Case Study: Staffordshire County Council

Putting Data at the Heart of Strategic Planning

Published on Apr 20, 2022

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Rob Slane

In this time of ongoing economic disruption and uncertainty, local authorities that are looking to support recovery and growth in their area need a good grasp of the changing demand for jobs and skills in their local industries. The most effective way of getting this understanding is through real-time employer job postings data, and Staffordshire County Council (SCC) is one of many local authorities across the country that get these insights through Emsi Burning Glass’s data platform — Analyst — which they have used to provide an evidence-base for a variety of initiatives, including a five-year strategic plan.

Strategic Plan 2022-26

SCC invested in Analyst in 2019, making great use of its Labour Market Insight and Job Posting Analytics to understand how local employer skills demand was being met by the supply of skills from local education providers, and this formed a key part of their evidence to the local Skills Advisory Panel and their Skills Strategy. When the Covid crisis hit, they began using the data to understand how the disruption was affecting the area, and soon saw how it might be used as part of an evidence-base in a recovery plan.

The Strategic Plan 2022-26 is aimed at building ‘an innovative, ambitious and sustainable county, where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy’. It is centred around three priority outcomes, which are that the people of Staffordshire will:

  • Have access to more good jobs and share the benefit of economic growth

  • Live in thriving and sustainable communities

  • Be healthier and independent for longer

According to SCC’s Economy and Skills Analyst, Darren Farmer, once it became clear that the disruption would have a profound impact on the local and national economy, the idea of a Strategic Plan for recovery was hatched, but it needed to be based on solid data about the local economy:

“With the economy in turmoil, the need to create a long-term strategic plan for driving recovery, renewal and transformation, with a strong focus on labour market opportunities, became a necessity. But equally essential was the need to base this on solid evidence, and one of the sources that enabled us to do this was the local employer demand data provided by Analyst.”

How has the data been used?

SCC have used the data to understand the structure of their local economy, how it is changing, and what it might look in the future. They were also able to look into employer demand within the following priority sectors, to get a sense of what specific jobs and skills are being sought after:

  • Digital

  • Green economy

  • Advanced manufacturing and engineering

  • Advanced logistics

  • Modern methods of construction

  • Health & social care


More uses of Analyst data

Along with the Strategic Plan and Skills Strategy, SCC have also used Analyst’s labour market data in a number of other initiatives and projects including:

Curriculum alignment: CPD sessions have been held with local education and skills providers to help them understand how their curriculum aligns with employer skills needs.

Growth opportunities: Extensive evidence has been compiled on how local priority sectors are evolving, including their growth occupations and the skills requirements for these roles.

Chambers of Commerce: Discussions with local Chambers of Commerce sector groups have included data on skills supply and demand.

Green and digital agendas: Like many councils, SCC has a strong focus on digital and green skills, and they have used the data to identify in-demand occupations and skills in these sectors.

Informing CEIAG: Data from Analyst has been incorporated into careers advice within local schools through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Careers Hub.

Local stakeholder groups: The data is used in local stakeholder forums, including the Skills Advisory Panel, the SSLEP Covid Recovery Taskforce, and the Countywide Employment and Skills Group.

Economic Bulletin: Analyst data is included in an Economic Bulletin, which SCC share with over 600 partners and colleagues including all local councilors, cabinet members and MPs.

With increasing pressure on local government to base their interventions on robust evidence, SCC’s investment into Analyst has really paid off, especially given the challenges of understanding the labour market during this period of ongoing economic uncertainty. As Darren Farmer commented:

“When we brought Analyst into Staffordshire County Council, we obviously couldn’t have foreseen the huge disruption that was about to occur. But having the real-time data available at the time the crisis hit, along with the structural view of our labour market that the tool gives us, has been of massive value in ensuring we are building our Strategic Plan, Skills Strategy,
and local partnership discussions on a solid foundation.”

Get in touch with us today to talk about how Analyst can help your organisation in its strategic recovery planning, skills strategy and much more.

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