Skills for Care

How Blackpool Council uses data to plan for a better future for people in their area

25 Oct 2023

3 min read

Skills for Care


We hear from Blackpool Council about how they’ve been encouraging care providers in their area to sign-up to the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) so they can use data to drive positive changes for the area.

Blackpool Council have been supporting care providers in Blackpool to create an ASC-WDS account so they can access better local data.

The percentage of Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated providers using ASC-WDS in Blackpool has increased from 33% in January 2022 to 71.1% in September 2023, which is an incredible success. Blackpool now has an ambition to be the local authority with the highest ASC-WDS coverage in the country.

Karen Smith, Director of Adult Social Services, gave her full support to the project, recognising the importance of using ASC-WDS to get good quality data about the local workforce. The insights produced from ASC-WDS would be used help to plan and deliver social care across Blackpool.

The project involved a number of different job roles within the local authority. Karen told us that her colleague Patrick O’Connor, Quality Assurance Manager (Adults), directed the activity with a full project brief, while Dawn MacKinnon, Quality Monitoring Officer, and Kirsty Perry, Peer Support and Resilience Officer, have been instrumental in delivering the activity and achieving the increase in uptake.

The team began by emailing all providers who weren’t already using ASC-WDS, highlighting the main benefits and offering support to get started. They followed this up with a phone call a few days later, with the offer of a face-to-face session for providers to go over ASC-WDS in more detail if they needed it.

Dawn and Kirsty talked to providers about the training and qualifications feature and the benchmarking tool that care providers could use to compare their own workforce metrics with those in their local area.

With the support of their Skills for Care locality manager, they also made providers aware that signing up to ASC-WDS allowed them to access the Workforce Development Fund (WDF). This allows them to access funding for a wide variety of staff training and continuing professional development options. It was important to the council to make providers aware of this funding which will ensure social care colleagues can access more learning and development opportunities. This means that staff can provide the best quality of care and feel confident in the roles, and will also support providers with their CQC inspections.

A parallel project has seen the establishment of a health and social care training academy within Blackpool Council. This has meant that more training is now being delivered in the area being eligible for WDF funding. The establishment of the academy has been helpful because it has encouraged more providers to update their ASC-WDS account, which is a requirement of claiming the funding.

This increase in providers using ASC-WDS means that Blackpool Council have access to a greater wealth of data about the adult social care workforce. This can be used to inform local commissioning and help them to plan for the sector’s future. For example, they’re currently using the data to develop a market position statement for care at home. The more care providers that share their workforce data in ASC-WDS, the more accurate the local insights are. This means that the social care structure is better understood, leading to better local policy and funding interventions.

Matt Errington, Skills for Care Locality Manager for the North West says:

Having this project has really helped drive up completion of ASC-WDS and has made real improvements to overall engagement in Blackpool of the importance of collecting data and its impact on workforce planning.

Find out more about ASC-WDS and sign-up:

Topic areas

How ASC-WDS is being used locally

#SalutingOurSisters: Francesca Darby shares her career story this Black History Month