Jul 21

A look at how social care managers use Skills for Care's ASC-WDS

Posted: 19 July 2021

Skills for Care is the leading source of workforce intelligence for adult social care in England. We collect data on adult social care providers and their workforce through the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), which is an online service where care providers record information about their workforce.

The data we collect is vital to the Government, Department of Health and Social Care, local authorities, the Care Quality Commission, and other stakeholders in helping them plan, fund and monitor the sector. 

ASC-WDS is also used by managers of care providers in a number of ways to help them with decision making, planning, leadership, and HR processes.


How does ASC-WDS help care providers and what benefits does it provide?

ASC-WDS is used by care providers and managers to:

  • Store and access key information about staff in one place 
    ASC-WDS allows care providers to create individual staff records documenting personal details alongside training records and requirements which can all be accessed in one place.
  • Access the Workforce Development Fund (WDF)
    ASC-WDS provides access to the WDF which allows you to claim funding towards training and qualifications.
  • Use it as a record of training and qualifications data  
    The service provides the ability to record all training and qualifications held by your staff. It also allows you to define and manage mandatory training by job role. You’ll receive alerts when updates are required or where there are gaps in mandatory training. 
  • Understand how your business is performing with benchmarking functionality
    This new functionality allows users to benchmark themselves against those offering the same service in the same local authority area. You can see at-a-glance information on how your service is performing on key workforce metrics including staff turnover, care worker pay, and staff sickness.


How managers are using ASC-WDS

We spoke to three social care managers to find out more about how they’re using ASC-WDS in their organisation.

Ed Davey, Learning and Development Manager, Somerset Care

The main reason for Somerset Care using ASC-WDS is to complete WDF claims for the apprenticeships and diplomas we’ve completed.  In doing this primary task, we’ve also discovered a number of other useful things that ASC-WDS can be used for.  For example, we’re quickly able to see workers’ pay, age, gender, and length of service.

There’s also a useful system for recording staff training, which we use to record training that doesn’t take place on the eLearning platform.

The benchmarks functionality within the system allows us to compare what our competitors are paying, their sickness levels, and turnover. This also gave us a good starting point when evaluating the rate of pay for apprentices and staff under the age of 19.

Initially I wasn’t aware that Skills for Care used the data within ASC-WDS to support the sector on a wider scale until I saw the ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report which is published in autumn every year. We’re proud to be able to support Skills for Care with a better understanding of the needs of the sector in this way.  Being able to see the trends across the country helps us to better understand our trends and identify possible solutions to issues we face with our workforce.

Getting started on the service is very straightforward.  As we have a high number of staff it did take me a few days to get all the basic information together and there were a few areas that I wasn’t sure about at first, such as the reporting area, but once I clicked in I could see how easy it was to spot errors in the data I uploaded and was quickly able to fix them. The support from Skills for Care has been great and the staff there have been able to answer all my questions and more about the service. 

I’d absolutely advise others to use the service.  The time spent on it will benefit you in the long run and in ways you didn’t expect.  Having this information in one place will help you to make better decisions.  I’d recommend keeping it up to date little and often.

Paddy Turner, Training Manager and Activities Co-ordinator, Care Matters (SE)

I started using the service when it first launched sometime back in 2007 and I’ve used it ever since.

Before the service was updated a little while ago, I would access it every few months and update everything. I would have to put a day aside to do all the data inputting, which was a real pain, but now it’s so easy to use I can just update what I need really quickly.

The system is great for tracking my staff training. I can see at-a-glance when training is missing or expiring. With the staff records I add all the details when a new member of staff enters the service and once that’s done you only need to access again if any of those details change.

The main benefit of ASC-WDS to me is the training portal which is like my personal assistant and we work well together. I find the at-a-glance training records really useful and the service allows me to gather information to inform policies and procedures and inductions.

ASC-WDS makes our job easier, and gives us information that’s new, fresh, and updated at our fingertips. What’s not to love?


Marisa Spice, Learning & Development Manager, Nellsar Ltd.

We update the service with all new staff and add as much information as possible. ASC-WDS is our main training matrix and the function of being able to set up the mandatory training per role is fantastic and has really helped us to ensure that people are not just doing the same training, but that it’s role specific. It also helps us to monitor and evidence training achievements which can be included in appraisals.

The benchmarking function is great for discussing aims and objectives for managers and their service such as monitoring and improving staff turnover, management of staff absence, or increasing percentage of staff with qualifications relevant to their role.

We’ve also used the service to ensure that we meet the criteria for WDF to allow us to claim back money from completed qualifications and attend courses funded by the WDF.

Our sector has struggled for some time but never like now. This service has so many benefits, not least, helping the sector by informing the government of the true needs but also the amazing diversity of the sector. It shows policy makers just how much is going on and therefore the need for more funding and support in their future planning. The more organisations who join ASC-WDS, the better the sector will be. This resource has so much to offer and it’s free; I’m excited to see what else comes from ASC-WDS.


Find out more

If you want to know more about the service and the benefits of using it, please visit our dedicated webpage and take a look at our brand new video which tells you everything you need to know about ASC-WDS.

You can create an account with just a few basic details about your workplace.