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Data Sources

Psychology workforce data reported by NES are sourced from several systems. They cover a range of information on the staff employed by NHSScotland, vacancies and staff in training.

Staff in Post:

The data are extracted from the Clinical Psychology Services (CPS) Workforce Database, which is a web-based Oracle database that captures data on all staff delivering clinical care in Psychology services in NHSScotland. The source data are collected and verified by Psychology lead clinicians, and the NES Data Group work closely with these clinicians to ensure a high level of accuracy. Workforce information is shown as at the current census date and is available annually at September census dates from 2006. Quarterly information is available from March 2011 onwards.

Staff employed in the following professional groups are included in the database:

  • All Applied Psychologists:
    • Clinical Psychologists
    • Counselling Psychologists
    • Health Psychologists
    • Forensic Psychologists
    • Neuropsychologists
  • Other Clinical Staff
    • MSc PTC Graduate (Until 30 September 2017)
    • MSc CYP Graduate (Until 30 September 2017)
    • CAAP (From 31 December 2017)
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
    • Other Therapist
    • Counsellor
    • Psychology Assistant
    • Other

Sickness Absence Data

This information is extracted from the CPS Workforce Database.

Population Estimates

These are updated annually using information provided by National Records of Scotland (NRS).


Vacancy data are collected quarterly directly from NHSScotland Psychology clinicians. The NES Data Group works closely with these clinicians for quality assurance of the data. Data are collected on posts that are advertised as at the census date and posts that are approved for recruitment but not yet advertised.

Staff in training

Trainee data are sourced from NES Turas. Information is obtained on past and present trainees on the following courses within NHSScotland:

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Universities of Glasgow or Edinburgh
  • MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care
  • MSc Applied Psychology for Children and Young People
  • Child and Adolescent Psychodynamic Psychotherapists
  • Stage 2 Health Psychology

Trainee retention

Psychology graduates employed in NHSScotland are extracted from the Scottish Workforce Information Standard System (SWISS) and checked against the data from NES Turas. 

Data Quality

The CPS Database is updated directly by staff employed in NHSScotland Psychology Services.  It is a dynamic operational system in which the data can change over time due to their live status and potential additional updates made by NHS Boards.

Workforce information may change slightly over time when NHS Boards make updates to databases to resolve issues that have been identified. Changes will not be made to previously published data, as part of the regular publication process, where there is little impact on the figures at a national level.

It is recognised that the published information does not always reflect the data used at board and regional level when planning and presenting the workforce. Accuracy of coding is crucial to the quality and credibility of the data and NES seeks to minimise such data inaccuracies. However, responsibility for data accuracy lies with the NHS Boards providing the data.

The NES Data Group continue to work with stakeholders on a number of data quality improvement projects and the published information will change over time to reflect these changes. 

Voluntary Application of the Code of Practice

Since the publication of workforce statistics on 3 December 2019, NES has been named in legislation as a producer of official statistics. For the December 2019 publication NES voluntarily applied the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Statistics and worked to ensure full continuity in producing the NHS Workforce statistics according to the three pillars of the code of practice.


Having confidence in the people and organisations that produce statistics and data.

NES has a strong background in producing workforce statistics and has recently expanded its team of analysts. Several members of the new NES data team have previously worked either in the ISD Workforce Intelligence team or in other ISD teams responsible for producing National Statistics. They have brought knowledge and experience of the data and a firm grasp of the requirements for producing Official and National Statistics. The Head of Profession for Statistics for NHS NSS, NHS24 and the Scottish Ambulance Service is now also Head of Profession for NES.


Using data and methods that produce assured statistics.

Throughout the transition period, NES has maintained contact with key NSS and ISD colleagues involved in workforce intelligence and workforce information systems. NES analysts received support and training from the NSS ISD Statistical Governance team, including shadowing colleagues in the ISD Workforce Intelligence team, in order to:

  • Study and discuss the standard operating procedures for each aspect of data processing and analysis
  • Understand and apply the quality assurance processes to the input and output data
  • Become familiar with data systems and the data processing codebase

NES has used the same data sources used by ISD for publishing workforce statistics prior to the transfer of responsibilities. The ISD Standard Operating processes have also been adhered to, and the existing codebase and processing tools have been used and only modified to improve performance or to implement ongoing, operational improvements.


Producing statistics that support society’s need for information

NES has produced all the quarterly statistics updates expected by stakeholders and in the established reporting formats. NES has begun to work with various stakeholders and project groups who would previously have been supported by ISD. This will ensure NES remains informed about stakeholder interests and priorities and can be responsive to changes and new requirements, as well as leading innovation and improvement in close consultation with current and potential users.