system wide planningAs I work around the country, I meet lots of STP leads and system executives that are struggling with developing a workforce strategy for their system. It seems that there are four common issues:

1. Lack of capacity
Many systems are only now getting an individual in to lead workforce improvement – and the job is huge. There are multiple ACOs (or similar) within STPs, multiple large NHS organisations, Local Authorities, GP practices, private sector and voluntary organisations – with thousands of staff across an area, but few (sometimes none) available to help with workforce planning and strategy.

Those systems that are addressing this are pooling staff from other organisations, securing funding from the STP to bring in help, and ensuring that there is clarity on all the work going on anyway across the system that can be “corralled” into a strategy.

We have been able to assist many areas with offering the additional capacity they need. In addition to this we are helping to build workforce planning capability in the system through our Action Learning approach. Find out more in our Engagement and Training section.

2. Working out how to do it
Where STPs do have leads; working out how to move from having nothing, to having a full workforce strategy that will address the pressing issues that the system faces, can be daunting.

Many systems are now developing their strategies, including Greater Manchester – we can share a structure that you can use, and link you to those that have managed to take this step already. Read more about Our Work in Greater Manchester here.

3. Lack of clear redesign plans
The redesign challenge facing STPs is immense, and each are at different places on the journey. Systems can make workforce planning a part of redesign (the best way), or can create workforce plans in response to redesign plans. Quite often we are seeing workforce issues driving redesign work – but without a clear plan for full redesign.

It’s tough to do workforce planning in the absence of redesign – if you face this problem then you’ll need to get the system aligned on getting it sorted, or you’ll face constant delays and rework in undertaking strategic workforce planning.

4. Issues with information governance
With all the organisations involved, and with redesign efforts not often at the stage where clear information governance is in place, expect delays while the system sorts out the protocols for sharing data for the workforce redesign efforts.

We use the Information Sharing Gateway system to help systems do this – although it still takes a LOT of time….
Be assured that lots of areas are working through this – so let us know what issues you face and we’ll point you in the direction of people that can help.


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