The combination of our belief that we should keep the size of NHS Digital's full time workforce below 3000 people and the need for more headcount to deliver Personalised Health and Care 2020 means that we need a new approach to sourcing the labour we need. We intend to implement a sourcing strategy at Domain level - looking much more for development partners to deliver defined capability - and map this onto our planning for people by profession.
We have done a systematic assessment of the demand requirements against each of our professional pools to ensure we have a targeted plan for recruiting and sourcing the skills we need. This has confirmed the importance of continuous development of the professional pools. Very few of our professional groups will remain unchanged by the increased role of NHS Digital. Many are critical to our ability to deliver our commitments. A summary of this assessment is included in Appendix 2.
We will continue to hire people into the organisation with substantial experience and have done this recently for example to boost our commercial capability. Longer term, however, we believe we need to focus much more on graduate and apprentice hires. We have recently increased the number of hires of both-we have set up a graduate academy and extended the number of universities we work with-with huge success.
All of this requires a more coherent organisation-wide sourcing strategy coupled with a much stronger ability to forecast demand and source the supply of the skills and capacity we require, at both a strategic and operational level. We need to have different ways of sourcing through direct recruitment, indirectly through contracts, and through new strategic partnering arrangements which may include outsourcing or offshoring contracts for certain types of service.
The new workforce planning function that we are designing to achieve this will have the following key characteristics:
- flexible sourcing frameworks and options, including innovative partnering arrangements
- a values-based approach centred on customer focus and responsiveness
- respect for our staff and the skills they bring, using recruitment, reward and retention packages that are flexible and offer financial and nonfinancial incentives that are attractive to current and prospective employees
- informed by labour market intelligence
- underpinned by accurate and timely management information
It needs to respond to the following factors:
- a vibrant and growing IT and digital skills market, especially in Leeds and London
- the attractiveness of NHS Digital as an 'employer of choice'
- our need for a wide range of skills, many of which are niche and in demand
- a decreasing pool of contractors willing to work in the public sector
- the as yet unknown impact of Brexit on the availability of foreign workers