All about Smartcards

All the information you need to ensure that your pharmacy has everything they need to ensure all your team have access to fully functioning individual smartcards that give them relevant role access to EPS and SCR systems.

The following drop-down boxes outline the new process to be followed for both first time EPS smartcard applicants and existing EPS card holders. We have also included information on the numerous PSNC resources which guide you through card related issues that you can self-manage.

New Smartcard Applications

New Smartcard Applicants

In order for a Pharmacist/Technician/Dispenser to obtain a Smartcard for the first time they will need to follow the following steps:-

1. Download and complete ALL PARTS of the new CIS New User Form attached.

2. CIS New User Application Form must be signed by the applicant's Manager or Lead Pharmacist in the Manager Declaration Section.

3. When both sections of the form have been fully completed the applicant should contact their own pharmacy RA Agent ID Checker or alternatively the AGEM CSU RA (Smartcard) Team to arrange a meeting for ID checking.

4. The Applicant must provide 3 forms of personal identification as set out below, as it is a Government requirement that all individuals issued with an NHS smartcard must have their identity confirmed to the requirements of e-GIF level 3.

The following options are acceptable as proof of identity;

  • Option 1: Two forms of official photographic personal identification (passport, driving licence) and one document confirming your address (utility bill)
  • Option 2: One form of photographic personal identification and two documents confirming your address
  • Option 3: If you have no personal photographic identification, then you must bring:
  • Two forms of non-photographic identification,
  • Two documents confirming your address
  • A passport-sized photograph of yourself (endorsed on the back by a ‘person of standing’ in the community – please check with your RA Agent ID Checker or the RA Team)

5. Failure to bring the correct form and ID will prevent the card being issued resulting in delay and the need for a further face-to-face meeting. If you are intending to use the option 3 AGEM CSU RA Team, please phone the RA Smartcard Service before the meeting to make sure that you are bringing the correct documentation with you. 

Tel No.: 0300 123 10 20 selecting the option for RA (at the time of writing it's option 5, option 3, option 2).

Existing Smartcard Users

Existing Smartcard Users

If you move premises and require your access modifying, your line manager/pharmacy manager will need to email with the following information: -

  • Name
  • Smartcard Number
  • Current ODS (F code) and whether you wish to retain this access
  • New ODS (F Code) of pharmacy you require access to
  • Role

To contact the RA team please call 0300 123 10 20, option 5, 3, 2 or email

Managing Smartcard issues - more information and guidance

Managing Smartcard issues - more information and guidance

- updated April 2019

  • Opportunity for Smartcard holders to register for Self-Service Unlock process. This is a very useful function that enables cardholders to unlock their card themselves following a simple process - this can only be done by registering. Please read the one page guidance document below and take the necessary action:

- updated January 2018

The latest video in the #PSNCtalk series sees Daniel Ah-Thion, Community Pharmacy IT lead at PSNC, discussing the Smartcard issues that can be managed in-pharmacy and explaining where to turn for help if external assistance is required.

He also talks about making use of the tools available from NHS Digital, as well as highlighting useful resources on the PSNC website. Click the following link to the PSNC website, where you can watch the video and see the list of EPS Smartcard resources:


Information on how to enable a Sponsor or RA Agent ID Checker within your individual pharmacy is shown below in the 'CSU Guidance for contractors' drop down box

NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit

The ambition of the local smartcard team is to change the working model for managing Smartcards within pharmacies, so that there is improved governance around who has access via Smartcards to your pharmacy systems and to SCR.

Each pharmacy site is now being encouraged to have at least one person in their team being set-up to add/remove access for their own staff and to create new smartcard users by carrying out their own ID checks and creating new user profiles in CIS (the software used to manage smartcards).

The attached document Key Benefits of using CIS for Pharmacies details the convenience and many benefits for pharmacies to be able to sort out smartcard issues themselves instead of having to post their cards each time something needs actioning.

A brief outline of the model and all the information and forms required to set-up your key person is shown in the drop-down box below:

CSU Guidance for contractors to have more functionality roles & rights

A brief outline of the model is explained below:

RA Model

It is important that all community pharmacies across Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth appoint sponsors/RA ID Checkers for each pharmacy site. It each the responsibility of each pharmacy or pharmacy organisation to ensure this is completed. Pharmacies not achieving this will remain non-compliant with the Registration Authority Policy.

CSU have issued the following document to highlight the advantages of application:




Details of what’s required are as follows:





Sponsor(s) to be set up in each pharmacy (or for multiples an area manager may be preferable):


  • To approve access for staff
  • To add/remove access in CIS
  • To receive bi-annual reports from the RA Team detailing active users for their organisation. This is to improve governance of staff being registered to organisations they no longer work for and for evidence for the IG toolkit submission
  • To unlock smartcards that are blocked or that are sent for new staff members









Local Smartcard Administrator(s) to be set up in each pharmacy:


  • To unlock Smartcards that are blocked or that are sent for new staff members




Not essential but desirable


RA Agent ID Checker to be set up in each pharmacy (or for multiples an area manager may be preferable):


  • To carry out ID checks on site for pharmacy staff (staff must attend RA office otherwise)
  • To input photo, new user details and ID document information into CIS



A Sponsor or RA Agent ID Checker can be set up by following a simple process in which they need to be appointed by the manager/owner of the organisation (see attached Appointment letter below). Please note that this letter MUST be completed on Headed paper and must include the names, smartcard numbers and ODS codes for all organisations access is required in.


The person who is appointed then needs to complete and sign the attached Sponsor/RA ID Checker Agreement form (below) to confirm they will carry out creating users/assigning access as per national RA Policy.







CSU will then assign the positions to the member of staff as required and send an Omnikey (card reader), as well as emailing some user guides on unlocking cards and assigning access. This completes the process. Further training guides can be sent if required or telephone instruction to ensure the Sponsor/RA ID Checker is competent to manage their team’s smartcards.




Further useful information and documents




nb: Users need to log into their profile page of CIS ( and complete some security questions. Users must have an email account to use this.



For reference only: