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Methodology for creating workforce estimates

We estimate the size, structure and characteristics of the adult social care workforce in England, annually.

Good quality information about the adult social care workforce is vital to help improve the planning and quality of social care services, which will improve outcomes for people who use these services, both now and in the future.

Our latest estimates are based on independent sector information as at March 2019 and local authority information as at September 2018. Jobs working for direct payment recipients are calculated from a survey of individual employers and their personal assistants and is correct as at February 2019.

Overview of our methodology

  • We use data collected by the ASC-WDS to create workforce models that, in turn, allow for estimates of the whole adult social care workforce to be produced.
  • Our methodology allows the analysis to be representative of all adult social care workers, even if the ASC-WDS has uneven levels of data coverage.
  • All data is validated at source and has been through rigorous data quality checks before analysis.
  • Skills for Care has confidence in the quality of these estimates; the methodologies used have been peer reviewed by universities and an independent statistician.

Details of our methodology 

The ASC-WDS collects information about the adult social care sector and workforce. It's structured into two parts;

The workplace

  • employment type, e.g. local authority, private or voluntary/charity
  • main and other care services provided, e.g. residential care with or without nursing or domiciliary care (36 service types in total)
  • geographical location
  • CQC registration information
  • care and support needs supported e.g. dementia care, learning disabilities (23 options)
  • new starters, staff leavers and vacancy information.

The workforce

  • main and any other job roles of workers (29 job role options)
  • contract type, e.g. permanent, temporary or agency
  • demographics e.g. gender, age, disability status, ethnicity and nationality
  • employment information e.g. zero-hours contracts, contracted or average hours sickness rates
  • experience in sector and role, and source of recruitment
  • pay rate
  • qualification and training information, care certificate and apprenticeship training
  • reasons for leaving.

Approximately half of the workforce are recorded in the ASC-WDS. This coverage varies by care service, job role and geographical area.

Local authorities (adult social services departments)

For the past seven years Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (NMDS-SC) has been the adult workforce data return for local authorities. In 2018, for the seventh year in a row, all 152 local authorities in England met the criteria of a full return for people working in their adult social services departments. This means we have data from every local authority with an adult social services department in England.

CQC regulated services

  • Skills for Care estimates that there were 39,000 care establishments providing or organising adult social care in England in 2018, around 24,500 of these services were CQC regulated. 

  • In 2018, the ASC-WDS (NMDS-SC) had around 55% coverage of all CQC regulated social care establishments.
  • These CQC regulated establishments had completed around 565,000 worker records between them (out of a total population of around 1.1 million workers employed by CQC regulated employers).

A sample of this size provides a solid basis for creating reliable and precise analysis about the adult social care workforce at both a national and local level.

We use data collected by the ASC-WDS to create workforce models that, in turn, allow for estimates of the whole adult social care workforce to be produced.

To do this, we make estimates of workforce characteristics (e.g. demographics, pay rates, employment statuses) for each geographical area, service type, employer type and job role combination that we report by.

These estimates are then ‘weighted’ according to coverage/completeness of the sector in each of the above areas. For example, an area with 50% coverage would use more weighted data in the final analysis than an area with 90% coverage. Using this methodology allows for the analysis to be representative of all adult social care workers even if the NMDS-SC has uneven levels of data coverage.

Skills for Care is confident in the quality of these estimates and the methodologies used have been peer reviewed by universities and an independent statistician. 

Every effort is made to ensure that information derived from the ASC-WDS is reliable.

  • In 2018, the ASC-WDS (NMDS-SC) had around 55% coverage of all CQC regulated social care establishments.
  • Over 90% of employers updated their data in the past 12 months.
  • All data is validated at source and has been through rigorous data quality checks during the analysis.

 

Our workforce estimates, publications and interactive visualisations

Our workforce estimates are used to produce national, regional and local area reports about the adult social care sector and workforce. We also publish reports about key workforce topics and interactive visualisations.

 

Open Data and raw data

Both Open Data and raw analysis files contain aggregate level, anonymised information on workplaces in the ASC Workforce Data Set.

You can access this data here.

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