does not work send an email to email@example.com and request a new card to be printed.
Smartcard Authentication Issues
If you get the revolving arrows going round and round whilst in CIS Smartcard Unlock or the Issue Certificate function, this is a known national issue.
The problem is related to the type of Smartcard readers being used. Some card readers which are located in keyboards have this issue. The resolution is to use 2 Omnikey readers and replace the keyboard with a keyboard that does not have a smartcard reader.
If you are a GP practice call Healthcare Computing on 0345 4501209 and they will help resolve the issue. Pharmacies will need to call their own IT support. If you feel able to sort the issue yourself there are two documents which may help you correct the smartcard unlocking issue:
- How to update your keyboard reader drivers
- How to disable your current card reader and use 2 Omnikey USB plug-in card reader
When entering ID Check information in CIS, Driving Licence Details must be entered in capital letters.
CIS Smartcard Printing
When you try to “Create a new user” in CIS everything works well, you add all the details, create the profile, you can also add the position the user requires. However, when you come to try and issue the card, the system will not allow you to do this. You should ask the other RA or Sponsor to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name, UUID and reason for print (new user) of the new Smartcard. We will check the NI number, driving license and passport number and then print the smartcard and post this to you.
When you want to send us a request to print a replacement card (damaged, stolen etc.), please email Smartcard Support and ask us to print the card for you. This does not need a second authorisation. You must let us know the reason for a new Smartcard.
The following documents are quick reference guides on particular subjects in CIS. They are ideal to remind you of a process without having to refer to the full training notes.
CIS – Unlocking a Smartcard – How to unlock a Smartcard that has been locked by the user entering the password incorrectly.
CIS – Assisted Renewal of Certificates – Where an RAA helps a user renew their certificates
CIS – Repair Smartcard Certificate – Equivalent to cancel card and re issue (can be used where Smartcard certificates have expired)
CIS – Register New User – How to request a Smartcard for a new user (where user has never had a card before)
CIS – Verify a Users Identity – Help to check ID correctly when requesting a new card
CIS – Assign Access To User – Give a user a position for your site to give them access to your systems
CIS – Search Directory – Can be used by all users to find a profile
CIS – Updating My Profile – Users can update their own profile for basic contact information and also to reset passwords
CIS – Generate Report – How to generate reports on smartcard users
CIS – Report Active Users Guide – Shows how to run report to show; staff who have smartcards who have left your organisation and when smartcard certificates expire
All the forms required for Smartcard creation and modification are listed below.
These form must be completed, scanned and emailed to email@example.com along with a photo if required.
Please note that on the request forms below the user ID information should be entered fully, for example the passport country, number and expiry date need to be accurate. The same is true of driving licences. On the address ID we need the name of the company/organisation and the date it was issued, just entering “Utility Bill” is not correct. These must be dated within the last 3 months.
If you are not sure please read the ID checking instructions. The document is called “NHS Employers Identity Checks”.
CIS Request Create User Form – This form authorises the new staff members smartcard application and needs to be completed by the pharmacy Sponsor. If you do not have an RA Agent then send this form directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
CIS Create User Form – This form documents the new staff members ID and will need to be completed by the Registration Authority Agent (RAA) Please send the completed forms along with a photo to email@example.com
CIS Modify User Form – This form requests amendments to the smartcard users details (e.g. name, photo etc)
CIS Position Assignment Form – This form requests access to be added or removed to/from your organisation. Please send the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us by e-mail for any support or general enquiries regarding Smartcards.
All Smartcard forms can be sent via email.
We work across both NHS Dorset CCG sites:
551-553 Wallisdown Road,
It will be up to the practice to initially deal with this through local disciplinary procedures. Breaches in security should be reported to the Registration Authority Manager via an email to email@example.com.
No. The national model requires the Sponsor to be a different person to the one dong the ID checks and issuing the card or changing permissions (RA).
No. This would be a breach in national and local policy. It is accepted that staff work in teams but a member of staff should remove their card when not present and all staff should have their own smartcards.
You can access the smartcard management software via the Spine Portal on the internet (must have an N3 connection). You should then select the Launch CIS – Care Identity Service option.
The certificates on each card will last 2 years. You will then get a notification to self-renew. You can self-renew your certificates 3 times, after that a new smartcard will need to be issued.
Any pharmacist should be able to unlock your smartcard or renew the certificates. If you have an RA or Sponsor at your pharmacy they will also be able to unlock your smartcard or reset the certificates.
No card, no access. There is no fall-back log-on process available.
If you think you have lost your smartcard please email Smartcard.Support@dorsetccg.nhs.uk and ask them to cancel the lost smartcard. They will then issue a replacement and send it out to the surgery or pharmacy. The replacement card will be sent out locked. You will need to ask your RA or Sponsor to unlock this for you, ensuring you enter your own password.
Speak to the RA/Sponsor in your practice or pharmacy, they will be able to unlock this for you. Smartcards cannot be unlocked remotely. You can also make an appointment to come in to the CCG (Vespasian or Canford House) and we can unlock this for you. You must be present and enter your own password for the card to be unlocked.
Please speak to:
Practice: Healthcare Computing who will be able to ensure the latest smartcard software is installed.
Pharmacies: Contact your IT Team
CCG: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Locums should have their own smartcards. The practice or pharmacy RA/Sponsor should add a position to their smartcard for your organisation, and also remove this once the locum has moved on.
The card contains a unique user identifier number and your PIN (which is encrypted) and a photo. No other personal information is stored on the card.
Practices: For problems with a PC, smartcard reader or software, call the Healthcare Computing help desk on 01425 470888. For issues relating to the smartcard permissions, lockout or general queries, please contact the Smartcard Support Team on email@example.com
Pharamcies: For problems with a PC, smartcard reader or software, call your IT Team. For issues relating to the smartcard permissions, lockout or general queries, please contact the Smartcard Support Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
CGG: For problems with a PC, smartcard reader or software, email email@example.com . For issues relating to the smartcard permissions, lockout or general queries, please contact the Smartcard Support Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Anybody with a smartcard can access CIS. Smartcard users will be able to update some details on their own profile (email, phone number), check certificate expiry date and change their own password. RA/Sponsors will be able to access the full range of functions such as creating users, amending user access and details, unlocking smartcards etc.