Social care at the CfWI

The Department of Health (DH) commissioned the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) to undertake a holistic review of the adult social care workforce in England.

This project was designed using the CfWI robust workforce planning framework, and aims to assess the future supply of, and demand for, the adult social care workforce in England over the next 15 years.

The focal question for the review was: ‘In 2030 what will be the shape, size and structure of the care and support workforce?’.

In October, 2015, the CfWI published Forecasting the adult social care workforce, which describes the current shape of the adult social care workforce and forecasts future requirements, based on predicted population growth.

Our report suggests:

  • Based on Office of National Statistics forecasts from 2012, the number of people aged 65 and older will increase by 36 per cent to 13.2 million people in 2030 compared with an overall 3 per cent rise in the 18 to 64 year-old population.
  • Analysis by the CfWI is forecasting that the adult social care workforce will need to grow from 1.2 million to almost 1.6 million (FTE) to meet a 33 per cent growth in adult social care demand by 2030. This is more than the 16 per cent total increase in the adult social care workforce forecast by 2030 that the CfWI is predicting will occur in the same period.
  • The research also suggests that people with learning difficulties are also living longer requiring social care services for longer for which the social care workforce will need to grow accordingly – demand is set to particularly increase for residential and nursing care.

An accompanying infographic has been produced to highlight the key findings from the report, as well as a technical report, which provides an overview of the data used in the model, as well as details of how the calculations were made.

Forecasting the adult social care workforce is an ongoing project in partnership with key stakeholders and a further report, which explores that potential impact of policies and possible future scenarios, is expected in early 2016.

Social Worker Supply and Demand Model

In 2011 the CfWI built a social worker supply and demand model in partnership with the then Social Work Reform Board, which has been used by a wide variety of stakeholders. Over 350 registrations, representing more than 100 local authorities, have been logged, with bespoke training and leadership support made available to those who use it.

The CfWI released a refreshed version of the model in August 2015. Built on a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet, the model uses data reported by councils with social services responsibility (CSSRs) in England and includes national and local data that can be used to generate current supply and demand information as well as a number of future scenarios. The Excel 2013 workbook is also compatible with Excel 2007 and 2010.

The updated model includes the following:

  • adult services staffing data gathered through the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care and published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre
  • children’s services staffing data collected by the Department for Education
  • age profiles of registered social workers from the Health and Care Professions Council
  • student enrollments and completion data from the Universities and Colleges Admission Service and the Higher Education Statistics Agency
  • historical student data from the archives of the General Social Care Council
  • adult services demand data from the Referrals, assessments and packages of care returns
  • children’s services data from the Children in need census.

Interested stakeholders can register for the tool at