A new electronic surveillance system for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was introduced in England in 2009. The genitourinary medicine clinic activity dataset (GUMCAD) is a mandatory, disaggregated, pseudo-anonymised data return submitted by all STI clinics across England. The dataset includes information on all STI diagnoses made and services provided alongside demographic characteristics for every patient attendance at a clinic. The new system enables the timely analysis and publication of routine STI data, detailed analyses of risk groups and longitudinal analyses of clinic attendees. The system offers flexibility so new codes can be introduced to help monitor outbreaks or unusual STI activity. From January 2009 to December 2013 inclusive, over twenty-five million records from a total of 6,668,648 patients of STI clinics have been submitted. This article describes the successful implementation of this new surveillance system and the types of epidemiological outputs and analyses that GUMCAD enables. The challenges faced are discussed and forthcoming developments in STI surveillance in England are described.