Updated 6 April. Shared guidance for NHS trusts and suppliers on the use of agency staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the Department for Health and Social Care, Workforce Alliance and HealthTrust Europe to provide shared guidance for NHS trusts and suppliers on the use of agency staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This guidance was published on 27 March to ensure agency staff are placed efficiently to support the provision of a safe and high-quality temporary workforce, whilst maintaining essential compliance, at this critical time. Following its publication there have been further updates relating to pre-employment checks and temporary facilities and estates staff (see below for full details).

Framework suppliers:

The Workforce Alliance also wrote to suppliers on 30 March about contingent labour pay in the wider public sector at this time:

NHS trusts:

Updates to the guidance

30 March: NHS Employers issue temporary guidance on pre-employment checks

NHS Employers has updated the pre-employment checks section of their website with temporary guidance related to the current situation. This replaces the guidance for both trusts and suppliers in the section headed ‘measures to support rapid onboarding of staff’ set out in the documents above dated 27 March. It should be applied with immediate effect.

6 April: NHS England and NHS Improvement amend rules on use of agency workers for facilities and estates shifts

In response to the current demand for facilities and estates staff (particularly cleaners, porters and security staff), NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) has amended the rule that trusts should only use substantive or bank workers to fill facilities and estates shifts, unless exempt under certain conditions. 

This means that rather than request an exemption, trusts can now use agency workers. They should inform NHSE/I of their plans and they will record this information. This can be done retrospectively, if required.  

NHSE/I recommend that staffing managers work with agencies appointed to NHSE/I approved frameworks, such as the Workforce Alliance’s Non-Clinical Temporary and Fixed Term Staff Framework (RM6160).

If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact your CCS customer or supplier lead or email info@crowncommercial.gov.uk.