A new way for schools to recruit

Schools can access quality supply teachers and support staff at great rates

At the end of the summer this year, in consultation with the Department for Education (DfE), the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) organisation, the procurement agency for public sector, awarded recruitment agencies places on their supply teacher service provision frameworks. Both financially and ethically,  this change is designed to introduce consistent standards for safeguarding and employment checks when hiring temporary staff for schools whilst providing competitive rates for the services from recruiters. This more structured approach to supply teacher recruitment is real a step change from the DfE in ensuring recruitment intermediaries supporting schools to find temporary staff is more transparent and better value for money.

So what’s really changed in the way schools work with recruitment agencies to find temporary staff?

The CCS had several categories of services to schools in England which they refer to as Lots. The Lots concerning pure recruitment services are Lots 1 and 2; both contain  a list of Approved/Preferred Suppliers who have committed to help schools obtain value for money, set standard practice for safeguarding checks and drive savings through offering  more competitive agency fees.

The real change for schools is that by using the companies on the approved supplier lists on Lot 1 for individual school recruitment or Lot 2 to access a managed service provider they are assured of the following benefits:

  • Thorough checks on all their workers have been completed by the agency
  • Relevant accreditations are in place
  • Transparency about agency rates – as the mark-up charge by each agency is shared
  • Schools have the opportunity to avoid paying temp-to-perm fees
  • Agencies must inform the customer that they are awarded onto the framework and that they’re part of the deal

There are c. 140 Approved/Preferred Suppliers on Lot 1 and these are presented to the customer via an ‘Agency Selection Tool’.

This tool identifies localsuppliers for the schools (i.e. those within a defined radius from the customer.) It ranks suppliers by their mark-ups, so the supplier with the most competitive pricing will appear first in the tool. In this way, it provides transparent pricing, so schools can see at a glance a supplier’s mark-ups. This transparency is also extends to breaking down the various components that comprise the overall charge rate in order to establish the teacher’s actual pay rate.  Only the Preferred suppliers located within the defined radius from the customers’ school will appear in the selection tool.

How is managed service provision on Lot 2 different to a service from a recruitment agency on Lot 1?

A managed service for recruitment is where an organisation can outsource all its hiring activity to a supplier to manage on their behalf. The supplier assumes responsibility for the management of sourcing, engagement and administration of allof the customer’s temporary, contract and other non-permanent requirements. It is an exclusive arrangementthat includes managing 3rdparty recruitment agencies where the managed service provider is unable to fill requirements directly.

This can be particularly cost effective where there is continuous volume of hiring requirements. It is very suitable for Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) where there are many schools with requirements for supply teaching staff and support personnel on a consistent basis.

There are 5 suppliers accredited to do this work on this framework. Affinity Workforce, of which Monarch Education and CER Recruitment are the partner agency delivery brands, is eligible to offer this service. To work with any of the agencies there is a simple bid process to make the selection. For the official process click here

What is the overall benefit to education establishments of using a managed service provider?

Using a managed service provider (MSP) model for recruitment offers schools the opportunity to take cost out of the use of supply teachers. This is achieved primarily through margin reduction for the recruitment provider and is not any attempt to reduce teachers’ pay. This can be achieved as the supplier costs are based on economies of scale in terms of recruitment costs such recruitment personnel, candidate attraction and technology. A saving is made by the recruitment business and passed back to the customer. This combination of shared services and technology enables the MSP to operate the service in a highly efficient way. The combination of the cost reduction benefits and consistency in quality are measured through  uniform approaches such as service level agreement points and key performance indicators. The recruiter’s performance is reviewed against these benchmarks to ensure that the managed service provision offers value for money for MATs.

A managed service provider will take over the hiring activity for a MAT for example, however, its ability to have always-on candidate attraction and access to technology changes recruitment from purely transactional to a strategic organisational success driver.  The data collection through technology provides management information to plan for workforce change and the commitment to service level from the supplier has the potential to transform an organisation’s effectiveness for not only quicker and better hiring but also improving staff retention.

Many industry sectors use this recruitment outsourcing model to strategically manage an organisation’s employer reputation and stop the vicious recruitment cycle that transactional hiring to vacancy can cause.

The applicant tracking systems allow the managed service provider’s recruiting professionals to report on not only the effectiveness of candidate attraction but also provide historical data that provides insight into which roles and locations need to be investigated. Flagging high rates of attrition or retention can determine how best to either change hiring processes or replicate best practice where workforces are stable and performing well.

Managed service arrangements allow for forward planning and corrective action for the organisation that goes beyond purely tracking how well and often the recruiter fills roles but also the impact on the effectiveness of the overall staffing. Data will allow customers to ascertain the level of attraction certain roles require to understand the investment in marketing and recruitment for particular job types and locations. In a nutshell, school leaders can make better informed workforce decisions.

Do schools have to use the frameworks?

At this point, schools are encouraged by the DfE  to utilise the frameworkshowever, they can continue to use their current suppliers.  However, this means schools will miss out on potential savings of either utilising the agency tool to find better rates from local suppliers and, in the case of larger schools or MATs, lose the opportunity to overhaul their recruitment and retention strategy for longer term financial and hiring benefits.

What to do next?

We’d love to talk through the benefits of working with our recruitment businesses to save you time and money on your resourcing challenges whether you are ready to use the framework opportunity or would like to consider what this means for your organisation. Please get in touch with your local office.