Care Home Data Review: workshop summary

Summary of the issues raised and solutions suggested at the Care Home Data Review workshop held on 14 March 2023.

Issues relating to lack of standardisation

Non-standardised and/or ambiguous definitions and terminology

Data definitions are often unclear or ambiguous, so can be interpreted in different ways, often with localised interpretations.

Definitions for the same concept are also often subtly different between organisations. This contributes to the number of overlapping data collections (increasing provider burden) and makes it difficult for data users to find clear, unique answers to questions.

Overlapping data collections and duplication – need for a Core Minimum Dataset (CMDS)

Sometimes the same data is available in more than one place. This has led to a cluttered and confused data landscape, which many people don’t understand, and also increases provider burden. Many comments from the workshop mentioned the advantages of a core minimum dataset (CMDS), both from provider and user viewpoints.

“No one joining the dots between different collections”

Non-standardised systems

Mainly covered under data input process / systems.

People commented on the number of different systems in place, made worse by the fact they 'don't speak to each other'.

Local systems and collections overlapping with national ones

Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) and Local Authorities (LAs) often send their own requests to care homes, in addition to the national returns they have to fill in. An example was given of an HSCP which brought in an online form for reporting incidents. Care homes in this HSCP now need to complete this local return as well as the national Care Inspectorate return for incidents.

Uneven timescales

Different returns covering the same/similar time periods do not always have the same submission dates (or exactly same time range).

Datasets not aligned with national indicators

It was noted that the data being collected can be inconsistent with existing indicators for measuring performance.

Suggested solutions to lack of standardisation

“The data strategy for health and social care and the development of the shared health and care record should introduce common data standards for across the sector”

“We need to make sure that the information standards that are developed work for the care home sector”

Standardised definitions

Agree clear, consistent definitions between organisations, particularly before starting any new collections or changing existing collections.

Other suggestions relating to standardisation

  • have a review of data collection timetables across returns. “Align reporting timescales for returns covering same reporting periods”
  • “align datasets with ministerial steering group indicators and develop minimum IJB dataset”
  • “use APIs/data interoperability to link TURAS and Social Care Systems and NHS apps”
  • standardise collection processes and methods


If you have any questions about the contents of this document, please contact the Care Home Data Review team at

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