Today, we have published the findings from our review of Adult Social Care statistics in England. Through this review we have identified a number of areas where improvements are required. While there is rightly a focus on delivery of social care, a scarcity of funding has led to under investment in data and analysis, making it harder for individuals and organisations to make informed decisions. I am writing to you as we feel the Office for National Statistics (ONS) can play an important role in addressing some of our concerns about the data available.
Data limitations need to be addressed if social care is going to evolve to support a changing society, meet the increasing demands expected over coming years and maximise outcomes. Through our review we looked at the existing official statistics on social care and identified important improvements needed in the following areas: leadership and collaboration; data gaps; and existing official statistics.
We welcome the commitments ONS has already made to support improvements in social care statistics, including plans for a portal to signpost users to existing social care statistics, which we hope will support better access for a range of potential and existing users of social care statistics. There is potential for the ONS to play an important leadership and coordination role on statistics in social care.
There is also potential for ONS to play a key role in cross government effort to address gaps in the existing data, for example to address gaps on information relating to delivery of social care outside statutory control and the experience of individuals who encounter social care.
Improved statistics are essential to support policy makers, and organisations delivering social care, and allow individuals to hold these organisations to account and make better informed decisions about issues which impact the lives of themselves and their families.
We will continue to work with a range of organisations to make the case for improvements to social care statistics and we hope to work with you as you develop your work on social care.
I am copying this letter to Ben Humberstone, Deputy Director Health Analysis and Life Events, ONS.
Deputy Director for Regulation