Public sector recruitment is not easy, but Crown Commercial Service’s Non-Clinical Staffing framework is here to help
According to the i newspaper, in September last year there were 165,000 care worker vacancies in the UK. NHS England has a vacancy rate of 9.7 per cent and one in eight newly qualified teachers leave the profession within one year, and almost one-third leave within five years.
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executive Officers (Solace) has found that 33 per cent of council chief executives and senior managers in England do not have enough skilled staff to run services to an acceptable standard.
Crown Commercial Service’s Framework RM6277, Non-Clinical Staffing allows all public and third sector organisations to hire non-clinical workers including admin, clerical, catering and maintenance.
The framework is intended for the supply of temporary and fixed term workers and should not be used to fill permanent positions.
All public sector bodies, including central government, local government, blue-light services, NHS contracting authorities, universities and charities are able to buy from the framework. The framework is also part of the NHS Workforce Alliance. As stated in the title, the framework does not include clinical roles, nor does it cover teachers.
Roles that feature on the framework include administration and secretarial roles; finance, accounts and audit roles; IT technicians, analysts and technical engineer specialists, digital workers; and legal secretaries, paralegals and lawyers. Other listed roles include environmental and scientific roles, for example: EA and senior assistant scientists, technical and clinical coders including health records secretaries; caterers, drivers and security; and estates and maintenance roles including general labour and specialist labour such as, electricians and surveyors.
The framework offers a variety of engagement models to contract or hire workers including traditional agency hires, fixed-term positions, and independent contractors.
Buyers have the option to hire the roles needed directly from a supplier as and when needed or to set up a managed service. With a managed service (MS), the MS provider can manage all workforce needs by either filling roles directly or through their supply chain.
Benefits for buyers
The framework provides several benefits including offering a wide range of experienced suppliers including SMEs, specialist niche suppliers and managed solution options.
Buyers are able to achieve larger savings using built-in discounts. For example, you can access discounts for length of placement, by nominating a worker, or by hiring large volumes of workers at the same time.
The framework lists transparent rates and costs for both PAYE and limited company temporary workers, including for fixed term appointments.
Non-NHS contracting authorities are able to specify what pre-employment checks are needed: for example, Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS).
The framework offers the possibility to direct award to enable quick access to workers when needed.
Buyers are able to access a range of tools to aid in the selection process, including rate card, award support tool and region/skills matrix.
The framework is also free to use for buyers, no membership is needed and framework fees are collected from suppliers.
Carbon Reduction Plan
Suppliers listed under lot 7 have agreed to comply with the Procurement Policy Note 06/21: ‘Taking account of Carbon Reduction Plans in the procurement of major government contracts’. Suppliers listed under other lots may also have a carbon reduction plan, which can be found on the individual supplier’s details page.
A Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP) is intended to help customers understand the impact to the environment of a supplier’s operations. A CRP sets out an organisation’s emissions across the year, measured against a range of emissions sources and greenhouse gases.
Lots and suppliers
The framework lists 210 suppliers in seven lots. The lots are as follows: Lot 1 Admin & Clerical (65 Suppliers); Lot 2 Corporate Functions (111 suppliers); Lot 3 IT Professionals (89 suppliers); Lot 4 Legal (20 suppliers); Lot 5 Scientific, Technical and Clinical Coding (20 Suppliers); Lot 6 Estates, Facilities Management and Ancillary Staff (68 suppliers) and Lot 7 MSP: Master/Neutral Vendor (14 suppliers).
Lot 1 covers job areas including administration and clerical; secretarial; finance, accounts and audit; HR; information and communication technology; health informatics; library services; medical secretaries; procurement and supplies; project management; public relations; communications; customer services; and PALS. Job titles under this lot include administrator, clerk, secretary, receptionist, business support manager, digital transcription clerks, post-room assistant, post-room worker, telephonist, general administrator, admin assistant, admin clerk, clerical assistant, secretarial manager, filing clerk, personal assistant, call centre agent/handler, call handler, filer, co-ordinator, help desk operator.
Lot 2 includes finance, accounts and audit; HR; library services; procurement and supplies; project management; public relations; communications; customer services; PALS; senior business; administrative management; and media services. Professionals to be recruited under this lot include auditor, benefits assessment/benefits assessor, deputy group finance manager, and financial crime manager.
Some of the lots do cover overlapping categories, so it is important to check the details of each lot carefully for the specific job role. There is a very helpful spreadsheet available, which sets out which job role is covered by which lot.
Lot 3 IT Professionals may include job roles such as infrastructure specialist/architect, security specialist, database developer, development manager, e-commerce consultant, telecoms manager, digital account manager, content manager, software engineer, architect (enterprise, solution, technical), technical author, functional consultant, technical consultant, business analyst, IT manager, programme manager, project manager, service delivery manager, problem manager, software licence manager, capacity manager, IT trainer, director of IT, and director of information management.
The Legal lot (Lot 4) is more limited and covers job roles including legal secretary, solicitor consultant and legal officer.
Lot 5 Scientific, Technical & Clinical Coding covers technical and environment & scientific services and may be useful for roles such as engineering assistant, engineering technician, waterways management, environmental health officer, building maintenance engineer, building services engineer, surveyor, architect, structural engineer, senior engineering assistant.
Lot 6 is quite straightforward, it covers catering, drivers, estates and maintenance, facilities, hotel services, (hospitality), security, sterile services, and stores (and logistics). Staff included could be catering assistant, kitchen assistant, chef transport co-ordinator, driver, electrician, gardener, maintenance assistant, mechanic, estates co-ordinator, workshop technician, senior estates manager, technical services manager, maintenance supervisor, insulation work, safety equipment installer, carpenter, builder, health & safety officer, gas engineer.
Direct award is recommended for hiring single or small groups of workers.
Direct award should be used if it is clear from the contract documents that there is one supplier who can meet your needs as well as provide you with the best value for money. All requirements need to be covered by the framework specification.
The lot descriptions, Rate Card and Award Support Tool should be used to identify suitable suppliers. The Award Support Tool can help buyers to match the type of staff needed with the suppliers offering them. Suppliers can then be ranked according to their offers and value for money. CCS should be emailed for a copy of the tool.
In order to direct award, buyers need to identify suitable suppliers by using the tool, rank the suppliers by using the direct award criteria and then award a contract by using the simplified Short Order Form.
There is also the option for further competition, which should be used if you want to make adjustments to the specification or terms. Using further competition may also achieve better value for money. It is the recommended route when arranging a project through output-based delivery. It is not recommended for single or small groups of workers. Suppliers may choose not to take part in competitions for smaller requirements.
In order to run a further competition, buyers need to identify which suppliers can meet their needs and then invite all capable suppliers to bid.
Further competition documents should then be sent to all capable suppliers, ensuring there is enough time for suppliers to return their tenders. New award criteria cannot be introduced, but changes can be made to the original award criteria.
Returned tenders can then be evaluated against the reward criteria. Evaluation plans and weightings can be adjusted within the range limits to reflect individual circumstances and requirements.
Once this process has been completed, the supplier with the highest score, who can provide the best value for money should be awarded.
If this supplier is unable to meet your needs, then the next highest scoring supplier should be awarded.
Award Support Tool
The Award Support Tool can be used to direct award to a supplier without running a competition as it runs a price competition based on the criteria input. When running a
further competition, the tool can also be used to help decide which suppliers to invite to bid.
There are two versions of the rate card available for customers: one is for NHS customers (it includes the NHS England price caps) and the other is for the rest of the public sector.
Customers can enter the worker pay rate and the rate card will calculate the full charge for whichever supplier is selected. It will also display all costs for hiring a temporary worker using the agreement.
The rate cards can also provide information on costs for hiring a fixed term worker and costs for transfer fees where applicable.
It is possible to award to multiple suppliers. In this case, the scope of each awarded contract should be clear and individual suppliers need to know that they do not have exclusivity.
Call off extension
There are no limitations on the length of a call off contract or extensions that you can use, and these should be in line with your local policy best practices. If you think you may need to extend a contract, it is recommended to make this known at the outset.
Contracting Authorities should complete an order form in which they should state all the requirements needed from the supplier and the candidate including any training and the level of disclosure. The order form can also be used to award holistic/managed models and agree rates and SLAs applicable to order for an agreed period of time. Suppliers are also expected to return an Assignment Checklist to confirm all of the relevant candidate details preplacement.
This framework from CCS allows public sector organisations to recruit across virtually any role, taking away much of the work that is required to recruit new staff.