Linked data research and social care: What data sources are available across the UK?

Categories: Blogs, ADR Wales, YDG Cymru, Health & wellbeing

17 January 2024

The ADR Wales social care team hosted a workshop with the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research and the Office for National Statistics at the ADR UK Conference 2023. We discussed what UK data sources on adult social care delegates were aware of – and what further data could be added to support research.

Through the conversations, we heard that the availability of social care data varied across the four nations of the UK nations, with some incredible pockets of data available and work in progress. Most prominent was that the availability of children’s social care data was much greater compared to data on adults, and the number of impactful research projects being delivered is phenomenal. These projects illustrated what can be achieved – and what needs to be achieved – by linking adult social care data.

Delegates discussed the social care data sources they had experience working with, as well as others that had been effectively used by peers. These included care home data, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) data, and the Looked After Children Census. It’s clear from the variety of sources discussed that there are already significant opportunities to provide insights by linking these data sources. Even acquiring only a few additional data sources would create significant possibilities to demonstrate the value of data linkage, and provide otherwise unseen opportunities for insight.

Turning to the future, workshop delegates knew that much more could be achieved in adult social care and that there could be a vast impact on people accessing and delivering care and support, policymakers, and researchers.

Delegates discussed the need for greater availability of relevant, up to date, good quality data. For example, the forthcoming Adults Receiving Care and Support Census will provide valuable data in Wales, as would the ability to link social care data to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or His Majesty Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data. Data on specific topics, such as unpaid carers or wearable technology, would also be valuable.

Take a look at the final blog post of the series to find out the group’s views on the priority research areas for linked adult social care data.

 Are you interested in adult social care?

 Join us for an event highlighting the value of linked data research in adult social care in Wales.

‘Unlocking the power of adult social care data’ in Wales will be held online on 6 February.

The event will bring together stakeholders interested in collecting, sharing or using adult social care data to benefit the public and improve social care policies and practice. Among those attending will be researchers and policymakers, along with representatives from local authorities, independent social care providers, the third sector and the public.

 Sign up here

Read more from the ADR UK Conference 2023

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