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Data collection from adult social care will aid research into coronavirus trends in care settings

The Social Care Data Collection for Pandemic Planning and Research will collect existing, anonymised data on the COVID-19 status of care givers and care receivers directly from IT systems.

The collection will show trends within care settings at a local and national level which will support forecasting of future waves of the pandemic. It will be used to inform research, to plan better services, to deliver better value for money and to improve the quality of individual care. 

The COVID-19 status of care givers and care receivers is included along with information on location, type of care provision, and key demographics of care receivers, to identify current and historical trends.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased and urgent demand for accurate and timely social care data for planning and research.  Care providers1 have been recording COVID-19 status information as part of their workflow within their care management software2.

The data will only be shared to support the coronavirus response3. This data collection will run until 31 March 2022 but will be reviewed in September 2020 and every six months thereafter.

The collection does not include identifiable personal data, and steps will be taken to ensure no indirect identification is possible. Access will be restricted initially to organisations tasked with the planning and delivery of social care. A sector wide board will oversee the data collection, analysis and include representatives from the care provider sector.

James Palmer, Programme Head for Social Care at NHS Digital, said: “This collection will provide controlled access to a range of existing data to support service planning, outcome monitoring and research during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It could save lives if there is a second wave of coronavirus by showing trends in social care at a national and local level. We have been working closely with colleagues across the sector and will be sharing data in a managed way initially but with a view to opening it up more widely in the future.”

Robin Wells, Membership Secretary for the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA), said: “The availability of timely and accurate data is crucial to planning for any further COVID-19 waves. Many of our members digital care management systems collect this data on a real-time basis, thereby providing a rich source of anonymised data which is essential to accurate planning and saving lives. In a sector dominated by paper-based systems the value of this data collection clearly demonstrates the important contribution that digital systems can bring to improving the overall quality of social care.”

Ian Turner, Chief Executive of the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA), representing the Care Provider Alliance, said: “This collection is an important opportunity to use anonymised data which is routinely collected by care providers to support research during Covid-19. By using this data to help to predict future waves of this pandemic, we can better support the social care sector and people receiving care.”

More detailed information is available in the Data Provision Notice.

Notes for editors


    1. The collection initially includes suppliers included in the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA), which is an independent association representing the views and interests of social care software providers. Coverage is approximately 30% of social care providers currently.
    2. This information has also been inputted into the NHS England Capacity Tracker and the CQC online reporting tool.
    3. NHS Digital’s legal power to collect and analyse the data is provided under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020. 

Last edited: 10 January 2022 5:46 pm