Procurement: Engaging third-party resources

Gareth Clark, Deputy Director – Professional Services, Crown Commercial Service guides us through a number of agreements that the organisation offers when it comes to procurement (engaging third-party resources)

Crown Commercial Services (CCS) offers a number of agreements through which organisations can engage third-party resources but there are important considerations when making the decision about the right way to buy: often your choice will be to decide whether the requirement can be fulfilled via either a contingent labour or consultancy solution. The distinction is important and we at CCS urge customers to consider it carefully before embarking on the process:

  • If you need a temporary worker for business-as-usual or service delivery activities, you need a contingent labour solution; this includes interim managers and specialist contractors. The worker will more than likely be part of a team and be line managed on a time basis rather than output. A typical example of a contingent labour solution is back-filling a permanent hire who may be on long-term sick or maternity leave. Contingent labour can also be used on a specific, time-limited project.
  • However, if you’re looking for objective, time-limited advice outside the business-as-usual environment when in-house skills aren’t available, you need consultancy support. Consultancy tends to relate to the strategy, structure, management or operations of your organisation to help you achieve your objectives. They might work outside of business as usual hours, define a level of resource, assume a degree of risk, solve a problem for you, set outcomes and be paid based on output.

If you have concerns over how to resolve your contingent labour versus consultancy assessment, please get in touch with us. Once you’ve decided which you need, you can access the relevant CCS commercial agreement.

For contingent labour and contractor requirements, you should use Public Sector Resourcing (RM3749). Our strategic partner, Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), provides a fully managed service for hiring contingent workers. The solution also offers a direct-hire aspect whereby workers can apply directly into departments for a role, rather than going via an agency – see The PSR Market Place. This can drive significant cost and time savings.

The AMS team provides sourcing, on-boarding, vetting and will guide you through the recruitment process with fixed rates to ensure simplified pricing. This commercial agreement also addresses issues including agency worker regulations and will monitor your off-payroll working in the public sector (IR35) through the SAP Fieldglass technology platform and general data protection regulations.

Departments need to provide their internal spending controls to ensure full authorisation from both finance and HR teams before AMS starts any recruitment.

Alternatives to this commercial agreement apply if your contingent labour needs are in a specialist sector such as health and social care. NHS customers can use Non-Clinical Temporary and Fixed Term Staff (RM6160) for all non-clinical staffing needs, from admin to estates, portering to catering, both temporary and fixed-term. It delivers the best commercial deal with a range of transparent rates and flexible discounts available, protection in the terms and conditions and stringent audit and assurance processes to ensure worker compliance in line with NHS Employers’ CHECK standards.

In addition, there is:

  • Quick on-boarding and direct contact with suppliers.
  • Help with selection through our skills matrix, award support tool, and region and skills matrix.
  • Ability to direct award.
  • Management information is available for all customers to detail reported spend and market analysis.

The Supply Teachers and Temporary Staff framework (RM3826), sponsored by the Department for Education, can be used by educational establishments to recruit temporary and fixed-term teaching and non-teaching staff. This includes qualified and unqualified teachers, education support staff, headteachers, and non-classroom-based roles such as IT, finance and admin and clerical.

The framework provides:

  • Robust safeguarding processes in accordance with the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance, with suppliers audited by an approved accreditation body.
  • Consistent terms and conditions, transparent pricing including free temp to perm provisions after 12 working weeks.
  • A preferred supplier list containing local suppliers identified through the agency selection tool.
  • Opportunities to work with a single managed service provider responsible for supporting all temporary staffing requirements, managing your supply chain and implementing technology.

However, if you have consultancy requirements such as audit, finance, ICT/digital services, infrastructure, business design or strategy, you should use one of our Management Consultancy commercial agreements.

All suppliers are Cyber Essentials accredited and offer standard terms and conditions. If you opt for the consultancy route, please ensure you follow the relevant spending controls for your organisation and get any required approvals before starting your procurement. You may achieve greater savings through further competition and you will achieve a better outcome when you engage with the market early.

So whether it’s for contingent labour or consultancy, our expert teams can help you find the right solution.

For further advice complete this online form, email info@crowncommercial.gov.uk, or call us on +44 (0)345 410 2222.

Contributor Profile

Deputy Director – Professional Services
Crown Commercial Service
Phone: +44 (0)345 410 2222
Email: info@crowncommercial.gov.uk
Website: Visit Website

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