Data on Adult Social Care: Scoping Review

Derek King, Raphael Wittenberg (2015)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

British Journal of Social Work

Available online: 17 January 2016

Despite the importance of adult social care in promoting the well-being of several million people in England, data on adult social care is considerably more limited than data on other welfare state services such as health or social security. This report reviewed the range of available quantitative data on adult social care in England, concentrating on 14 main datasets, ranging from the Adult Social Care Survey to the Understanding Society – UK Household Longitudinal Study. Its purpose was to highlight the available quantitative data on adult social care and the scope for making more use of these data in addressing research questions.

The review provides a focused commentary on the broad coverage and quality of the data and practical details about how to access them, as well as plans for future data collections or changes to current collections. Examples are included of how the data have been used in existing studies with a summary of key findings derived from the data. Suggestions are also made about how the data could be used in future research studies. This review also includes some discussion of the issue of linking social care and other data and some of the challenges and opportunities this would present.

It covers national data sources which include information on, for example, need for care, in terms of severe disability; provision of unpaid care from family and friends; numbers of users of care services and volumes of care received and indexes these topics to data collections, and vice versa. Other topics include: characteristics of recipients of unpaid, publicly funded and privately funded care services; expenditure on adult social care; unit costs and payments for care; outcomes of adult social care; numbers and characteristics of providers of formal social care services; and the social care workforce.

The intention is that this review will be updated periodically.