Starter guide for Social Care providers

This guide has been created to help you as a care provider, to get set up, orientate yourself with your user accounts and the processes you will use, to start using NHSmail straight away, whether for the first time, or if you are joining an existing care site.

Joining your site for the first time

Firstly, you need to confirm whether your organisation is already using NHSmail, has done in the past, or is yet to join.

If your site has never used NHSmail, the link below will explain how to complete the initial set up.

Registering a social care organisation, for example, a care provider or care home service – NHSmail Support.

If, when you join, your organisation already has, or you think has in the past had NHSmail, then you should follow the below steps:

  • Ask a colleague who already has NHSmail to email the National Administration Service (NAS) from the site’s shared mailbox and request either an account is created for you, or if you already have an NHSmail account, that this is made a Joiner.
  • State that the account is to be added to the shared mailbox as an Owner.

If no one on site has access to the Shared mailbox:

  • Call the NAS on 0333 200 1133 from your site’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered telephone
  • Advise no one from your organisation has access to the shared mailbox and that you need to be added as a joiner/have an account created and added as the owner.

Important note – Your site and/or wider organisation may not be managed by the NAS. In this case you will be informed as such by the NAS and you will need to contact the relevant Local Administrator within your organisation for further support. For more information please consult – Finding a Local Administrator – NHSmail Support.

The NAS will not be able to provide this information directly.

Next steps

Understand how to use the shared mailbox

Now that you are the owner of the shared mailbox, it is important you know how to use it. Your sites shared mailbox naming convention will be, and it does not have a password. You as an owner can access it through your personal account.

The below links provide more information about what they are and how to open and email from them:

Shared Mailbox Guide for NHSmail – NHSmail Support

Opening shared mailboxes – NHSmail Support

Audit your site

Whether setting up for the first time or joining an existing shared mailbox, you should make sure you are aware of how to check who else is attached as a member or owner, and that anyone who should no longer have access is removed. This is of greater importance if you are joining an existing site, as previous staff, though no longer there, may still have attached NHSmail accounts.

There are two ways you can find out who is attached, and how to remove them as needed:

  • Email or ring the NAS (from your shared mailbox or CQC telephone respectively) and ask for an audit of the site/shared mailbox
  • Log into shared mailbox via the Portal to manage to have visibility and management yourself: Managing Shared Mailboxes – NHSmail Support
Set up a Team

If you wish to set up a Team for your site in Microsoft Teams, you can request this as detailed in the Welcome email you receive when your shared mailbox is first set up.

If you are joining an existing site with or without a Team, please email the NAS to get a Team set up and added as the owner.

More information about using Teams can be found below:

Using Teams – NHSmail Support

Secure your account

You will need to ensure you change your password from the password issued by the NAS to something more memorable which also meets the secure password criteria.

The next step will be to accept the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and set your user account secret. This will make resetting your password in future a lot quicker and easier.

More information can be found below:

NHSmail password policy – NHSmail Support
Acceptable Use Policy – NHSmail Support
Setting a user account secret – NHSmail Support

Understand your responsibilities

As shared mailbox owner, it is important that you are aware of your responsibilities. Whilst you may not always have the time and resources (the NAS team are there to provide administrative support for the majority of the set up) there are a number of things that your input will ensure the setup is as efficient as possible:

  1. Manage your users – as you have leavers and joiners, ensure they are added and removed from the shared mailbox in a timely manner. Always try to have a minimum of two users including yourself who have access to the shared mailbox as a contingency measure.
  2. Encourage colleagues use their NHSmail accounts regularly so they are not deleted.
  3. If you leave the role, ensure you appoint a new owner, and pass on all relevant information so there is a seamless transition of access and understanding.

Further support

Following the above steps should mean you are all set up and prepared to use NHSmail and all it’s useful features. Below are some useful sources of information around NHSmail, who to contact to action requests, a glossary of key terms which will help in making these, and finally more information about our interactive support sessions.

Key contacts: – NAS helpdesk

The helpdesk is your first point of call whenever you need something actioning relating to you or your sites NHSmail set up. Remember always email from your sites shared mailbox unless otherwise specified – ODS helpdesk

This helpdesk is for any queries or changes relating to your sites ODS code.

This is also the helpdesk for queries relating to DSPT.

Further support

NAS FAQs – this comprehensive guide covers almost all the processes you will come across using NHSmail and will have the answer to nearly all questions you will have in relation to the service. Keep it bookmarked and use it whenever you need guidance.

Webinars – we periodically run national and regional webinars about the NHSmail service, and cover new features, benefits and need to know changes. You can find an archive of both previous webinars and slides.

Glossary of Terms

To help you to work effectively with the helpdesk to resolve actions quickly and efficiently, we have compiled a glossary of key terms that will help you when crafting and responding to emails.


This is your care home, hospice etc, itself subordinate to a parent organisation.


Organisation Data Service. This is a code that is given to every organisation that join NHSmail, and is associated with the type of organisation, its address, and connections with other organisations. Both parent and sites have ODS codes, with parent codes usually beginning with an ‘A’ and site codes with a ‘V’ As a rule of thumb, if you are ever asked for your ODS code it will be that beginning with V and will usually be the same as that in the name of your shared mailbox (SMB).


Data Security and Protection Toolkit. This is a collection of steps and processes sites must follow to prove they understand the risks of cyber security and have policies and procedures in place to keep their digital presence secure. Publication of a DSPT is mandatory to onboard to NHSmail and must be re-published every year to ensure you sites are always up to date with the latest guidance.

Shared mailbox (SMB)

A generically named account, accessible by multiple users or members, which gives advanced auditing and visibility to emails.

Shared mailbox owner

The designated member who has advanced permissions that allow them to manage the membership of the mailbox, as well as the principal user of the mailbox for emailing requests to the NAS.

Local Administrator (LA)

Provides technical administration for NHSmail. For NAS managed sites the helpdesk acts as the LA, however if you belong to a self-managed organisation, this will be a named user within the organisation.


Acceptable Use Policy – an agreement detailing your use of NHSmail, which all users must adhere to.

Last Reviewed Date 07/07/2023
Updated on 07/07/2023

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