Local solutions

Photo of 3 ladies from Local Solutions who are a care provider in Liverpool We talk to Judith Webb, Safeguarding and Dignity Manager (second on left)

Local Solutions is a charity that employs over 800 members of staff, all of whom are directly involved in the management and provision of social care services. Just over 700 of these are care support workers delivering high quality care to individuals, enabling them to live in their own homes as independently and for as long as possible.

They opened an NMDS-SC account in 2011 and have been enjoying the benefits ever since. 

Here’s what they have to say…

The best features of NMDS-SC from our perspective

  • It’s a useful tool for completing the Provider Information Return (PIR Section 5).
  • We use it to analyse our workforce.
  • It gives us information on which to base decisions so we can make sure our workforce meets the demands of our local services.  

 

The main reason initially was to claim Workforce Development Funding.  As we continued to use the NMDS-SC we’ve realised there are additional benefits, such as the ability to:

  • export data into excel
  • generate reports with the click of a button and include all establishment data
  • filter our data using dashboards.

Our account helps us with our workforce development and gives us accessible data about staff training and qualifications. It also gives us an evidence base for planning and budgeting our learning and development activities.

The dashboards help us compare our performance against other organisations. We can compare demographics, job roles, region, local authority area and type of organisation. This meaningful information helps us work out where we sit within the marketplace. 

In the initial stages, we found it a challenge to collate the information and embed the system into our working practices because of the size of the organisation.

However, the system has become more user-friendly over the years and, as the functionality has developed, there are now clear benefits to using the system and it’s become much easier.

For us, one of the benefits is that it can be completed at our own pace and we’ve found a balance that works for us by updating the database bi-annually during the Christmas and summer months. The database is flexible and we’re not tied to external deadlines.

  • HR use NMDS-SC to identify trends in turnover rates and retention of workers. They also compare our conditions of employment for staff against our competitors and monitor the numbers of staff reaching retirement age.
  • Our training team use it to monitor staff training records and to produce an annual workforce development plan.
  • We sometimes use NMDS-SC reports and briefings and we share our data with CQC and NHS Choices to help us with our online profile. We also share some very basic information with our commissioning local authorities.

We use the e-guide for new members of staff and we use advice and guidance from our Skills for Care locality manager - it’s good to know that expert support is there.

We’ve used the support service to help input bulk data and we refer to the employer checklist and walk-through videos. In the future we will look to use the bulk upload system to make data input as streamlined as possible.

Yes - the NMDS-SC can sometimes seem like an onerous task, however, when you embed it into existing systems, the benefits of having such quick and easy access to a wealth of data about your own organisation and the sector as a whole, are far reaching.

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