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

Complete Service Workforce Plan

  • Create a service workforce plan template that includes:

    • Purpose of the plan
    • Vision of the service in the future
    • Review of demand
    • Review of current supply
    • Risks and mitigation
    • Action Plan 

    Example templates for you to use or adapt can be found in the Ingredients.

  • Create a guidance document that can be issued with the template to ensure the template is completed correctly and consistently.
  • Consult Service Leads and incorporate feedback into template and guidance.
  • Complete service workforce plan template and submit to Workforce Planner by the required deadline.

Service Workforce Plan Confirm and Challenge

  • Define membership and terms of reference of the confirm and challenge group and set up meetings. Possible group members include:

    • HR representation
    • OD representation
    • Finance representation
    • Service Leads (Service Managers and Clinicians)
    • Activity Lead
  • Review service workforce plans; plans should be distributed ahead of the meeting.

  • Conduct confirm and challenge meeting. The objectives of the meeting should cover:

    • Strategic direction, focus and alignment for all workforce planning activity within the Trust;
    • Alignment to system priorities and any workforce transformation projects underway;
    • Ensuring all plans have been received;
    • Ensuring plans are consistent and areas impacting across services are taken into account;
    • Capturing any themes that emerge from reviewing all plans in the round;
    • Ensuring all risks and issues have been identified and mitigation planned for;
    • Identifying actions and areas of further work arising from the meeting.
  • Monitor and coordinate actions arising from the meeting, particularly amendments and additions to service workforce plans.

  • Sign off service workforce plans.

Engagement with HEIs Regarding Workforce Priorities

  • Identify your key contact within the HEIs in your area.

  • Information it would be useful to share with your HEI contact includes:

    • Areas that are difficult to recruit to;
    • Areas where there are issues with student placements (e.g. not enough placement capacity);
    • Areas with planned workforce changes that will have an impact on demand;
    • Potential changes to course content (e.g. requested additions to course modules);
    • Risks and issues (e.g. attrition).

  • Information it would be useful for HEIs to share with Trusts:

    • Any planned changes to course numbers;
    • Any planned changes to student placements;
    • Any planned changes to course content;
    • Risks and issues (e.g. attrition).
  • Make sure any risks and issues arising from these conversations are captured and mitigated against.

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.