Research and development activities strengthen the thinking, modelling and overall methodology that we use in the CfWI’s projects. Some projects, for example rapid workforce reviews, may use only parts of the framework, typically quantification, modelling and policy analysis. Others will use the whole framework to generate a range of challenging scenarios for stress testing prospective policy interventions.
These activities can be split into two broad workstreams:
Learning and sharing best practice
This addresses improving CfWI approaches to workforce modelling and analysis by learning from best practices in other organisations. This includes organisations outside of health and social care, both nationally and internationally. It involves developing research networks, and attending and presenting papers at relevant conferences in the UK and overseas.
Knowledge on the CfWI’s methodical practices are shared via the CfWI technical paper series and published on the CfWI website. The technical papers focus on a variety of areas of workforce planning, and are used to share new approaches that we have developed. This may include papers commissioned from external organisations and experts on topics of particular interest.
Improving the CfWI Robust Workforce Planning Framework
The CfWI framework is made up of four stages: horizon scanning, scenario generation, workforce modelling and policy analysis. R&D is critical – as it not only acts to improve the robustness and quality of each stage of the framework – but also strengthens and highlights the linkages between the framework’s stages.
The framework is composed of the following stages:
- Horizon scanning: Horizon scanning explores the potential challenges, opportunities and likely future developments that could influence workforce planning. We have identified 11 themes that influence the unfolding future: the economy; environment; population; society, culture and behaviour; health and wellbeing; politics and legislation; research and technology; employment and labour market; health and care employment and working; health and care service delivery; and health and care training and education.
- Scenario generation: Scenario thinking focuses on how the future might evolve. Scenarios are essential for workforce planning as it is not possible to predict the long-term future accurately. Scenarios are particularly useful since 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. A unique feature of the framework is the use of the SHeffield ELicitation Framework (SHELF) to quantify key workforce variables, including uncertainty. Experts make quantitative judgments and share the reasoning behind them over several rounds to decrease uncertainty and refine the values.
- 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.
- Policy analysis: Workforce intelligence focuses on analysing future uncertainties and the impact of policy options, and presenting the findings. By considering multiple future scenarios, different options can be tested to see which one is the most robust. There will be some options that lead to favourable outcomes across all futures and others where the outcome is less clear. We have worked with the Department of Health on considering further enhancements to the CfWI Robust Workforce Planning (RWP) Framework for future use.
For more information on the CfWI robust workforce planning framework, please refer to the technical paper series: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/our-work/research-development/cfwi-technical-paper-series.