The research underpinning the development of the ASCOT was led by Professor Ann Netten and involved several researchers from the PSSRU at the University of Kent and LSE. The tool was developed over a decade, with its origins in the Older People’s Utility Scale (OPUS) project that was published in 2002. OPUS focused on older adults and was the first ‘preference-weighted’ measure of social care outcomes, meaning it was able to reflect the fact that people value having their needs met in some areas of quality of life more highly than in others.
As the policy emphasis on measuring the effectiveness, productivity and outcomes of public services increased, a series of research studies was undertaken by the PSSRU to develop new versions of the measure and extend it to new user groups and settings. These projects included work on estimating the productivity of personal social services in national accounts (2005), the young adults user experience survey (2006), the individual budgets evaluation (2008), and the Office of National Statistics (ONS)-led Measuring Outcomes for Public Service Users (MOPSU)’ project (2010), which also included an adapted toolkit for measuring the outcomes of care homes.
The ASCOT website was launched in June 2010, but intensive work continued to test and refine the tool as part of a project funded by the Health Technology Assessment programme (Netten et al. 2012). This enabled us to consolidate all the different strands of work from the previous decade and to generate the outcome domains and preference weights that are currently in ASCOT today.