Jun 21

Data driven decisions: what adult social care leaders can learn from using data

Posted: 11 June 2021

There’s no doubt that instinct, empathy, and communication are traits of a good leader, but beyond these characteristics there’s something else which can help make a great leader – data.

Using data to analyse results, identify future challenges, and make decisions can be helpful in creating a successful strategy. That’s why ensuring that comprehensive and accurate data is available to support the adult social care sector is key to our work at Skills for Care.

Working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, our Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) is the leading source of workforce information for the adult social care workforce in England and there’s currently over 19,000 care providers using the service.         




This data is gained directly through social care employers using the online service.

ASC-WDS allows care providers to benchmark themselves against other care providers in the local area on metrics including pay, turnover, and sickness rate to see how they compare. You can sign up to ASC-WDS to make use of these benchmarks. You can find out more about the business benefits of using ASC-WDS in our explainer video.

The data insights on the workforce intelligence section of our website are open to all and are used by decision makers including those in the Department of Health and Social Care, local authorities, the CQC, and Integrated Care Settings to make informed decisions for the care sector such as vaccine rollouts, increasing the National Living Wage, understanding the age breakdown of employees in the sector, and promoting adult social care as a career.

Having access to data is key in empowering leaders to make confident decisions based on facts. So, what can social care leaders learn from using data? Find out below.


Analyse pay rates within the sector

Using data can help shape your wage structure. Data allows employers to see the average pay rate across the social care sector as a whole, as well as by main service type, specific roles and in different local authorities.

Gaining this insight into pay levels across the sector allows you to benchmark your pay rates against others in the sector.


See how your turnover rates compare to other care providers

It can be difficult to know what the average staff turnover rate is in social care, so having benchmark data to compare your turnover rate against is the best way for social care employers to assess whether their turnover rate is in line with other providers.

Understanding your turnover rate is helpful in making recruitment and retention decisions and introducing new processes such as values based recruitment to help you find and keep the best people for your organisation.


Get insight into different roles across organisations

Data can allow you to assess the set-up of your organisation and identify where there may be opportunities for introducing new roles and skills.

Gaining insights into how other similar organisations are comprised can help with decisions around introducing a new role to the organisation, providing an additional element of training for staff, or making a change to the organisational structure.


Understand the demographic make-up of the sector

Building a diverse team who understand and represent the people you support helps your organisation to provide the best level of care for all.

Using demographic data will allow you to get a clear insight into the make-up of your organisation and benchmark this against the sector as a whole.

These insights can help to introduce recruitment and workplace policies which promote equality and diversity.


Know what will be needed from the sector in the future

Workforce projection data is a key source for identifying and securing the needs of the social care sector in the future. Using ASC-WDS data allows us to produce workforce projections, which give us an understanding of the scale of the challenges we face as we move forward. Having this insight allows us to start planning for future challenges right now.

Our workforce models show that if the adult social care workforce grows proportionately to the number of people aged 65+ we’ll need around 2.17 million jobs in social care by 2035. That’s an extra 600,000+ jobs.

Having this foresight allows everyone across the sector to plan for the future - ensuring we’re prepared, promoting social care career opportunities, and training and developing the future social care workforce.

As a leader working in a sector as important as social care making decisions can be difficult, but using data to learn what works, what’s needed, and where there are opportunities for growth and change is a great helping hand to build yourself to become a more effective and more confident leader.

Have a look at our ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report for more data insights that can help inform your strategy and decision making.