The case

Councils are required by the Department for Communities and Local Government (the Pay and Workforce Strategy for Local Government) to prODuce workforce development plans. In 2003 the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government produced a guide to workforce planning. This stated that workshop planning:

is about trying to predict the future demand for different types of staff and seeking to match this with supply. (It) can make the links between business strategies and your people plans for recruitment and retention, staff development and trAIning. It is about how you get to where you want to be.

Midshire County Council had to respond to this requirement – not unwillingly – and therefore appointed one of its senior HR specialists as Workforce Planning Manager to develop, in conjunction with key representatives of the different directorates, a workforce plan for the Council. Her starting point was to consider the process the Council should use. She discussed this with other local authorities and studied the literature, including the guide produced by the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government and its literature review on the subject produced jointly with the Institute for Employment Studies. As a result she produced the framework shown below.

Her next step was to set out the headings of the workforce plan and list the information required to prepare it.


The task

List the headings and, as appropriate, the supporting information the Workforce Planning Manager should recommend for inclusion in the workforce plan.


The answer to this task is, of course, basically included in the framework given above. But the purpose of this case is to illustrate the workshop planning process rather than present a problem to be soLVed. It is also intended to emphasize that workforce planning is not just concerned with numerical projections. A typical set of headings and supporting information as used by Devon County Council in its workforce plan is:

A statement of what the council should be doing.

Examples of how it is responding.

An assessment of how this will affect services and structures.

An assessment of what workforce will be needed, which includes an analysis of competencies required, methods of working and remodelling roles.

An analysis of the current workforce and hr policies in terms of age profile, diversity, recruitment and retention, learning and development, succession and career planning.

An analysis of the supply position from within the Council and in the local labour market.

A GAP analysis.

An action plan to bridge the gap covering each aspect of HR policy and practice.

How the action will be monitored and EVAluated.



The operations development manager interview(Role playing exercise)