Case Studies

Discovery about improving workforce data sets for Skills for Care

We were asked by Skills for Care to run a Discovery for their National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC). 

The NMDS-SC is an online data collection tool updated by care providers in England. It is the leading source for adult social care workforce information and helps inform government policy to improve the sector.

It is a voluntary service and Skills for Care wanted to improve retention and user take-up. They wanted to understand the user need for the service and explore the potential for an improved more user friendly service.

As part of our research we immersed ourselves with social care providers to better understand how they collect, input and interrogate their workforce data. We identified user needs through interviews, workshops and usability testing as well as exploring potential improvements through co-design and concept prototyping.

User story 43: As an interrogator I can extract our workforce data from the NMDS-SC so that I can use it as evidence in our internal reporting and workforce planning

User story 69: As an inputter I can update multiple worker records in one go (eg recording a team training activity), so that I don’t have to update each worker record at a time

Most care organisations do not have a dedicated ‘NMDS-SC inputter’. So managers, HR administrators and even care staff tend to absorb the role as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. We delved into their ‘overcapacity’ with a series of workplace visits to identify the avoidable pain-points, friction and workflow disruptions that the service can cause.

We presented a detailed 100+ page report with recommendations on how to meet the service’s 80+ prioritised user needs. Skills for Care adopted our recommendations and a new version of the NMDS-SC has since met its GDS Alpha and Beta service assessment.

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