At its simplest, workforce planning is about understanding the future strategic direction of the organisation and therefore the demand for different types of skills and seeking to match this with supply. Effective workforce planning is an important tool to help councils maximise their resources and build current and future capacity in a structured and planned way in order to meet outcomes.
Workforce planning has a significant role in delivering improved services including supporting councils and their partners in the transformational change required by public service reform, health and social care integration and the move to more locality and place-based interventions. It assists strategic resource planning by corporate management teams and helps them achieve strategic priorities such as efficiency gains and tackling equalities. It can help:
Crucially, to be fully effective, workforce planning needs to include longer term thinking about future corporate and service provision; councils and their partners need to put strategies in place to link service, financial and change management priorities alongside people plans.
Find out about the Improvement Service's services to support councils and CPPs with workforce planning, below.
At the beginning of the workforce planning process there is a clear role for senior managers to analyse the drivers for change impacting on future models of service delivery and the changing context in which that delivery will take place.
This ensures that any planning for the workforce, which is at least 60% of all revenue budget spend, is aligned to the strategic direction of the organisation or partnership and to achieving the overarching outcomes identified through service, organisational or partnership planning processes. It also ensures that any spend on development is directed to maximise impact on appropriately skilling the workforce to support sustainable change.
It is our experience that facilitation, utilising a variety of tools including PESTLE, force field analysis, scenario planning etc. can support senior management teams to work through a logical process and enable the alignment of resources to outcomes ensuring that risk is managed, transformation can take place and the workforce is fit for the future. As well as facilitating sessions with senior, service management and partnership teams we would seek to include and build local capacity to support this work so that the approach is sustainable.
A suite of tools, checklists and training materials are available free of charge to help support people to better understand the requirements for workforce planning and carry out workforce planning effectively in their council.
Contact Dot McLaughlin for more information.
Once the future direction of the organisation has been set and the workforce implications have been identified, the next step is to look at the current workforce in order to see how it compares with the workforce that is needed for the future.
To do this the council needs access to good workforce data. The data does not need to be overly complicated as even basic data on age profile, temporary and permanent numbers, full time and part time posts, turnover, gender breakdown etc. can be used to begin to carry out further analysis.
The data that is captured allows trends to be identified in terms of workforce movement and highlights themes that are in need of careful consideration (e.g. implications of an ageing workforce or the need to think about attracting younger people to the council) in order to develop organisational resilience to cope with future changes. The issue of current and future workforce skills needs to be considered and aligned to future strategic direction.
The Improvement Service will work with councils or partnerships to determine data needs and ensure that the capacity is built in-house to best make use of this data in the future. We can help with data analysis and are able to offer scrutiny on data reports by acting as an independent advisor, ensuring that the documents have been ‘sense-checked’ and are fit for purpose. Once the data has been analysed a gap analysis can be carried out which would help identify what approaches can be effectively deployed going forward.
There is an increasing awareness that cutting posts as a way of managing budget constraint is not a sustainable solution. In addition to cost considerations there is now a greater realisation that cutting good quality jobs may actually militate against meeting economic outcomes contained in SOAs and agreed by councils and their partners. The fact that public agencies are usually the biggest employers in any area and a critical employer in rural and remote areas, means that the council and other public service agencies are key players in creating sustainable economies and, we would argue, that the workforce needs to be considered in this more holistic and systemic way for the purposes of planning.
We have developed an approach which overlays workforce pay and other information against local SIMD data to provide a report which allows comparisons within and outwith the council boundaries, of the impact of the council as an employer on geographical areas of multiple inequality. We can offer an introductory session to help encourage discussion on key concerns and how existing data can and should be used alongside internal data produced to allow analysis of the workforce in this broader context.
Tel. 01506 283807