A new initiative aimed at improving social care analytics will focus on better data use and collection to help transform the lives of service users and their families.
The new Community of Practice is a project lead by Future Care Capital (FCC) with the support of the Health Foundation.
It will link up data analysts, policy makers, commissioners, providers, developers and those with lived experience of the care system. And all will be invited to contribute ideas to making the system better.
“This is a community owned by the people who join it." Dr Josephine Magnusson, project lead and FCC Senior Research Officer
At an online event to mark the launch of the initiative, project lead Dr Josephine Magnusson, FCC Senior Research Officer, said as a starting point the Community of Practice will focus on three areas:
“This is a community owned by the people who join it. And we are talking about social care in its broadest sense – not just care homes.”
She added that one of the first tasks would be to identify a set of common norms for social care analytics.
Annemarie Naylor, FCC Director of Policy and Strategy, added that the aim was to make the community as diverse as possible. “Looking at how we can collaborate and speed up improvements is right at the heart of this Community of Practice.”
Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said “social care data and the analytics system just hasn’t had the same kind of investment as data in other sectors”.
“Improving social care data couldn’t be more important. I don’t need to tell you what social care users and carers have been through this year. It’s been chilling.
“When the pandemic statistics first started to appear in the Spring my reactions was ‘how can the data support better care for those in the community who need it most?’
“Much has been achieved, but it’s been an uphill struggle this year. And in part that is because social care data has not had the same level of investment as data in other sectors.”
“Providers have told us that although they want to share data... when they tried they have faced real barriers." Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics, Health Foundation
Future Care Capital and the Health Foundation have held a series of workshops over the summer which revealed some deep-rooted problems.
The system’s deficiencies have been thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic, but those problems went far beyond the pandemic, said Adam Steventon.
“Carers told us they are reluctant to share data with local authorities as they fear it might be used to restrict their entitlement to services.
“Conversely carers have told us they are unheard because they feel the data about their experience is not collected.”
He said that the data that was collected was very much organised around care packages and finance.
“As a result some of the people with the most energy and drive to improve services feel disempowered when it comes to using social care data.
“Providers have told us that although they want to share data to support people, when they tried they have faced real barriers.”
Another speaker, Dr Sophie John, Head of Social Care Analysis at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said one of her priorities was addressing the gaps in evidence surrounding social care data.
OSR research has highlighted a need for improved leadership, more collaboration and accessibility of official social care statistsics. And it revealed comparability issue in data from across the four UK nations.
“Unfortunately there are some big gaps. For example not enough is known about the volume and value of privately funded social care or the burden placed on unpaid carers.”
Dr John said she welcomed the new Community of Practice as a means of bringing people together to address the challenges faced by the sector.
You can join the Community of Practice discussion forum by signing up here.
To watch the launch event webinar discussion click here
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