Adult social care statistics

Adult social care is devolved across the UK. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have their own legislative powers. Because of this, there are many different producers of data. This data is published across multiple platforms.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) have published documents showing significant challenges in social care across the four nations in the UK: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. They have called for common areas for improvement across the nations. These challenges include:

  • the need for all countries to work together more regularly and share best practice
  • improving official statistics by standardising data collection processes and increasing accessibility
  • filling gaps in the data – for example, understanding the private market and unpaid carers
  • improving data quality by working with local authorities
  • working to resolve the imbalance of resources between health and social care; thinking about how statistical resources can be shared

The Adult Social Care Team in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are working to help resolve these issues.

Working across the UK

Interactive tool

We have created an interactive online landscape tool which brings together official statistics on adult social care across the four nations. The publications and datasets are all in one place that is easy to access. This helps us to improve accessibility to data.

The tool is updated monthly and includes filters to help users search for specific releases. For example, users can search by theme, organisation, or type of release.

Four Nations matrix

We have also produced a Four Nations matrix. The matrix shows how complex it can be to compare statistics across the four nations. It contains key figures, collection information, characteristics of data, and links to relevant publications across a range of topics. These topics include:

  • the number of hours spent caring
  • carers’ assessment and support
  • the number of service users
  • workforce
  • quality indicators
  • coronavirus (COVID-19) – this includes information about mortality, vaccination, testing, personal protective equipment (PPE)

You can access the matrix on the landscape tool page.

Stakeholder engagement

The Four Nations matrix was created by working together with:

  • Welsh Government
  • Scottish Government
  • Department of Health, Northern Ireland
  • Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
  • NHS Digital (NHSD)

We regularly interact with stakeholders across the Four Nations to improve leadership and encourage working together.

We are also working with the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Team, to help make statistics more comparable, consistent, and coherent.

Filling evidence gaps

Response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

We continue to monitor care home resident deaths through our weekly datasets. We have published a series of articles that take a detailed look at deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector in England and Wales. We have also published a release looking at coronavirus and the social impacts of unpaid carers in Great Britain in April 2021. This release uses indicators from the ONS’s Opinion and Lifestyle Survey.

People that fund their own care

The Adult Social Care team have worked with the Care Quality Commission to publish estimates of the number of people who self-fund their care in England from 2019 to 2020. The new experimental method uses weighted data to produce the estimate.

We hope to continue to work with experts in this area to learn more about the self-funding population across the four nations. Find out more about our plans to understand the self-funding population on our blog.

Monitoring care sector activity

We have worked with the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales to compare our death registration data against their death notification data. We have worked together to produce a new annual publication based on this comparison. The publication is called “Deaths in the care sector, England and Wales.”

The Adult Social Care Team are working to badge this publication as an official National Statistic. The team are also working to produce a quality and methodology information (QMI) and quality assurance of administrative data (QAAD) for this publication.

We used 2011 census data to produce a new estimate of life expectancy in care homes in England and Wales. We will update these estimates once we have data from Census 2021.

Census 2021

We are planning to release a series of publications looking at estimates and characteristics of unpaid carers. The publications will use data from the Census 2021 collection in England and Wales. To find more information about future work on the upcoming Census 2021 outputs please visit the ONS website.

Find information about future publications on the ONS upcoming release calendar.

Contact us

For more information about the work we are doing on Adult Social Care or to provide feedback on our interactive tool or four nations matrix contact social.care@ons.gov.uk