Open Up Guide for Care Sector

A step-by-step on how to develop care policies through open data

Open Data Charter
6 min readJan 22, 2024


Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash


In a context where the care sector is being debated, data plays a central role in providing the evidence on which public decisions are built. These data not only act as inputs capable of identifying areas requiring priority attention, but also enable the efficient allocation of resources and the implementation of specific strategies to alleviate the burden of care. From the geographical distribution of services to the identification of particularly vulnerable demographic groups, data is the driver that transforms decision-making into a strategic and informed process.

To help implement these type of policies the Open Data Charter, with the support of IDRC and GIZ and the collaboration of Codeando Mexico and Cívica Digital, developed the Open Up Guide for Care Sector, a practical tool for decision-makers with more than 35 key datasets to measure supply and demand for care at the local level. With this tool, the aim is to contribute to the global discussion on comprehensive care systems from a data use and publication perspective.

Open Up Guide for Care Sector

We would like to introduce a new tool: the Open Up Guide for Care Sector. It is meant to provide decision-makers with the possibility of shaping policies, programmes and quantifying the population in care needs in a single platform and in a holistic manner. The government that implements it will be able to visualise the existing supply and demand for care in a territory and propose a transformation of the policies it offers with a cross-cutting dimension of health services, education, social programmes and infrastructure in a locality.

The Guide includes a list of 35 datasets with information corresponding to the population that needs to receive care (elderly people, people with disabilities, children and adolescents), including the population’s number, location, family composition, information on income, among others, and data on the available care services (public, private and community). This is, firstly, the context indicators, which quantify and describe in a socio-demographic way the people who require or will require care, as well as the type of care demanded. Secondly, indicators of the care demand that include population needs according to age and geographic range and the relationships and types of care already in place (formal and informal). Finally, through data on the supply of care, it explores the existing services in the city, their capacities and the type of care they provide.

Each indicator has metadata indicating the name of the indicator, its conceptual definition and the possible values that the indicator can take when implemented.

For more information, you can find the complete list of indicators in the following link and their implementation in Mexico City (here) and Buenos Aires City (here).

5 key areas for the use of data in care policy.

The collection of this data is essential to obtain a clear and comprehensive picture of the specific needs and challenges in the care field, highlighting the importance of addressing the issue from a gender perspective. Through the collection of gender-disaggregated data, it is possible to identify precisely how care tasks fall disproportionately on women and how these responsibilities affect their participation in work and other aspects of life. Detailed, gender-disaggregated information not only allows existing inequalities to be addressed, but also guides policy design. Below are five key areas where this guide can be used inaction:

1. Public policy planning.

Geo-referenced data allows mapping of population distribution and existing care infrastructures. By overlaying these maps with demographic data, such as age and family composition, areas with higher population concentrations requiring specific care services can be identified. In addition, collecting data on the existing care burden in different areas can reveal specific imbalances and needs. Variables such as the number of informal caregivers, the availability of formal care services and the prevalence of health conditions requiring special attention can be examined.

2. Targeting public policy according to the needs of different age groups.

Disaggregating demographic data by age, gender, ethnic or other relevant groups may reveal specific patterns of care needs. For example, areas with an ageing population may require long-term care services, while areas with a high proportion of young families may need child care services.

3. Providing access to health services.

Analysing data on access to health services, especially those related to preventive and routine care, can help identify geographic areas that lack necessary resources. This is crucial to ensure equitable and adequate coverage of care services.

4. Crisis and natural disaster assessment and prevention.

During crisis or natural disaster situations, data can be used to identify affected areas and assess immediate care needs. Early data collection and analysis in these situations can be critical to an efficient and effective response.

The combination of these approaches allows policy makers to identify specific areas that require special attention in terms of care, facilitating the accurate allocation of resources and the implementation of appropriate policies to address the particular needs of those communities.

5. Impact assessment of care policies

Data plays a key role in evaluating the impact of public care policies by providing an objective and quantifiable measure of the outcomes achieved. It allows policy makers to systematically analyse how interventions affect the community, identify areas of success and those that need to be adjusted. The data also offer the opportunity to measure key indicators, such as improved access to care services, reduced disparities and impact on citizens’ quality of life. This evidence-based evaluation not only validates the effectiveness of implemented policies, but also provides valuable information for ongoing adjustments and ensures that future decisions are informed by concrete results and aimed at improving the quality and equity of care services.

Our vision

Our vision for the future is that whoever implements this Guide will incorporate a comprehensive vision of the role of care in the design of public programmes, that the annual budgets allocated to health, education and public spaces will incorporate the care dimension into their design, and that the different elements that make up the care economy will begin to be identified in the economic measurements of cities, provinces and countries.

The way in which this project seeks to achieve this is by guiding decision-makers in the collection of data that can be used to measure the care economy. The guide focuses on open data, so that the exercise can be shared publicly and collaboratively with all sectors that are part of the care diamond (Razabi, 2007).

If you are interested in implementing the Open Up Guide for Care Sector, you can send us an email at

For more information about the Open Data Charter work on gender equality agenda:

Our series of Open up Guides are practical tools intended to help governments and organisations share information on specific thematic areas for targeted use, helping to incorporate open data as a central element in achieving better solutions to the most pressing policy challenges of our time. The guides are built to support strategic policy action, outlining the path from information publication to impact. They identify key datasets, common standards that facilitate interoperability, and practices that a growing network of government innovators can implement. The guides are peer-reviewed and developed through collaborative mechanisms involving thematic experts, data producers and data users. They are based on best practices that are adapted to different needs and capacities depending on the context in which they are implemented to ensure replicability. Learn more about our different tools:



Open Data Charter

Collaborating with governments and organisations to open up data for pay parity, climate action and combatting corruption.