Welcome to the Recipe!

Follow the Stages of the Recipe Process Map: click on a Stage, download your Ingredients (documents and resources) and follow the Method (actions with assigned roles) to complete that Stage.  Need to know what you should be doing right now or which Stages are relevant to your role?  Filter the Recipe to quickly access the support you need.  Click on The Recipe to get started now.


Find out more about the different Roles involved in workforce planning, join in the Discussion where you can share best practice with colleagues and request further support, download Cookbooks – packs of resources – to suit your particular needs, and create your own Cookbook as you browse the site.  Check out the Links and Resources page for interesting articles, reports and documents relating to workforce planning – including Case Studies and examples of best practice – and see our Events page for upcoming meetings, events and support sessions.


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What's Cooking

Current planning stages

Below you can see the active Stages of the process map.  These are the Stages where work is currently being completed as part of a Trust's annual workforce planning cycle.

See recipe overview page

Agree Internal Process

  • Identify key stakeholders to be involved in agreeing the internal process. These may include: 

    • HR
    • Finance
    • Service Leads
    • Business Planning Leads
    • Activity Leads
    • Workforce Planners
    • Workforce Analysts
  • Map out a robust internal workforce planning process with clear timescales and identified roles and responsibilities.
  • Communicate the internal process document to relevant stakeholders to seek agreement on what is expected at each point of the year and the deadlines stakeholders are required to work to.
  • Book any meetings specified in the internal process document as early as possible to secure availability of the required attendees. (e.g. confirm and challenge meetings, executive sign off meeting).

Agree Corporate Strategy and Commissioning Intentions

  • Executive Team to agree Corporate Strategy and produce a written Corporate Strategy document, ensuring this reflects system priorities.

  • Review the Corporate Strategy document and articulate implications for workforce planning.
  • Communicate commissioning intentions to the Trust.
  • Review the commissioning intentions and articulate implications for workforce planning.

Scenario Modelling

  • Select an approach or approaches to generate scenarios.

  • Gather intelligence to inform scenario modelling e.g. retirement data, projected changes to activity levels, changes to service models.

  • Generate scenarios, input data and run scenario model.

  • Consult Service Leads to assess impact of scenario modelling and determine most likely outcome(s).

  • Once most likely scenario(s) has been developed, consult with Finance Lead regarding financial impact.

  • Incorporate scenario modelling into the forecast workforce demand in the service workforce plan.

Demand and Supply

  • Compare workforce demand, informed by scenario modelling, with current workforce.

  • Identify any gaps between current supply and demand.

  • Assess impact of any workforce transformation or system workforce plans on supply and demand at Trust level.

  • Establish how gaps will be addressed e.g. are you able to recruit additional workforce? Are you able to reduce the workforce? Could any new roles or new ways of working be implemented?

  • Where possible, incorporate proposed changes in the service workforce plan.

  • Where identified gaps remain, ensure these are documented in the risk log and action plan.

  • Share identified supply and demand issues with system workforce planners where appropriate.

Risks, Action Plan and Review

  • Identify and record risks and issues. Create an action plan to mitigate against these.

  • Create a project plan to ensure that the workforce plan is kept on track and key responsibilities are identified.

  • Monitor and review the risk register, action plan and project plan throughout the process.

Sustainability and Transformation Plan Return

  • Communicate requirements for workforce information to Trusts.

  • Complete Trust element of the workforce section of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan return.

  • Collate workforce section of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan return.

  • Submit Sustainability and Transformation Plan return to NHSE.

System Priorities

  • Identify STP priorities, informed by guidance from NHSE.

  • Establish what system workforce planning activity is required against the priority areas and appoint Workstream Leads to take this work forward. This may be LWAB or STP driven.

  • Assess Corporate Strategy to ensure this aligns with system priorities.


  • Identify all of the health and care organisations which feed into the pathway you are workforce planning for, and the named individuals you will need to engage with.

  • Use the stakeholder mapping tool to analyse your stakeholders, identifying who has the greatest influence and interest. You can then prioritise your stakeholders to ensure each receives the appropriate level of engagement.

  • Create a communication and engagement plan detailing how each stakeholder will be communicated with throughout the project. Be clear with your stakeholders what you expect their responsibilities to be, if any, in developing and implementing the system workforce plan.

Define the System

  • Book a meeting or workshop to complete the following actions with your key stakeholders.

  • Define the purpose of the system in a high level Mission Statement.

  • Identify the key goals and objectives of the system.

  • Identify the steps along the patient pathway that will deliver the objectives.

System Workforce Plan

  • Perform a gap analysis by comparing current workforce supply with future workforce demand. This will tell you which roles you will need more or less of in the future, but should also highlights any skills gaps in current staff.

  • Prepare an action plan to address the identified gaps. For example, if more staff in a particular role are required, you will need to plan for an increase in recruitment. Where you have identified a skills gap, you will need to plan for the necessary training and development. Pay particular attention to any critical roles (see System Demand and Future Workforce) to ensure there will be an adequate supply.

  • Identify the mechanisms by which the plan will be monitored and delivered. This should include:

    • Establishment of a review body to monitor progress, with clear timescales and success criteria;
    • Identification of the data needed to assess progress, as well as the resources to collect and analyse these;
    • The resources needed to deliver the plan;
    • Clear roles and responsibilities for all of the above.
  • Organisational change, implementation of new roles and new ways of working can be difficult and unsettling for the staff involved. Change management activities should be planned to engage with and support staff.

  • Collate information into a system workforce plan and submit for review.

  • Review and sign off system workforce plan.

  • Communicate finalised workforce plan to relevant stakeholders.

System Demand and Future Workforce

  • Building on the strategy map, complete an activity analysis to define the activities required for each step along the patient pathway.

  • Use a RACI matrix to identify the roles and responsibilities required for each activity.

  • When working across a whole system, there can be a confusing mix of different job titles covering similar roles, or similar job titles covering very different roles. Use the “role families” approach to agree a common language for all roles, and the different work levels within each role, that will make up your future workforce.

  • Review proposal for the future workforce to ensure this meets expectations and aligns with system priorities e.g. there may be dependencies between this an another workforce plan for a different patient pathway within the same system.

  • Specify to all system organisations which current workforce information is needed. This may include more than just workforce numbers e.g. age profile is needed to identify any risks associated with an ageing workforce.

  • Provide organisation’s baseline workforce information to the system workforce planner.

  • Collate organisational workforce information to give a baseline for the system as a whole.

  • Identify the critical roles in the system using the attached critical roles template. Critical roles are those that are both scarce and key to delivering the system purpose. These roles can then be prioritised in terms of recruitment, talent management and succession planning.


Recent topics and comments

  • Discussion Forum

    Want to contribute to a thread or set up your own discussion? Simply go to the discussion forum and click on register.  Add a few details and your account is created.

  • New to Workforce Planning

    New to Workforce Planning? Have a look at the Workforce Planning for Beginners Cookbook.