Transforming the adult social care workforce data set

We used user research and frequent release cycles to help Skills for Care transform how they collect workforce data.

The project

Skills for Care is a delivery partner for the Department of Health that collects data on the adult social care workforce from care home providers. This is used by the government to make important decisions about pay, training, qualifications and other work-related issues. The system they use for collecting and interpreting this data was missing some crucial features and Skills for Care needed our help to extend it.

Photo showing a social worker shaking hands with an enderly man on his doorstep
Photo showing a nurse speaking elderly patient smiling

Our approach

The Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set needed improving because new features were not being delivered, releases were not being deployed frequently enough and, when they were deployed, they often contained bugs.

Working with our partner Difrent, we began with a two week inception that identified the wants and needs of the client, pinpointing what had been built previously and why. This enabled us to build a roadmap for our team of engineers to work on and address the technical debt that had built up.

We went on to replace the monthly release cycles with multiple releases per sprint and ad hoc releases when required. We also ensured all code was free of bugs, by introducing a test suite coupled with strong cross-functional collaboration and communication at all points of the development cycle.

“Made Tech and Difrent helped to reinforce our Agile ways of working ensuring we keep user needs as our main driver. They have made huge improvements to our deployment processes and to the quality of code. It’s a major surprise if we find a bug these days”

Jackie Green

Jackie Green, ASC-WDS Supplier and Contract Manager, Skills for Care

The results

In just a few months, we helped to develop a strong roadmap controlled by a product owner that takes us into next year, while moving the service towards a GDS assessment. During our time working with Skills for Care, we have undertaken 45 user research sessions with 40 different users from care home providers. We have also released a range of new features covering training and qualifications, staff records, benchmarking and much more.

Skills for care laptop

“Reliable intelligence about the workforce, and workforce research based on quality data, are crucial to all those who need to understand and shape the provision of social care now and in the future.”

Skills for Care Workforce development strategy

The results

  • Weekly and ad hoc releases introduced
  • Technical debt addressed
  • Strong product roadmap established
  • 45 user research sessions completed
  • 40 care home participants engaged
  • Service moving towards GDS assessment

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