The final stage of our methodology is the most challenging part of the robust workforce planning framework. It is when we undertake policy analysis to illustrate which policies may work best across a range of challenging futures, outlined in the scenarios. To do this, we identify possible policies (including, but not limited to, adjustments to training intakes) and assess their relative performance against different scenarios. The findings are then presented to decision-makers. A policy that works well against a wide range of scenarios would be considered robust.
Policy analysis helps decision-makers better understand the likely effect of changes in working patterns, skill mix and workforce configuration against different scenarios. They can see how options like a change in retirement age or changes to lengths of training programmes might affect workforce demand and supply.
Effective policy analysis ensures:
- prospective policies can be tested against a wide range of challenging but plausible future scenarios
- the most effective policy tools can be identified
- signs of the emergence of challenging future scenarios can be monitored and acted upon if required
- stakeholders can feel greater confidence in the solutions they select to meet their challenges.
Decisions are not always clear-cut and data and model limitations mean the outputs will always have a degree of uncertainty.
At the CfWI, we understand how policy analysis has been conducted across other disciplines as well as the NHS and workforce planning. You can find out more about our work on long-term policy analysis in a literature review we published in August 2014, . The paper considers long-term policy analysis in the specific NHS workforce planning context in England.