Controlled drugs accountable officers

Page last updated: 12 April 2024
Organisations we regulate

Controlled drugs accountable officers (CDAOs) are responsible for all aspects of controlled drugs management within their organisation.

The roles and responsibilities of CDAOs, and the requirement to appoint them, are governed by the Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2013.

Who can be a CDAO

A CDAO must:

  • be a senior manager of their organisation
  • not routinely supply or handle controlled drugs themselves as part of their duties as an employee or officer

Organisations that must appoint a CDAO

These organisations are designated bodies. They must appoint a CDAO and register that person's details with us:

  • NHS trusts
  • Independent hospitals in England
  • NHS England Local Area Teams
  • Headquarters in England of regular or reserved Armed Forces

How to notify us when appointing or changing your accountable officer.

A group of designated bodies of the same type can jointly nominate and appoint a CDAO. Each designated body within the group must notify us of the CDAO.

Social enterprise organisations (SEOs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs) must appoint a CDAO for locations that the regulations defined as a 'hospital'. In other cases they could appoint a lead to ensure controlled drug governance arrangements are in place.


Some organisations can apply to be exempt from the requirement to appoint a CDAO.

Self assessment tools

Please note: these are Excel spreadsheets and contain macros. When you open them, select 'enable macros' to ensure that the RAG (red, amber, green) ratings work.

Tool for primary care

Controlled drugs governance self assessment tool for primary care organisations

Tool for secondary care

Controlled drugs governance self assessment tool for secondary care organisations

Register of accountable officers in England

We record the details of healthcare organisations' CDAOs in a published register, which we update monthly.

View our current register:

Register of accountable officers (ods, 109.05kB, English)