The data from the adult social care (ASCS) and carers’ survey (PSS SACE) can be used to inform local performance improvements (e.g. via outcomes-based commissioning), but our earlier activities and consultations with LA staff found that most organisations were primarily using the data for performance monitoring (e.g. benchmarking) [see our earlier blog for further details].

Translating survey data into meaningful management information

Follow-up interviews and case studies of LAs who are using survey data locally have shown us that focused analysis is a key strategy and can help produce analysis findings that can guide local decision-making and performance improvements. For example, by

  • establishing the possible causes of reported outcomes (e.g. why some services users feel unsafe);
  • highlighting local variations in unmet need and practice (e.g. identifying groups who may require additional or different kinds of support); and
  • pinpointing where existing processes need to be changed and/or new services commissioned to improve reported outcomes (e.g. change to safeguarding processes, additional services in rural areas).

Despite the potential local value of focused analysis, however, many LAs appeared to limit their analysis to ‘descriptives’ (i.e. frequencies or percentages of individual response options) and direct comparisons of ASCOF scores.

So, how can the MAX toolkit help?

We hope that the analysis and interpretation element of the MAX toolkit will serve as a good starting point for focused forms of analysis.

To help overcome resource issues, for example, the analysis tools included in the MAX toolkit are based on Excel and are accompanied by step-by-step instructions and pre-recorded training presentations. These show analysts how to conduct a range of statistical tests (e.g. chi-square, t-tests, analysis of variance) and will hopefully negate the need for further training or specialist software.

Similarly, the provision of additional analysis guidance through further blogs and survey-specific guides (to be developed during the next project) will also help analysts to identify which variables to explore to fulfil the information needs of their organisation. These guides will first focus on showing analysts how they can use the quality of life (QOL) tools in the MAX toolkit to calculate estimates of service impact. Such measures are, of course, of great interest to LA decision-makers and may help to encourage some to engage more with you and the survey process.

Why not take a look at the analysis and interpretation element of the MAX toolkit and see how our tools may be able to help you?

Accessing the MAX toolkit

The MAX toolkit is free to use. Please email the MAX project team to find out more or to register.

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.