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Optimising the CYP workforce within the South West region

NHS England South West (SW) Children and Young people transformation team commissioned SCW to develop a resource or support that would enable system leads to consider their workforce planning from a fresh perspective, moving beyond traditional methods that tend to focus on supply and demand. 


The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) sets out a vision for the NHS and highlights the importance of a strong start in life for children and young people (CYP). The CYP Transformation Programme oversees commitments relating to CYP in the LTP and understands that to deliver these commitments, key partners will need to work together across health, care, and education. In early 2021, SCW was commissioned to deliver phase one of the SW CYP Transformation Programme. This involved the benchmarking of the seven South West Integrated Care Systems (ICS) against five national and four regional deliverables. From this work, the regional NHSE team commissioned SCW in year 2 of the programme to support the seven ICSs in the development and delivery of the CYP Programme. 


A co-design session with ICSs and the SCW team discovered that workforce was a priority for ICBs regarding the delivery of CYP services. The system leads wanted support to understand where they could better represent the current state of the workforce, challenges (in particular with the high-demand, low-supply roles) and opportunities within their wider systems.


Using SCW’s workforce optimisation model, a regional workforce optimisation toolkit was designed to be used by systems whilst conducting workforce planning exercises across different Children and Young People (CYP) services. 

The project team profiled nine roles that were currently in high demand and had a lack of supply across the region. The aim was to develop a toolkit that contained insight to help systems leads consider alternative ways to configure the workforce to deliver against priority outcomes. This includes the identification of complementary roles that can support the delivery of services, allowing high-demand roles to focus on activities that can only be completed by that particular profession. 

Whilst profiling these roles, the team also looked to understand how the role's responsibilities align with tackling inequalities and providing early help; specifically for SEND, Mental Health, Obesity, Early Years and Maternal Health and Deprivation as outlined in the South West CYP Benchmarking report.


The toolkit has been shared with regional and national CYP programme colleagues to showcase the approach and support the adoption of the toolkit into their ways of working. The ICSs within the South West intend to utilise the toolkit with their respective workforce and CYP colleagues to support workforce planning, delivery, and strategy. The toolkit will also feature in system and regional level CYP governance and meetings to support the narrative around workforce challenges for CYP. 

Systems across the South West have provided positive feedback to the toolkit and have sought regional support to adopt the approach through their workforce programmes. Similarly, the toolkit has allowed the ability to bring system partners together around CYP services. This has provided a platform for working collaboratively when workforce planning.  

Triangulated intelligence into a very practical toolkit to support systems with a level to ensure CYP is represented in wider NHS programmes”

A brilliant way to showcase an evidence-based approach in the CYP programme. Exemplary approach displayed by the team in all areas including developing strong relationships with key stakeholders… ability to draw on expertise and spot where intelligence would support the programmeCharlotte Ives, System Transformation Lead

Workforce optimisation is SCW’s conceptual model for framing our thinking on how we do workforce planning, delivery and strategy. 

For more information about our wider workforce offer, please visit: Workforce services or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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