Skills for Care

Skills for Care produces vital intelligence to support local authorities and other sector bodies to help them understand and support their local workforce. 


Workforce Intelligence

Skills for Care is the leading source of workforce intelligence for adult social care in England. We provide crucial evidence to key decision makers such as Government, DHSC, CQC and other bodies which support social care providers.  

Local authorities, Integrated Care Systems and Care Associations can use the information we publish to inform their workforce plans, market shaping strategy and Joint Needs Assessment Statements. It allows them to understand their local workforce, their needs and how best to support them.

Using our interactive visualisation tools, you will be able to see what the adult social care workforce looks like in all the local areas in England. Compare two or more local areas at the same time, or look at one area to get more detailed information on that area.

  • My local area: A detailed interactive visualisation showing local areas in England one at a time, and summary reports for each area.
  • Local area comparison: this interactive visualisation allows you to compare two or more local areas in England.

These tools tell you information such as the breakdown of adult social care jobs across your area, vacancy and turnover rates and the demographics of people working in care. You can also drill down to look at the data by sector, type of service and job role e.g. care worker turnover rate in residential settings.

  • My ICS area: take a look at the latest information from ASC-WDS split into Integrated Care System (ICS) areas. The information is of use to local planners across the health and social care systems.
  • Analysis by care need (by ICS area): Breakdowns are available by care need (learning disability and autism or mental health), category (generalist or specialist) type of service and job role.

The Skills for Care analysis team can provide you with bespoke commissioned support. We can help with future workforce forecasting and overviews of the sector and workforce at a local level. With the right level of data, we can create analysis on a district level and help you identify trends across your workforce metrics.  

Take a look at our video which gives more information on the Workforce Intelligence team, the reports that they produce and the bespoke support they can provide. 

For more information contact

"In my role, I coordinate work focusing on scoping and planning for the adult social care workforce across six South East London areas. Recruitment- both domestic and international- is an important issue in the sector so I’m often presenting to care providers and commissioners on how we might meet those challenges in our local area.  

In those presentations, I always share the workforce data from Skills for Care and use this to get providers thinking about their workforce in different ways. What does the data tell them? Are there more cost-effective ways they could be responding to their recruitment challenges?   

For example, I use data about the number of CQC locations in an area, turnover rates and the percentage of staff recruited from within the sector to show the competition for staff. It highlights that the recruitment challenge might actually indicate a retention challenge as well.  

This data supports me in saying: ‘Let’s take a moment to get off the hamster wheel of constantly recruiting and invest in keeping people instead’. The churn in an organisation often comes from a particular issue; it might be pay, or an issue in the organisational culture. But there are often things that can be done to address those issues. This approach has lots of benefits for providers. It can lead to improved consistency, quality, and ultimately, it’s more cost effective.  

I also discuss the data on demographics in the local workforce. It can help target recruitment in the local area, such as to a younger audience, to counteract the percentage of the workforce who are aged over 55. We need to ensure workforce supply doesn’t drop off a cliff when so many of our workers reach retirement age.  

The demographics of the workforce in comparison to demographics of the service users can also give us some important insight. In our local areas, those two sets of demographics are often very different. We need to think about supporting our staff to provide care in different cultural contexts and what that might mean for the way they work and the training they need.   

When I’m talking to commissioners, the data is useful in getting them to think about how they can use it to better understand the providers that they’re working with. We rely on the independent sector to provide the services we commission. Therefore, it's important that commissioners are thinking about the makeup and quality of the workforce they are commissioning. It’s also part of their statutory market management responsibilities. I challenge commissioners to think about how the way they work can influence the shape of the workforce. I ask them to reflect on how the requirements in their specifications effect the overall workforce. For example, some areas specify pay levels for staff, which comes through in data as less local churn because workers are all being paid the same.  

Ultimately, data is a great starting point for thinking about how we can face our challenges together. It allows us to be more strategic in the way we manage our local workforce."

"Access to the dataset has allowed us to identify the areas that North Lincolnshire will need to address in order to ensure the sustainability of our workforce over the next decade. 

The datasets workforce statistics have provided us with oversight concerning the potential gap that will be left in our workforce due to retirement over the next decade.  This has had a significant impact on the way we interpret the local authority's role in local recruitment.

We have stepped up our engagement in local recruitment and tailored our initiatives in a way in which is receptive to our new knowledge of recruitment and demographics as a consequence of the Skills for Care data. 

We have recognised a need to target younger audiences in the job market and have linked with local media companies to build modern promotional material to recruit from younger age groups. The data concerning age has also stimulated us to approach local educational institutions and provide them with an account of what delegates from our market would like to see in their curriculum so that new care workers from younger age groups are equipped with the correct skills. 

All in all, ASC-WDS has provided a great justification to build up a bank of recruitment assets and to engage with local partnerships that will hopefully contribute to workforce sustainability and resilience."


The Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set

Skills for Care’s workforce intelligence is based on data we collect through the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) which is a voluntary data collection service commissioned and funded by DHSC.

Nationally, approximately half of CQC rated services contribute to the data set. We create our workforce intelligence estimates using rigorous modelling techniques, so we can use data from this portion of the workforce to confidently produce estimates for the whole sector. On a local level, the coverage varies from area to area. More providers in your area completing the data set means we can provide more detailed insight on a regular basis and enhance the knowledge which is available to you.

Along with providing crucial information about the sector, ASC-WDS also provides tools and benefits for care providers to use in their organisations. They can access funding for training, store staff and training records for free, benchmark workforce metrics against others and more.

Local authorities can start by understanding who in your area is/isn’t engaged by asking your locality manager for a copy of your coverage and provider list. 

We’ve spoken to local authorities and care associations across the country to find out how they approach increasing the number of care providers in their areas who use ASC-WDS. Here’s some of their top tips: 

  • Regularly promote ASC-WDS in your newsletters, emails, social media channels and on your website. 

  • Host an information event for care providers or include as an agenda item in your provider network meetings. Your Skills for Care locality manager can help you deliver the content. 

  • Inform providers in your area when you’ve used the intelligence to support a particular project or decision so they can see the influence of their data at work.  

  • Add a commitment to encouraging the use of ASC-WDS in your workforce strategy.  

  • Make an ASC-WDS return a condition of contract for care providers commissioned by the local authority and add it to contract monitoring processes.  

  • Target providers who don’t have an account with ASC-WDS specific calls or mail shots.  

  • Consider linking to short term funding opportunities where appropriate (eg. the Workforce Capacity Funding) 

  • Make sure colleagues know about the benefits of ASC-WDS and talk to providers about it in their day to day work.  

Not only does increasing the number of providers contributing their data benefit you, it’s also encouraged by central government. The Adult social care: COVID-19 winter plan 2021 to 2022 urges Local Authorities to support providers in their area to update their ASC-WDS records to support workforce capacity monitoring and planning. 

We’ve developed some resources to help you engage providers in your area.

  • ASC-WDS PowerPoint presentation : this presentation can be used when speaking to a group of providers about the service. It’s written from the perspective of the local authority and includes why the data is important to them, the benefits for providers and how to sign up.
  • ASC-WDS Introductory email : when contacting providers that do not have an ASC-WDS account or may not know much about the service, this text can be used in an email. It’s written from the view of the local authority and explains the benefits of ASC-WDS. 
  • ASC-WDS slide for training providers to use: a reminder to add the training to their ASC-WDS account and how to do that
  • ASC-WDS promotional messages : a selection of short promotional messages to use in your newsletters, emails and website with links to videos and webinars. 
  • Social media messages: a selection of social media messages and banners that can be used to promote ASC-WDS.

Banner 1 | Banner 2 | Banner 3 | Banner 4 | Banner 5 | Banner 6 

  • Examples of contract wording : this document details some wording that local authorities can consider including in contracts with service providers


NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board have funded work at Gloucestershire Care Providers Association (GCPA) to increase the number of care providers who are using ASC-WDS. There are two main benefits in doing this work. The ICB gets access to more aggregated local data about the social care workforce. It also means that care providers using the service can access the benefits and funding that ASC-WDS gives them.

GCPA actively contact all the care providers in their area to give an overview of ASC-WDS. They explain why it’s used in the local area, how GCPA can support providers in getting started and offer one-to-one support as needed. They help care providers to understand what’s involved and even sit with them to answer any questions as they get their accounts set up. Care providers don’t tend to have any issues using the service once they’ve gotten started, but the presence of an external supporter helps them set aside the dedicated time for adding their data.

GCPA worked closely with their Skills for Care locality manager throughout the work. They said “Without Keryn, Gloucestershire's locality manager, my job would have been almost impossible. The data she has provided me on ASC-WDS uptake has been invaluable as has her incredibly prompt replies... Any future versions of this support with ASC-WDS should really strive for a strong relationship between the association's support officer and the Skills for Care locality manager.”


When the engagement work began in June 2023, 46% of CQC registered care providers in Gloucestershire were using ASC-WDS. This figure has steadily increased to 51.5% in January 2024.


We recently partnered with London ADASS to share ASC-WDS data to support their local intelligence. London ADASS are working with the London School of Economics to create some workforce reports, bringing together data from ASC-WDS and other sources. This will enable holistic analysis and informed decision-making on workforce across the region.

They will conduct econometric analysis of the relationship between workforce characteristics of providers and quality of service provision. The availability of these reports ensures local authority commissioners have access to as much information as possible and can see the relationships between different metrics to make informed commissioning decisions.

Using data we collect in ASC-WDS, we can share information at care provider level, like vacancy and turnover rates. We can also provide important information about the workforce such as staff contract types, pay rates and qualifications.

Of course, we can only offer these insights where providers are using ASC-WDS and have given us permission to share their data. So, to help increase the intelligence available for their decision making, London ADASS have been working to drive ASC-WDS engagement with providers across the region.

They have identified a single point of contact at each London borough who is responsible for sharing messages with providers. On a weekly basis, we share the list of providers who do or do not have an ASC-WDS account in each area. Some boroughs have phoned each provider to encourage them to sign up, others are holding focused provider forums.


Overall, the London region increased the percentage of CQC registered providers who use ASC-WDS from 35.2% in January 2022 to 41% by May 2022. Some individual boroughs saw significant increases through this activity too, with the top areas growing as much as 21%.

With focused effort, the London region has shown what great results can be achieved. It’s a substantial increase, but there’s still some way to go to reach the national average of around 50%. London ADASS have now included ASC-WDS promotion in their Commissioning and Data Insights work programme and ongoing provider engagement plans.