CfWI response to House of Commons Health Committee report

We are pleased that the report by the House of Commons Health Committee on Education, training and workforce planning welcomes the remit provided to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence and commends our ambition to tackle deficiencies in workforce data and establish a core national minimum data set.

Peter Sharp, Chief Executive, CfWI.

CfWI response

In addition to the collation and interpretation of data, the CfWI has agreed a programme of work for 2012/13 with the Department of Health. Our Business Plan 3 focuses on improving workforce planning across the system and takes account of the workforce changes resulting from demographics, advances in technology, service transformation, service redesign and the impact this will have on supply and demand. This will include further enhancements to our modelling approach, and understanding how policy changes and other drivers will impact on the workforce. In addition we do all our work with clear regard to the quality productivity challenge, and wherever possible include reference to cost of recommendations.

We are already working closely with emerging bodies that will play a key role in planning in the future, including Health Education England (HEE) and the employer-driven local education and training boards (LETBs) and hosted an event in February 2012 for representatives from these organisations to meet and discuss the future with the CfWI and the Department of Health.

At the point the committee was receiving evidence, the CfWI was already working on a far-reaching step change improvement programme which tackled issues relating to capacity and capability at the CfWI. The implementation of this plan was independently assessed by the Department of Health and signed off as completed in April 2012, at the end of a six-month programme. We have strengthened our team with the appointment of a new Director of Analytics (formerly chief economist in another government department) and appointed to several other key posts.

The committee is right to highlight the fact that the CfWI is ‘substantially dependent’ on data provided by employers. We would support contractual obligations on all providers of NHS-funded services to provide full, timely and accurate workforce data.

Our publication on the shape of the consultant workforce was purposely titled Starting the debate. We are extremely pleased that it has prompted just that, both within the committee and beyond. This report has been downloaded over 2,000 times since it was published on our website in February 2012 and was the subject of a Financial Times front-page lead story. It is vital that urgent debate takes place across the system to reach agreement on what the system should do next, including discussion on the interplay between the current trainee workforce and future service requirements.

The CfWI supports the view of the committee that the quality of healthcare and social care depends crucially on the professionalism of each member of the workforce and the way they work together.

Working to a strategy and a business plan agreed with the Department of Health, the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) is establishing itself as the national authority on workforce planning and development, providing advice and information to the NHS and social care sectors.

Our mission is to become the primary source of workforce intelligence for health and social care. We produce quality intelligence to inform better workforce planning, to improve people's lives.

Our CfWI Annual Review of work completed during 2011–12 is available for download.


Key facts – Areas of success include:

Publications – We have produced 280 publications since we opened in 2010 and 162 publications since April 2011. They are available in the publications section of the CfWI website and we have started to gather evidence of the impact of each publication (such as a change in behaviour or use of our material in workforce planning). Some of the publications have generated media interest and stimulated positive and important debate. Key publications include medical specialty summaries, a review of risks and opportunities for a wide range of professions, and a thought-provoking paper looking at the future consultant workforce.

Tools, templates, models and good practice – We have developed, published and evaluated a range of tools on workforce planning in health and social care such as the care pathway toolkit. For the first time this year, we have developed our tools to include models aimed at the social care workforce.

Horizon scanning – The Health Committee noted that our approach to this was well regarded. We have developed the CfWI approach to horizon scanning to the extent that it is now an integrated part of our work. We have built an online capability that will become publicly available later in 2012, with content added throughout 2012–13. The CfWI report Informing medical and dental student intakes is an example of a horizon scanning report.

Stakeholder engagement – We have established stronger relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, through our work with social care and all healthcare professionals as part of the workforce risks and opportunities and the shape of the medical workforce projects. We have developed networks of people interested in horizon scanning and future scenario generation. Also, we have engaged with workforce planners, education commissioners and key stakeholders across SHA clusters as part of our regional lead work.

CfWI events and workshops – Evaluation of our events shows that they have been consistently well received. These include our annual conference (92% of delegates rating the experience as good, very good or excellent) and a range of workshops on local education and training boards, horizon scanning, medical and dental scenario generation, social work modelling and implementation training.

Website – Website statistics indicate an increase of 26% in the number of unique users when comparing the second half of 2011 to the first half of the year. The number of downloads is also increasing, with a record number of 2724 downloads in February 2012 following the publication of our report encouraging debate on the shape of the consultant workforce.

Partnership working – We have worked collaboratively with a range of partners and suppliers to add value to all areas of work, including publications, events, models and tools. Without the keen participation of many organisations the progress made this year would not have been possible.

For further information: CfWI Head of Communications

mob 07841 254240