Over the last couple of months colleagues and I have been conducting a number of interviews with Directors of Adults Social Services (DASS) in anticipation of the big release of new and updated data sets from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (SALT, Finance Return, Outcomes framework, user survey), with the final release planned for 6th October 2015. Our big concern, not just with these data sets but a great many others, is that it would still leave councils as DRIPs (Data Rich, Insight Poor). From conversations with over 20 practitioners we feel that our initial concern was valid.
The sector has told us that the most common use of national data is simply to worry about where your council appears in the league table on any individual measure. The most time-consuming aspect for a DASS is therefore responding to questions and concerns about relative performance on any individual measure – pointing out the different ways data is recorded and how individual measures on their own can be misleading.
Originally our intention was to write a paper highlighting these concerns, however after reflecting on the messages we were receiving we have decided to go in a different direction and start to explore how the national data sets, including health information, can be used differently to provide better insight than is currently available. To this end we will be undertaking a 2 day ‘data scrum’ immediately after the new data sets become publicly available to trial out different ways of analysing the data.
On 9th October we will release a short note giving a more helpful and balanced view of each councils’ adult social care performance that combines outcomes, performance, finance and health data. If you’d like to take part, either attending the day and being a part of our analysis efforts, or would like to know more then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.