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 volume of requests

It was noted that issues of time, staffing and volume of requests are all intertwined. Data providers face a balancing act between capacity (resource / staffing / available time) and demand (volume of requests). Currently many providers find their capacity does not meet demand, making providing data difficult to cope with.

(limited) Capacity can be broken down into:

  • limited staffing and staff time
  • not having admin support
  • only some staff having access and/or knowledge to input data

(high) Demand can be broken down into:

  • volume of requests
    • number of individual returns
    • length of returns
    • multiple agencies collecting similar / identical data
    • time taken to complete returns and pull together information (see also data input process / systems)
  • limited guidance (mainly see 'guidance / support with providing data' under Communication)
  • tight deadlines, often with little notice given

“Data and information required is overwhelming. All the reporting mechanisms and systems in place make it like a full time job”

Linking to volume of requests, workshop attendees mentioned the:

Need for rationalisation of returns

Suggestions from the workshop of opportunities for rationalisation are shown below.

Data not bringing value to data providers

Some data providers felt the data they provided didn’t bring them or their organisation any apparent benefits, but was purely for the benefit and use of the person or organisation requesting it.

Concerns about providing data that isn’t used

People commented that it felt a waste of time filling in data returns that weren’t looked at or used – data going into a ‘black hole’. Related to this, see 'Little or no feedback on why data is collected or how it is used' under Communication.

Suggested solutions to volume of requests 

Suggested solutions related to capacity

It was mentioned that data providers would like 'incentives for providing data'.

See also the suggested improvements section under data input process / systems.

Suggested solutions related to demand

Many solutions suggested at the workshop related to reducing the demand on data providers through data rationalisation:

  • reducing overlap and duplication between data returns  (see specific rationalisation suggestions below)
  • following consultation, stopping collecting data which are never used
  • reducing the frequency of data returns to only that which is needed (e.g. potentially stopping daily reporting)

“Only collect the data that is needed, and only as often as is necessary”

An alternative suggestion was that Turas could ask for more detailed context from care homes to prevent further questioning. This is a similar idea to working towards a single data return – it is better to complete one long return, than 10 short ones.

  • Give more notice and stop last minute requests

To help reduce the burden from unpredictable, sporadic returns with tight deadlines, more notice could be given to data providers, with agreed time frames.

“Be respectful of our time and give us adequate lead time”

  • Single, standardised data return

Longer term suggestions related to combining data collections into a single standard data return and potentially linking with hospital/GP data.  

Specific suggestions for rationalisation (e.g. combining datasets/reducing overlap)

Combining data collections with Source social care data & removing data from Source that is collected elsewhere:

  • Free Personal and Nursing Care / SG Quarterly Monitoring Return

Several suggestions related to combining PHS Source with the Scottish Government’s Quarterly Monitoring Return/ Free Personal and Nursing Care. Currently, submission timescales are slightly different but there is a large overlap in questions.

  • Scottish Care Home Census

Another suggestion was to stop the separate Scottish Care Home Census data collection, and instead extract this data from Source returns.

  • Financial data (LFR 03)

There is overlap of financial data between LFR 03 and PHS Source. Suggestions included excluding a financial data item from the Care Home section of the Source return or moving financial data collection from LFR to Source.

  • Care Inspectorate / Free Personal & Nursing Care / Delayed Discharge

Suggestion to combine regulatory and statutory indicators e.g. Source, Free Personal & Nursing Care, delayed discharges and those collected by Care Inspectorate.

Reporting the death of a resident

Currently this has to be reported multiple times to different organisations.

Suggestions for how it could be done

  • Start a working group to lead rationalisation work

“Have a working group to explore, lead and champion the rationalisation work”

Work would include both looking at what information is never used, and finding overlapping variables, and removing these from data collections.

  • Have a formal process for approving new collections

Ensure all new data asks are sense checked against existing data collections.  One suggestion was to start a data steering group to consider new data asks. This should include data providers. Another was that a politician or senior manager of a Scotland-wide governmental organisation should give justification for a request.

  • The eventual aim of all this work:

A total review of the data items requested (at variable level) – with full justification of why they are needed, how they are used and who by.


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

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