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Social care team

Social care provides care for those who need it by providing a system of services and support to help people to retain their independence and dignity.

We collect and publish a wide range of information on social care activity. This data gives us an insight into how much money is spent on social care and what it is spent on. The data we collect is used to help plan, deliver and monitor services. 


Social care data is collected by councils responsible for adult social care through council administration systems. This data is submitted to us by the 152 councils with adult social services responsibilities in England. It is used to track client journeys through the social care system so they can be assessed locally and nationally across England.

Social care data collections cover:

  • social services activity
  • safeguarding adults
  • the Mental Health Act
  • the Mental Capacity Act
  • surveys of those in receipt of care and their carers
  • an adult social care finance return
  • summaries of the registers of people who are blind and partially sighted
  • a social care minimum data set

Most of the national social care data collections are aggregate (counts of service users, carers, and events), not individual records. The social care data we collect populates the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF). This measures how well the care and support services achieve the outcomes that matter most to people.


Councils submit data through our Strategic Data Collection Service.

Analyse and interpret

ASCOF is used both locally and nationally to set priorities for care and support, measure progress and strengthen transparency and accountability. ASCOF measures care and support services through four domains: 

  • enhancing quality of life for people with care and support needs
  • delaying and reducing the need for care and support
  • ensuring that people have a positive experience of care and support
  • safeguarding adults whose circumstances make them vulnerable and protecting them from avoidable harm


We publish this data through our social care publications including the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF), that measures how well services are performing. 


The data we collect is used by local authorities to:

  • support service planning and improvement
  • benchmark against peers
  • monitor performance (including against their legal requirements)
  • provide local accountability

It is also used by the Department of Health and Social Care for performance benchmarking, research and policy making. 

We produce and support answers to parliamentary questions, freedom of information requests and other ad hoc requirements. 

Our social care data is used by other public bodies like Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as well as charities and researchers.

The ASCOF report is of interest to central government (for policy development and monitoring, and for parliamentary questions and Prime Minister's questions), councils, charities, academics and the general public. It enables performance to be monitored and improved. The other publications enable monitoring of critical legal obligations and can focus attention on areas for improvement. 

An example of change driven by social care datasets is the transfer of care initiative. This was set up in reaction to patient safety information highlighted by social care reporting. 33 per cent of the 10,000 patient safety incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) between October 2012 and September 2013 related directly to poor communication when a patient leaves hospital. The initiative was developed to improve communication between professionals as the patient's care is transferred from hospital to social care providers. This has led to a near universal uptake of electronic discharge summaries, making sure that important information is passed on and patients can be looked after properly. 

Last edited: 17 December 2019 3:38 pm