Building personalised and outcomes-focused services and support for adult carers is not an easy task, and the local authority (LA) staff involved in the design, commissioning and management of services require robust and good quality information on who their carers are, and what they feel is or is not working well.

Understanding what matters most to carers is clearly a priority to LAs and 74 of the 100 staff who completed the earlier MAX online survey stated that their organisation conducted or commissioned local research to fulfil this purpose [see our first blog for further information].

While conducting local surveys and focus groups can provide rich insights into the views of the carers who use services and support are existing sources of useful information being overlooked?

The value of profiles

Profiles are summaries of the key characteristics of a particular person or group of people and are developed by organisations to ensure that the products or services they provide fulfil the needs and preferences of their target (profiled) audience.

Accurate profiles are an essential part of business – as, without them, organisations will fail – and can be more than just a marketing ploy to make people spend their money.

Profiles (in this instance, of adult carers) can also be used to answer questions of potential interest to LA decision-makers and also identify where more detailed profiles or analysis is required.

Profiles can therefore produce information that can guide the development and delivery of outcomes-focused services and support – and also the monitoring and evaluation of those services and support – and, by doing so, be of tremendous value to local authorities.

Building carers profiles using PSS SACE data

All of the data you need to build a carers profile is included in the PSS SACE and is summarised in the NHS Digital data return. Building a profile therefore involves simply reorganising and summarising the key features of your PSS SACE dataset into a more appropriate and meaningful format.

Some tips on how to do this are summarised in the box below and further guidance can be found in the PSS SACE exploratory data analysis guide.

Share your ideas and experiences!

We want the MAX toolkit to be useful and we rely on your feedback. So, if you have any questions that you would like to explore with your PSS SACE dataset and/or have any comments about the guides and tools included in the MAX toolkit, please let us know.

LA staff are also interested in learning about what other organisations are doing with their data. The MAX project team are therefore keen to collaborate with registered LA users to develop short case studies and worked examples of how they have used, or are using, the MAX toolkit. If you would like to find out more, please email us at

Disclaimer: The research on which this blog is based is commissioned and funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department