Skills for Health Workforce Functional Analysis Tool

Skills for Health

Quick link to the workbooks

These were compiled in 2012 and have not been updated.

What is functional analysis?

Functional analysis is:

  • a methodology for competence-based workforce design and associated education;
  • based on the direct relationship between functions (what needs to be done), the context in which it is done (e.g. high risk, or very predictable) and the skill level required to provide a quality service.

The output from the functional analysis undertaken for National End of Life Care Programme is made up of a series of workbooks which describe:

  • the workforce skills required to ensure individuals receive quality care in their last year of life, using nationally recognised and standardised statements of function or competence;
  • the level of skill required at each stage of the end of life care pathway.

Who will they help?

  • Service managers in health and social care seeking to reflect on or develop their teams or the way their service is delivered.
  • Service commissioners wishing to use this as a way of enhancing their service specifications (and who may also be using the associated Cohort Model to help determine costings for end of life care).
The tools support those who want to look at the function, competences and level of skill required by the workforce delivering end of life care and will support workforce role review/design and the commissioning of education and training.

Case study of tool deployment

During the autumn of 2011, an early adopter team worked with Skills for Health to learn more about the model and how to apply it for their local requirements. A new workbook for the EOLC Functional Analysis model was developed using the upgraded Health Functional Map and extension of the National Occupational Standards (NOS). This was validated by the early adopter team. A functional analysis case study for North of Tyne relating to the early adopters experiences provides further details.

The workbooks

There are six workbooks, which were developed to underpin the Whole Systems Partnership Cohort Model and relate to the five trajectories of illness featured in the model:

A further workbook was developed as the result of a subsequent engagement with practitioners in North of Tyne in November 2011. This workbook is based on an updated version of the Health Functional Map. The workbook is generic, applicable to all settings (acute/non-acute), general for all trajectories and without calculations of the timings indicated at each level of skill. This can be useful for those wanting to carry out a broader analysis of the competencies required in their end of life care workforce.

How do I use the workbooks?

You can use the workbooks to explore:

  • what assumptions have been included in the Cohort Model in respect of workforce – this may influence some of the workforce judgements you make when using the model (such as degree of patient facing time);
  • how your local way of working compares with the East Midlands and consider any significant deviations from the model that may need to be accounted for in its use.

You can also use the workbooks to understand:

  • how what needs to be done compares against the skills and roles currently available in your setting (in either paid or unpaid roles), and where changes could be made improve services;
  • the education and training required to deliver skills and workforce changes, with an indication of level of competence.

And as a starting point to develop:

  • teams and working relationships;
  • job descriptions and specifications for education requirements.       

Case studies

Here are a selection of case studies drawn from the real experiences of health and social care professionals:

Support for users

Should you wish to take your use of functions and competences into other areas, the full suite can be accessed at Here you will find support and advice on how to do this for yourself. Alternatively, the website will direct you on how to get in touch with Skills for Health should you require further support.

Return to the End of Life Care Modelling Tools page

End of Life Care Profiles
Data Sources
Advice and information
Validates against XHTML 1.0   Cascading stylesheet compliance   Single A Accessibility compliance