Reforms to social-care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the UK and internationally, place data at the heart of proposed innovations and solutions. The principles are not well established of what constitutes core, or minimum, data to support care home residents. Often, what is included, privileges data on resident health over day-to-day care priorities and quality of life. This Personal View argues for evidence-based principles to base the development of a UK minimum data set (MDS) for care homes. Co-produced work involving care home staff and older people working with stakeholders is required to define and agree the format, content, structure and operationalisation. Implementation decisions will determine the success of an MDS, impacting aspects including data quality, completeness, and useability. Care home staff who collect the data need to benefit from the MDS and see value in their contribution and residents must derive benefit from data collection and synthesis.