Strategic workforce shaping, commissioning and planning

Workforce is the biggest input in delivering care and support. As part of a local authorities Care Act market shaping responsibilities, commissioners need to consider with providers the skills, knowledge and roles needed to provide local services that reflect the needs of the local people and the population.

We can help you to analyse local workforce needs, give you advice about working with providers to build the skills and knowledge of the workforce and plan workforce interventions to build confidence, capability and capacity.

Find out more information about the following areas:


A practical guide for workforce shaping, commissioning and planning

We recommend you first read this practical guidance and use it as an overarching model that will help leaders and commissioners to understand the workforce aspects of your commissioning responsibilities.  

The guide focuses on bringing service commissioners together to ‘analyse, plan, do and review’ the workforce requirements in your local area, to produce a joint service and workforce strategy, or market and workforce position statement. It provides prompts for discussion and can be adapted to your local circumstances.  

Download the guide

To help you get started and to begin to implement the key assumptions of effective strategic workforce shaping, commissioning and planning, use our self-assessment questionnaire. You can identify areas of strength and work on areas requiring development to start the process of developing your workforce strategy.

Download the self-assessment


Qualifications for commissioners

Our qualifications give learners the opportunity to connect with other commissioning staff across the country, to learn what they’re doing, how they approach their work and develop knowledge and skills.

The Level 5 Certificate in Fundamental Knowledge in Commissioning for Wellbeing (RQF) has been developed to support current and aspiring commissioners in achieving a rich, diverse and sustainable market of provision. 

We’ve recently piloted a new Level 5 Certificate - Commissioning for Wellbeing with a learning disability and autism focus and this is now available to all commissioners. The qualification tackles the challenge of defining and delivering wellbeing outcomes in an increasingly complex environment.

Find out more and how to apply



Understanding the local market

The Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) is an online data collection service and the leading source of workforce information for the adult social care sector in England. It holds information on over 20,000 care providing locations and 750,000 workers.

Every local authority in England has an ASC-WDS account which is updated each year. It provides information and trends on employment information, recruitment and retention, demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts.

You can compare the services within your organisation or compare to other local authorities, to help you to make informed and effective decisions, and support the planning and delivery of services in your local area.

Find out how the ASC-WDS can support you


The personal assistant (PA) workforce

More people are choosing to use their personal budget to become an individual employer and employ their own personal assistant(s) (PAs). An understanding of this growing part of the workforce should form part of your market shaping activities.

Skills for Care can help you to understand the PA market and has resources to support individual employers and those who support them.

Visit the ‘Information hub for individual employers and PAs’

Individual service funds

An Individual Service Fund (ISF) is one way of managing a personal budget, where someone who needs care and support chooses an organisation to manage the budget on their behalf. Download our guide to ISF.


Building community capacity using asset and strengths-based approaches

These approaches put individuals at the heart of adult social care commissioning, to ensure that people can access the care and support that they want and need. 

We’ve developed a short guide that explains what community-focused thinking is, gives you some top tips about how you can develop the resources in your community and explores how taking a social return on investment approach can help you to measure the benefits of community investment. 

Download the guide 


Person centred and community-based working guide

This guide includes information, ideas and bite-size learning for adult social care employers. We’ve used stories and examples of what providers told us works well and is important for people to live good lives.
Download the guide 


Using conversations to assess and plan people’s care and support

Having conversations can help you to find out all sorts of things about people that could be lost if you followed a standard form. Taking this approach in social care assessments can help you to commission services that reflect people’s wishes and needs. This guide outlines the key principles of conversational assessment, to help you to use this approach. 
Download the guide

Community mapping

We’ve developed this infographic to help you to think about what resources are available in the local community to improve the lives of people who need care and support. This version has some examples already written in, or you can download a blank version to map resources in your local community. We have a range of resources that help employers develop workforce plans from your strategic market and workforce commissioning strategies. These can be found under the operational workforce planning, workforce change and transformation and quality of care themes.