Skip to main content

Publication, Part of

Community Services Statistics May 2021

Experimental statistics

Current Chapter

Differences between the new and previous versions of the dataset

Health Visiting data

A supplementary file containing Health Visiting metrics has now been added to this publication (see Data Sets section).

12 May 2022 09:30 AM

Differences between the new and previous versions of the dataset


CSDS v1.5 is a minor uplift to the established CSDS v1.0 and is required to keep the data set relevant with current clinical practices, maintain compliance with national data standards, meet policy requirements and allow further submission of data by all age patients. 

To deliver this, there are a number of small structural changes in this release, including additional tables to capture care plan data and additional information on the person's personal circumstances and employment status. 

The previous version of the dataset, CSDSv1.0 ceased collection with June 2020 data that was published in October 2020.

Data collection

From the July 2020 data, the CSDS is being collected via the  SDCS Cloud. Prior to this, CSDS data was collected via the Bureau Service Portal.

Unlike the Bureau Service Portal, the SDCS Cloud is an internet-facing service that does not require an N3 or HSCN connection, making it easier for providers to submit data and therefore enabling better coverage in published statistics. This new service stores CSDS data in cloud-based infrastructure.

Detailed guidance is available to support providers in making submissions via the SDCS Cloud. This includes detailed technical and user guidance. New providers must complete a defined process to gain access to the SDCS Cloud. It also uses two-factor authentication as the secure method of confirming user identity using a combination of two different factors.

Find out more about the SDCS Cloud

Data validation

The data is validated at the point of submission, for each provider. If file-level validation checks are not passed the provider will receive a file-level rejection report. If file-level validation is passed, the data are successfully submitted but the provider will still receive a report containing details of field-level errors and warnings. These can be investigated, corrected and further submissions can be made within the submission window.

Data processing

From July 2020 data, the CSDS data are processed using NHS Digital’s new Data Processing Services (DPS). DPS use modern technologies and processes to collect, process and access data more efficiently.

Find out more about our Data Processing Services


Data security and patient identifiers

Patient identifiers

In the previous version of the dataset, individuals were uniquely and safely identified using the pseudonymised data item CSDS_Person_ID. This item was derived from a combination of identifiable data items, such NHS number, date of birth, postcode and gender to search a patient index and apply an existing ID to matching patients already present in the index or allocate a new ID for new patients. The index was common to both CSDS and the Maternity Services Dataset (MSDS), allowing linkage to track patients accessing both services.

Master person service

CSDSv1.5 uses the new Master Person Service (MPS), to allocate a pseudonymised item, PERSON_ID. The MPS is an enhanced patient-matching algorithm that increases the number of linkable records where incomplete records have been submitted. It is intended that MPS is commonly used in all datasets processed using DPS, facilitating simpler data linkage.

The two methodologies are not compatible, however the new PERSON_IDs created by the MPS will be retrospectively applied to CSDSv1.0 data, making it possible to track individuals over the lifespan of both datasets.



These statistics are disseminated via the NHS Digital website.

The format of the community services monthly statistics publication based on CSDSv1.5 has changed from earlier publications in that we have moved to an HTML based publication format following Government Digital Service/UK Statistics Authority recommendations about making our data more accessible and user friendly to readers.

The new format is less reliant on downloading and opening attachments, allowing the data to accessed directly on screen. This will allow for more interactive content to be displayed.

The data used in this publication is available in a CSV to comply with the Open Government Licence standard on Open Data.

Review and feedback

The statistics presented in this publication are currently designated as experimental statistics and, as such, remain under constant review.

The Community Analysis team welcomes any comments or feedback on the publication:



Last edited: 11 May 2022 10:00 am