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We're involved in a range of projects around data in social care in Wales.

Learning more about the data workforce in local authority social services

We commissioned research to find out more about the people who work with data in local authority social services.

What we wanted to find out

We wanted to learn more about the people who work in data in social services in local authorities.

We wanted to know:

  • how people come to work in social care data roles
  • how they gain skills
  • what opportunities they have for continuing professional development and career progression
  • if it would be useful to have a professional development plan to help improve people’s skills.

What we did

At the start of 2022, we commissioned Social Finance, a non-profit consultancy company, to carry out research to find out more about the people who work in data in local authority social services.

The research brought together more than 80 people from local authorities, healthcare, higher education and government organisations across Wales. They got involved in workshops, interviews and a survey.

What the research told us

The research found evidence of a range of skills and abilities for using data effectively and that social services in Wales have lots of the same issues with data skills as other public sector organisations.

Most analysts told us they learned their skills ‘on the job’ because training opportunities for data analysts can be expensive.

We also found that data team managers don’t always know which courses they should send their staff on, and often, internal training courses only cover topics such as data governance.

The research also told us that the data analysts need technical data skills and a good knowledge of social care to be as successful as possible. It can be difficult to get this knowledge without lots of experience in the job.

What we’re doing as a result of the research

The report has recommendations that could support people working in data in social care.

The recommendations include:

  • introducing a series of small-scale projects, such as creating a training resource library
  • crowdsourcing job descriptions to see if this helps the workforce develop
  • bringing data analysts together in an online community
  • working with local authorities to develop their data journeys.

Get a copy the full report

First published: 27 September 2022
Last updated: 19 October 2022
Download this page as a PDF (26.7 KB)