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Estimating Staffing and Workload Needs

Estimating Staffing and Workload Needs in NBCP Operational Programs


To help Grantee States in the planning stages of a NBCP program estimate their future program staffing needs, CNA has developed a staffing size estimator using staffing and workload data from operational programs that conduct reviews of State and, in most cases, Federal criminal history record information and make fitness determinations.

Open the staffing size estimator spreadsheet to estimate the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) determination unit staff needed given the expected volume of determinations completed each quarter by your program.

To complete an estimate of your required staff size:

  • Enter an estimate of the number of applications submitted annually. You can use the background check volume estimate prepared for your State by CNA for this estimate. See the Background Check Estimator Tool for more information on this subject.
  • Enter the estimated percent of applications that will be closed without a completed determination. If you cannot estimate the number, use the average (25%) based on questionnaire data.
  • Enter your expected percent of applicants with a criminal history. If you do not have an estimate for this, enter the average reported by States that completed a questionnaire (18%).

Estimated staff size will differ based on the level of automation in your background check management system. In particular, a program with a high level of automation (i.e., automated tasks include lights-out processing1 of applications without a criminal history) will require fewer staff than the same program with a medium or low level of automation (i.e., automated tasks do not include lights-out processing).

The staffing size estimator presents three alternative estimates of the number of determination staff required. These are:

  1. Staff size based on the number of determinations completed.
  2. Staff size based on the number of determinations completed but with extra weight given to those determinations requiring the review of criminal history records.
  3. Staff size based on the number of completed determinations with a criminal history. This alternative can be used if you expect to have “lights-out” processing for applicants with no State or Federal criminal history.

These three staffing size estimates are presented for a high automation program, a medium/low automation program, and an average based on data reported from all six NBCP programs that reported data.

Additional Resources

  1. Staffing Size Estimator spreadsheet
  2. Staffing and Workload in Operational Programs – A detailed description of the data collection process, presentation of the reported data, and an analysis of questionnaire results.
  3. Staffing and Workload Questionnaire

End Notes

1. “Lights-out processing” means where the background check process flows through the lifecycle from applicant inception to completion with minimum human intervention.