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Clinical psychology services workforce database


The Clinical Psychology Services (CPS) Workforce Database is a national web-based database that captures data on all staff delivering clinical care in Psychology services in NHSScotland. The database was released in 2006 and allows users to update records stored in the database in real-time.

A range of demographic, registration, occupation and absence information for staff are entered and updated in the database by lead clinicians or administrative staff. A database extract is taken by NES approximately 14 days after each census date. 

What data are published

Aggregated staff in post and absence data extracted from the database are released as part of the Psychology Services Workforce in NHSScotland publication for four quarterly census dates: 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. Prior to extraction, NES work closely with clinicians and administrative staff to ensure a high level of accuracy.

A range of demographic, occupation and absence data are collected for staff which are used to produce the following key information in the publication:

  • Number of staff in post by age band, gender, NHS Board, professional group, agenda for change band or medical grade, contract type and term, area of work and target age.
  • Number of staff by ethnicity and declared disability status.
  • Number of joiners, leavers and turnover rate for each financial year by NHS Board and professional group. 
  • Whole time equivalent staff per 100,000 population by NHS Board and professional group.
  • Percentage of the workforce who are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or long term sickness absence. 

The Glossary provides definitions.

Data are available annually at September census from 2006 to 2010, and quarterly from March 2011.


The database holds data on staff who are employed in a clinical role in the psychology workforce:

  • 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

To be included in the data extract for the publication a person must be in an active post and not working on a Bank contract type. More specifically, the following conditions are met:

  • Start date is less than or equal to the census date
  • End date is greater than or equal to the census date or it is NULL
  • Appointment type is Clinical Psychology Services
  • Conditioned hours are greater than 0
  • Contract type is Permanent Job Share, Permanent, Permanent Secondment, Fixed Term, Fixed Term Job Share, Fixed Term/Temporary, Fixed Term Secondment.

Further information

A key measure in the publication is the number of Psychology Service workforce per 100,000 people by NHS Board. The workforce data are derived from the database, and population data are sourced from the National Records of Scotland population estimates which are updated annually.

Quality assurance and limitations

Quality assurance

A number of steps are in place to ensure that these data are reported accurately.

  1. The CPS database is a dynamic operational system in which the data can change over time due to their live status and potential additional updates made by the service. Accuracy of coding is crucial to the quality and credibility of the data. The responsibility for data accuracy lies with the service providing the data. However, NES seeks to minimise data inaccuracies by maintaining lists of data providers and regularly supplying them with instructions on how to access the system and maintain the data held.

  2. NES ensure that data providers are aware of when the extract will be taken from the CPS database.

  3. Prior to the data being extracted from the CPS database for publication, NES provides an extract to each data provider to confirm these data are accurate and up-to-date. NES work with these providers to ensure any data are updated ahead of the extract date. 

  4. Once these data have been extracted, NES carry out a second phase of quality assurance. This involves: (i) checking for any errors, or missing values, in the data, and (ii) comparing figures with previous years. When required, NES clarify any large changes in data with data providers.

  5. These data are then processed and reporting software, PowerBI and Excel tables, are then updated so as to include the new data. The outputs are then checked to ensure the values are shown accurately and any additional data intelligence is noted.

  6. These data are part of the two-week early release quality assurance process where the outputs are made available to NHS Boards to confirm accuracy. Communication with NHS Boards over this period allows us to confirm or update any of these data ahead of release to the public.

The above quality assurance processes result in accurate information being released as part of the Psychology Services Workforce in NHSScotland publication. Therefore it is unlikely that any significant issues with the data quality would arise after publication. 


As the database are manually updated by Boards, the data may not be updated before the date of the final extract due to job transfers, unavailability of data from sub teams, staff sickness etc. The data providers are aware of this, and make their updates as close as possible to the data extract dates. Any large data quality concerns are noted.

This system allows NES to report the number of staff employed in Clinical Psychology Services. This is likely different from the number of staff working at any given time (for example due to rostering or absences).

Only long term sickness data (sickness absence of more than 3 months) are available. Short term sickness absence cannot be reported.