You are here

Proposed Guidance for Costing the Social Service Workforce

Adequate investment in the social service workforce ensures that people in need can receive social services that are of sufficient quality to uphold their rights, promote their well-being and help them achieve their full potential. Governments can be motivated to make investment in social services a higher priority by demonstrating how investment in the social service workforce, along with the services they provide, is an investment in the future, given the economic and social benefits that result from upholding the rights of children, families, and other individuals in need, and meeting their social welfare needs. These benefits can be quantified, at both individual and societal level, and in doing can be recognised as the social return on investment, emphasising and calculating which is a key approach to justify investment in social service workforce. However, before this possible, government planners need to have a clear and consistent approach to calculating the initial and recurring costs of this investment, and to determining what level of investment would be sufficient to achieve the intended return, in the form of measurable long-term benefits for the target population.

The purpose of this guidance is to advise policy makers and planners on how to apply a set of variables to their specific context to enable them to calculate the costs of human resources required to meet a target minimum ratio of social service workers per population, in the country in question. The guidance first discusses the essential steps that need to be taken to prepare for a costing exercise, and then the specific steps to take in a costing exercise for the workforce. 

The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and UNICEF developed the “Proposed Guidance and Tool for Costing the Social Service Workforce” with the intention that they be working documents. The Alliance is currently facilitating four regional communities of practice around developing ratios and costing the workforce (in East and Central Asia, East and South Africa, Western and Central Africa, and East Asia and the Pacific).These groups of government stakeholders (including in ministries of social welfare, finance and planning), supported by UNICEF country office colleagues, meet to exchange learning on how they have implemented or plan to implement the guidance in practice. This input will be used to help improve this guidance through testing and revision of its key assumptions and technical recommendations, and through the inclusion of country-level examples of applying the guidance in practice.

Global Social Service Workforce Alliance
Year of Publication: 
Resource Type: 
Gray literature
Resource Database