Peter Holliday comments on why staffing agencies utilised by the NHS have a bad reputation

The Government is targeting the agencies that made profits off their £3.3billion total spend last year, while private firms, such as Medicare, have been making nearly 50% profits on fees, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Peter Holliday, Managing Director of Sopra Steria Recruitment, discussed how agencies can rid themselves of this image. 

“Industry sources generally agree that there is a ‘glut’ of companies in the UK providing recruitment services – and the language that is often used is ‘agency’ which can have negative connotations. 

“In an overcrowded staffing company market place, the biggest single way that the negative image can be shaken off is for organisations to carefully select which companies they utilise and insist on real value and high calibre operations. Great examples of high-performance from staffing companies in partnership with their clients exist in volume, but tend to be less well publicised than the trend for bad experiences being at the forefront of the news.

“The reality is that the recruitment profession is a government regulated industry with high standards of operation being demanded to ensure professionalism and effectiveness.  Similarly, there are industry bodies such as the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) who exist to drive high standards across their membership and promote this to corporates who make use of the member services.”

Holliday also spoke about how this association can be flipped so that procurement services can be a major advantage for the NHS: “For many years, procurement organisations inside government have ensured that the supply of essential flexible resources from employment businesses is cost-effective, agile, fit for purpose and delivered against strict quality criteria.

“The existing frameworks through which demand from NHS for key skills and capabilities is delivered, ensure that employment business suppliers are compliant with the commercial criteria that were established to drive best value for NHS. The frameworks were built through competitive tendering across the UK employment business world, only selecting those suppliers who meet the strict criteria. The wide adoption of frameworks within NHS will help to ensure that whenever key skills are required to supplement employees, the most cost-effective outcome is delivered.” 

You can read the article in Recruitment Grapevine.