Skills for Care

We work to ensure the adult social care system is well funded, supports people to live the lives that they choose, and attracts the right people to the workforce. 

We do this by gathering and analysing workforce intelligence data through our Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), using our intelligence and insight from the sector to support local and national partners in strategy and policy development, and supporting social care within Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).  


Why is this important? 

A workforce that has the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right jobs is at the core of truly person-centred integrated care. This requires the workforce to be sufficiently funded and for reforms to address the current and future workforce challenges. 

The funding gap for social care in 2022 was estimated to be £7.1billion (The Health Foundation: Social care funding gap), and levels of public satisfaction are low. In 2022, only 15% of people thought social care services were good in their area and this dropped to 11% in 2023 (Ipsos and Health Foundation). 

Our evidence review in January 2021 recognised the importance of integration and joined-up working across systems and a need for national leadership on social care, with a shared vision and political consensus on how to address the main challenges. 


Data and intelligence 

We want local and national decision-makers to use our high-quality data, models, intelligence, tools and best practice insights to improve workforce planning, commissioning, and build a national workforce strategy for social care.  

ASC-WDS is the engine that drives our workforce intelligence, collecting rich data that helps us identify, understand and tackle the challenges the sector is facing. 

  • 51% of CQC regulated workplaces were using ASC-WDS at the end of February 2023 – that is 14,114 workplaces.  

  • ASC-WDS had over 10 million page views. 

  • there were 195,000 tableau views of ASC-WDS data, an increase of 21% on the previous year. 

  • Our ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report was downloaded more than 2,700 times. 



We continued to contribute to high-profile debates and activity. 

This year we: 

  • provided a detailed written submission to the Hewitt Review of Integrated Care Systems, and a wide range of speaking engagements at major conferences and events – including presenting at the NHS Confederation conference.  

  • helped produce a guide for system leaders to plan for an integrated workforce in partnership with NHS Employers, ensuring that adult social care language, challenges and priorities were reflected and landed with a key audience through joint promotion with health leaders. The guide was published online and attracted 3,500 users in the first 6 weeks of publication. It was showcased to ICS workforce leads at an ICS conference held in November in order to gather feedback and next steps. 

  • worked directly with over 80% of Integrated Care Systems and we were members of 32 of the 42 People Boards. We provided oral evidence to the cross-party thought leadership roundtables hosted by the Health Devolution Commission into ICS workforce planning and management, an address to the NHS Strategic Workforce Forum, a presentation to an NHS Employers Board meeting and a high-profile main stage panel discussion at ConfedExpo 2022. 

  • continued to engage with and shape policy initiatives and consultation opportunities which influence the direction of integration. This included engagement and a meeting with Dr Claire Fuller on the Fuller Stocktake and our submission to the Hewitt review helped ensure the final report reflected Skills for Care statistics on the composition and value of adult social care and helped build a “compelling case” for adult social care provider engagement. 



Recognition and understanding of social care are essential to the success of integration. We are working to increase understanding of social care among health partners – and of integration within the care sector.  

This year we: 

  • connected over 7,000 managers to a registered manager network and a minimum of over 3,300 individual managers attended at least one network meeting. Registered managers are at the heart of every outstanding provider, working hard to create a person-centred culture that delivers high-quality care. 

    I make it a priority to come to the registered manager network meetings. There is just so much to our role that I can't possibly know all the answers. Part of the meeting is to network with others who have similar experiences and to learn from them. We support each other and bring back ideas to our own service that directly benefits our staff and service users.

    Registered Manager
  • supported four networks for nominated individuals, and a further four networks for CEOs across our areas, reaching over 650 individuals. 

  • continued to provide a support offer to registered managers, our series of registered manager webinars remain popular, with over 8,500 views of our recorded webinars and a record attendance for a live webinar in March 2023 with 931 managers joining one session. 

  • encouraged joined-up local workforce planning and development for health and social care by publishing regional, ICS and local authority level data which we have shared and discussed with Health Education England, all 151 Local Authorities and 32 ICS People Boards.

  • worked with colleagues in the health sector providing intelligence, insight and context on the adult social care sector with the aim of increasing the recognition (as equal partners) of providers and commissioners in integrated settings. Using our ‘What is adult social care’ slide deck, Skills for Care supported a minimum of 40+ workshops and facilitated conversations or presentations at system or place level.

  • strengthened links with CQC to inform and support their development of the Local Authority Assurance Framework, including aspects focused on workforce and commissioning. Knowledge of this draft framework will be used to inform our work with local authorities.  


Looking ahead 

We'll continue to support any movement towards a social care sector workforce strategy which is essential to ensure we have the workforce for the future. 

We'll continue to play a key role in system leadership and coordination, supporting DHSC to measure and implement reform agenda. For example, we'll use ASC-WDS to measure the impact of reform investment.

We'll work with partners to develop a shared definition of what successful integrated workforce thinking and planning looks like, and work through our connections to all Local Authorities and at least 32 of the ICS People Boards to embed this approach.