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Call for Proposals Scoping Workforce Planning and Development Needs for the Specialist Data, Information and Knowledge Workforce in Scotland’s Health and Social Care.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Grace Arnell


The Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) is commissioning this project in collaboration with NHS Education for Scotland and the Public Health and Intelligence Unit within NHS National Services Scotland, to:

  1. Define the scope and scale of the specialist data, information and knowledge workforce in Scotland’s health and social care.
  2. Engage this workforce and build their ownership in re-imagining and co-designing new “digital first” ways of working for the future that maximise the impact of their specialist  roles on health and care. 
  3. Produce a high level definition of future capacity and skills needed for this workforce. This will provide a foundation for more in-depth analysis in future.
  4. Scope the gap between current state and future needs, and outline the approaches which are most likely to be effective in addressing this gap in future.


Strategic context

This project will contribute to two key strategic developments in Scotland’s health and social care which highlight the importance of developing this specialist workforce:

a) Creation of the new national public health body for Scotland.

This is at an early stage of development and will continue to progress during the course of this project.  It is already clear is that the new body will respond to the recommendations of the Public Health Review, which emphasises the central importance of workforce skills and specialist support in using data, information and knowledge  to inform delivery of public health.

b) Development of a new Digital Health and Care Strategy.

This strategy is currently under development, due for publication in spring 2018. It aims to deploy digital information, knowledge and technology to enable the change Scotland needs in the way that health and care services are delivered. The project outlined in this brief will work in synergy with two work strands which are expected to play a key role in the implementation plan for this strategy:

  • Workforce development and leadership. This workstrand is led by NES in collaboration with Scottish Government eHealth, SSSC, DHI and others.
  • Information and knowledge. This workstrand is led by a national steering group chaired by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and supported by the Scottish Government eHealth Division.

An underpinning strategic theme of particular relevance to this project is the move beyond the current model, focused on retrospective analysis and description of existing knowledge. The emerging strategy recognises that data, information and knowledge management specialists will need in future to emphasise intelligent, predictive use of technology to mobilise knowledge into decisions and actions. This includes new approaches such as machine learning, to anticipate risk, and a range of decision support  tools to optimise outcomes for personal care, individual services and the whole system.


Requirement 1

Produce a consensus definition on the scope of the specialist data, information and knowledge workforce group in Scotland’s health and social care.

Arriving at this definition is likely to involve engagement with the Steering Group and other leaders in this field.

Requirement 2

Conduct a scoping review of the published and grey literature and existing initiatives

To identify existing capability frameworks, workforce models and workforce planning and development approaches relevant to this workforce group.

Requirement 3

Analyse and map the most relevant of the existing frameworks to produce a composite overview of Data, Information and Knowledge workforce capabilities identified to date.

Requirement 4

Engage this workforce in re-imagining their roles in a future digitally transformed health and social care system.

The intention will be to reaffirm for this workforce the recognition of the vital importance of their contribution, and to build confidence, ownership  and momentum around moving into this future.

As part of this engagement exercise, the supplier will consult with this workforce on their understanding of  requirements for future skills and ways of working to deliver this digital future.

Requirement 5

Scope the scale, distribution, current skillsets and working models across this workforce.

Requirement 6 

Gather insights from leaders in data, information and knowledge across health and social care on:

  • Future needs for workforce capacity, skills and models of working.
  • The approaches that would most effectively address the gaps between current state and future needs.



The overarching final deliverable will be a project report with appendices, incorporating:


  1. Agreed definition of scope of this workforce.
  2. A vision of the re-imagined future for the specialist data, information and knowledge workforce in the context of digitally transformed health and social care.
  3. High-level definition of :
  • Future capacity and capability and ways of working required to deliver this future.
  • Current status of capacity, capability and ways of working.
  • The gap between current state and future need.
  1. Recommendations on approaches to bridge this gap over the next 3-5years.

As evidence for its conclusions and recommendations, this report should cite and summarise the findings from:

  • The scoping review of the literature and existing initiatives
  • Engagement and consultation with leaders and the wider workforce in data, information and knowledge.
  • Report of scoping review of the literature and existing initiatives.
  • Composite mapping of existing capability frameworks most relevant to this workforce.

Detailed reports of these individual pieces of work should be presented as appendices to the main report.