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Feb 20

How does the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) help with workforce planning?

Posted: 17 February 2020

As we focus on the importance of workforce planning, Dave Griffiths, Skills for Care Programme Head talks about the ASC-WDS service and how it helps our sector with workforce planning.


 What is ASC-WDS?

ASC-WDS is an online data collection that covers the adult social care workforce in England. Care providers use the service to enter their organisation and staff data such as staff numbers and vacancies. The service launched in August 2019, replacing the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC).

Skills for Care manages the service on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). The continued support of DHSC to evolve the service into ASC-WDS is primarily because the data collected is vital to help the sector workforce plan at every level.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn congratulated me on my 14th year with Skills for Care. I’ve been working in this area for a long time and understand the importance of the data within ASC-WDS for many areas including workforce planning.

Workforce planning at a national level

Skills for Care anonymise the data input into the service then we put it to work. Without ASC-WDS we would not know how many people work across adult social care or what roles they perform. Nor would we know how many vacancies there are or how many people leave the sector each year.

We take this knowledge for granted but go back 15 years and this information simply did not exist. We’ve come a long way since then.

You may not realise this, but if you’re an ASC-WDS user then your information is being used to better understand the issues affecting the sector and to help the Government develop policies to address them. This has led to national level policies such as Value Based Recruitment and the current ‘Everyday is Different’ campaign.

These are direct links from your data being input into ASC-WDS to direct action by DHSC and the Government.

Skills for Care also use the data to produce key reports for the sector including the national level ‘Size and structure’ and ‘State of the workforce’ annual reports. These contain the high-level statistics that you may hear quoted on the news and read in the press.

Workforce planning at a local level

Much of adult social care is commissioned at a local level which is why we have specific local level reports and information. Local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Local Workforce Action Boards (LWABs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) all use the ASC-WDS data to help them undertake workforce planning. 

This information can be found on our Workforce Intelligence website where you can use data to gain insight on the local labour market, future demand for care services in your area, as well as trends and patterns in workforce issues such as turnover and pay rates.

How does it help employers with workforce planning?

If you have an ASC-WDS account, you will have access to ‘Training Reports’ that show your worker’s training and qualifications. The service also identifies which staff need training or have training that may soon expire. This helps employers identify any current and potential skills gaps in their workforce.  It can also help planning in regard to developing their workforce and succession planning.

It’s really important that employers understand who makes up their workforce and what it needs to do to support future business plans.

We are currently working on some new functionality within ASC-WDS that will give you at a glance visual information covering your staff turnover, vacancies, the age profile of your workforce, staff sickness, how long staff have been in post and so on. The service will also identify what ‘good’ looks like. 

This will help employers make informed decisions and pull together a workforce plan detailing their future objectives and future workforce needs.

What do users say about the service?

We’ve included users at every step of the way in the way the new service works and the user experience when accessing the service. We’ve had some great feedback but we’re constantly looking to evolve and improve the service.

“The new service is much more friendly, it is clear and easy to use and is already benefitting our staff and our business” Alyson Thompson, Group Training Manager, Maria Mallaband Care Group

Find out more

If you don’t have an ASC-WDS account already take a look at what it can do and sign up for an account here.

Follow our campaign

You can keep up-to-date with our workforce planning campaign here where we’ll add new information, links to useful articles, blogs and resources to help you over the next couple of months.

You can also follow the campaign on social media using #CareWorkforcePlanning