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Why use the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS)?

Outstanding Society member Kath Howitt, Learning and Development Manager at Horizon Healthcare Homes Ltd, tells us why they use ASC-WDS.

When I first joined Horizon Healthcare Homes three years ago, our administrator was already in the process of setting up our ASC-WDS account (then known as the NMDS). I’ll admit that I really didn’t relish the thought of it being passed over to me to manage, particularly as the initial set up seemed to be quite time intensive even for us as a relatively small company (at the time we had seven services and about 150 staff). Three years later however – and despite significant growth within our workforce – my initial fears have been replaced by more informed views based on experience.

There is no getting away from the fact that the set up in the first instance does take some time and I don’t think it would be fair to suggest otherwise; although there is a bulk upload function where you can export CSVs which is relatively straight forward to use. Once the data is in however, it then becomes a matter of maintenance. I made the decision to schedule time into my diary to make quarterly updates which is very manageable. It generally takes me the best part of a day each quarter to do this as the system is very straight forward to navigate around.

One of the biggest selling points for myself (and I’m sure other users of the ASC-WDS) is that as a user you gain access to the Workforce Development Fund (WDF). This is a great opportunity to recoup some of the costs associated with training delivery and since using it we have drawn down several thousand pounds from the fund which has been a huge benefit to us.

The ASC-WDS also provides a place to record staff training and compliance which is great for anyone who doesn’t have their own internal system for this already. For those such as ourselves that do, the CSVs can be used to easily transfer the data across which stops the duplication of the information being an additional pressure on our time. Another benefit is being able to benchmark against the rest of the sector and see what our figures look like in comparison to providers within our local authority. It’s a tough time for us all right now but having sight of how we compare is important in helping shape services at a more local level.

As the ASC-WDS is the leading source of intelligence for the sector in relation to the workforce and provides the relevant information to the decision makers across the country, anyone using the system is playing a valuable part in building a picture of what’s going on and where support is needed. After the pressures placed on the sector during the last couple of years particularly, I personally feel that the ASC-WDS is more important than ever. I would genuinely recommend that all providers use it, if for no other reason than for the local and the national benefits that it brings. The system is not only free but is safe and secure – there are no GDPR breaches as there is a legitimate reason for collecting and storing this data. It’s also fair to say that the more providers who use this, the more accurate the data will be. I honestly believe therefore that it is in everyone’s interests to do so.

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