Theme 4: Using and managing data

About this theme

Use this guidance to understand the skills and training your organisation needs to use, share and manage data safely.

This video shows why developing these skills is so important for social care providers. 

1. Understand there are different types of data and know how data can be collected, kept up-to-date and shared using technology 

Data about someone you are supporting can be stored and shared digitally in different ways, for example, by inputting information into an app or sharing by text or email. Information relating to someone’s care may be classified as ‘personal data’, ‘special category data’ (which is more sensitive) or ‘confidential data’. There are different rules for handling these types of information.

Useful resources:

2. Understand my personal responsibilities for managing data, in line with legal requirements and my organisation’s policies, and know who I should speak to in my organisation if I have questions or concerns.  


Data protection law is set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The law states that everyone is responsible for protecting personal data and ensuring it is handled and used appropriately.

3. Understand that some information about people may be confidential and should only be accessed by those who need to see it.   


Confidential data means information that can identify someone, which they would expect to be kept private from those who do not need to see it (for example, information about a person’s health condition).

4. Understand that sharing relevant and necessary information (for example, if there are safeguarding concerns) can be as important as keeping information confidential.


Good information sharing is essential for providing safe and effective care. There are a range of guides to help you understand when, how and what information should be shared, and what should be kept confidential. If in doubt, speak to the responsible person in your organisation for data protection, your supervisor or manager.

5. Understand that people have a right to review and make choices about how their information is used, and know how to support them with this. 


Data protection law gives people certain rights, including the right to be informed about what data is held about them and the right to access their data. Supporting people to make choices about their personal data helps to promote their privacy, dignity and independence, and is important for providing quality care. 

6. Know how to record care information in an accurate, timely way using technology.


Good digital record keeping is important for providing quality, person-centred care. It helps to ensure people’s needs are met and that any risks are identified early. Digital records also ensure that people’s wishes and preferences are reflected in their care plans and help with continuity of care.

7. Understand that when finding and using information online, I should use reliable, trustworthy sources.


Not all information on the internet is accurate, up-to-date or trustworthy. In the first instance, search for information on trusted websites such as the CQC, Skills for Care, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Local Government Association, NHS.UK, GOV.UK  and similar. If in doubt, speak with your supervisor or manager.

Knowledge criteria Additional information Useful resources

8. Support and develop others to understand the importance of good data management. 

Supporting and upskilling others to understand the importance of and how to practice good data management is essential for running a quality social care service. There are a range of resources to help with developing staff skills.

9. Assure people who use my service that information about them is treated confidentially and in a way that complies with data protection legislation, and that staff respect their privacy. 


Learning from peers is one of the most common ways people develop their digital skills. You can support your colleagues by:

  • Promoting the use of technology to support quality care
  • Demonstrating how you personally use technology in a safe and effective way
  • Providing advice if you see common mistakes or unsafe practices
  • Keeping your own technical skills up-to-date

10. Understand how to choose the right technology for my service to support good data management.

Email is widely used for communicating and sharing information day-to-day. Because health and care information is sensitive, it is important it is protected and the email system used meets the secure email standard.

In addition to email, digital social care record (DSCR) systems allow information to be shared securely and in real-time with the right people across the health and social care sector. There are a range of resources to help care providers choose the right DSCR system for their service and funding is also available. 

11. Know how to analyse and present data about my service and use data to improve service quality.


There are many care technologies designed to specifically support the management of quality and governance within the social care sector. However, having the skills to analyse and present data about your service can also help with returning information to regulators or commissioners and with business audits. It can also help you to identify trends and support continuous improvement in your service, in line with the CQC’s key questions and quality statements.

Knowledge criteria Additional information Useful resources