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What we do

Robust workforce planning framework

Overview

The CfWI produces quality workforce intelligence that can support health and social care workforce planning.

We do this by following a robust workforce planning framework that we have developed for identifying potential future issues that need to be addressed by workforce planners. The approach allows them to assess the impact of workforce policy options, and make robust decisions that recognise the uncertainty of the future. A major feature of the approach is the high degree of stakeholder involvement, which is critical to arrive at a shared view of future challenges, and in making policy decisions.

Horizon scanning

Horizon scanning explores the potential challenges, opportunities and likely future developments that could influence workforce planning. Some of these influences may be viewed as predetermined, such as an ageing population, and some may be more uncertain, such as technology advances. Stakeholder interviews and desk-based research is used to explore ideas about the uncertain future.

Scenario generation

Scenarios are narrative stories about how the future might evolve, and are generated through facilitated workshops. Scenarios are essential for workforce planning since it is not possible to predict the long-term future accurately. A range of plausible futures can be generated and demand and supply projections made. Workforce plans can then be assessed against the scenarios for robustness. Following the scenario generation, the narrative stories need to be quantified. A Delphi process involving expert stakeholders is used to quantify key workforce variables.

Workforce modelling

The purpose of workforce modelling is to project demand and supply for a range of plausible futures, as described by the scenarios. Further modelling is then conducted to determine the robustness of policy options for achieving a sustainable balance of demand and supply. System dynamics modelling is used, since it is most appropriate to complex systems with feedback (as is the case with health and social care workforce) and can easily be extended or revised to address additional issues as they arise.

Policy analysis

The final stage focuses on analysing future uncertainties and the impact of policy options. By considering multiple future scenarios, different options can be tested to see which one is the most robust. There will be some which lead to favourable outcomes across all futures, and others where the outcome is less clear. In these situations the relative probability of scenarios may need to be assessed, and scans made for signals that might indicate a particular scenario unfolding.