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Social care professionals and researchers might be interested in the new and freely available Catalogue of Social Care Data (CASCID), which is a comprehensive catalogue of social care data in the UK with 2,233 metrics from 33 UK-based data sources.

It provides data on people who have social care needs; use social care services or services that are linked to social care needs; live in a social care setting; receive unpaid care from a family member, friend, or neighbour; provide unpaid care to a family member, friend, or neighbour; and/or work as a paid staff member in the social care sector.

CASCID, which has received funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR), was developed by researchers in the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It was developed due to increasing demands for evidence from social care research to inform discussions and decisions.

The resource brings together variables or measures from existing national and local surveys relevant to social care research.

It provides a gateway to detailed information on social care data with a complex search-filter system, allowing researchers to discover if social care data relevant to any topic of interest are available in any of the data sources included in CASCID.

By doing so, CASCID encourages greater use of available data (especially large, national, representative, and cohort data sets) by social care researchers and others, thereby improving research quantity, quality, efficiency, and impact. It will also improve understanding of how core concepts are measured and how well those measures work in different contexts.

Dr Derek King, one of the researchers leading CASCID’s development, said: “Gathering information on surveys containing social care data within CASCID will make it easier for researchers and others from social care and other sectors to identify and use existing data. It will vastly expand who can use social care data in the UK and encourage collaborative cross-specialism research.”

CASCID offers opportunities to identify gaps in data, compare across different datasets, and harmonise questions and data collection methods. It will further allow researchers and funding bodies to identify research gaps that were not easily identifiable previously, increase the possible uses of existing social care data, and promote the development of better social care data.

Professor Martin Knapp, Director of NIHR SSCR, commented: “Due to the fragmented nature of the social care sector, this catalogue offers real opportunities for enhancing the breadth and depth of UK social care research through a comprehensive directory of the many existing national and other surveys collecting relevant data. This new collection of information will also help charities, people who draw on social care support and policy makers to use social care data with ease.”

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