In this case study we explain how a multi-academy trust improved the recruitment of temporary staff and made significant cost savings by working with a managed service provider.

Northern Education Trust is a multi-academy trust with 21 academies across the North East, Yorkshire and North West. 

They were using more than 50 different agencies across their 21 sites to recruit temporary staff. As Katie Spraggon, Procurement and Contracts Manager at Northern Education Trust explained:

The trust identified its agency and supply costs as an area with many inconsistencies, and where savings could be made. We were using a number of different companies that offered variable rates to both the candidate and the trust, without the required transparency in the academy sector.

Katie wanted to reduce the number of suppliers they were using to achieve cost and time savings, as well as ensure compliance with the Public Contract Regulations 2015. She also wanted to see if technology could help them improve the recruitment process and give them access to detailed management information on their agency spend. 

The benefits of a managed service provider

Katie realised that the managed service option of the CCS Supply Teachers and Temporary Staff in Educational Establishments framework could help the trust achieve their goals. Through the framework the trust appointed Affinity Workforce Solutions (AWS).

To ensure that the trust’s aims could be achieved there was a 3 month implementation period. The service was then launched to the 21 academies in January 2020. 

During this time, AWS and the trust worked together to proactively engage with internal stakeholders, so that each academy understood how the new managed service would work and the benefits it would bring. This helped lay the foundations for success. 

The time was also used to develop the supply chain. Existing suppliers that were important to the trust were invited to join. This meant academies could continue to use suppliers they had an existing relationship with, but with the added peace of mind that workers would be supplied at pre-agreed rates.

Consistent and transparent rates

AWS created a rate card specifically for the trust, setting out the pre-agreed pay rates. This ensured consistency and transparency across all agencies in the supply chain. 

Working closely with the trust, AWS also developed an online booking and invoicing system. All hiring managers were trained to use the system. The system means the trust’s hiring managers:

  • can book temporary workers and see their bookings filled in real time by the AWS account management team or partners within the supply chain
  • no longer need to make multiple phone calls to numerous agencies to fill a single vacancy, as the system automatically cascades vacancies to the supply chain
  • have access to an end to end online solution where bookings can be made, timesheets checked and approved, and invoices created and viewed 

The system can also be set up so users can view bookings and data for their individual site, multiple sites or clusters of academies.

Significant savings

The trust is now benefiting from an agreed worker pay structure with complete cost transparency, including agency mark-up. Standardised pay rates mean that all temporary workers are paid fairly for the work they carry out. What’s more, AWS has been able to increase the standardised pay rates for workers, whilst reducing agency mark-up and overall costs for the trust.  

As Katie confirmed:

Being outcomes focused and child centred we can now be confident that the framework provides the right quality of candidate to be student facing, whilst offering far more competitive rates, reducing spend and allowing for further investment in educational resources for our students. The framework offers the transparency required to satisfy audit and procurement requirements, whilst also offering the candidate fairer rates.

Here’s an example of the savings made on teaching assistant support staff:

daily charge rate worker pay supplier fee
before managed service agreement circa £140 up to £70 circa £60 (pay dependent)
under managed service agreement circa £99.58 up to £80 circa £20 (pay dependent)

The trust’s spend on temporary workers between January and March 2020 was £617,138. However, during the same time period in 2019 it was £730,427. That’s an impressive saving of £113,289 for the trust. 

No temp to perm fees

A number of temporary teaching and support staff have also been able to take up permanent roles, as a result of successful long term placements. And, because the framework’s standard terms and conditions include no temp to perm fees after 12 weeks in post, subject to 4 weeks’ notice, the trust has been able to make further savings for the trust by avoiding potentially costly transfer fees. This means precious budgets can be spent in areas that will truly enhance student learning. 

As Aiden Proudman a temporary teaching assistant at one of the trust’s academies said:

I had previously worked in another school through a different agency, however, AWS offered me the same type of role with a much higher wage and other additional benefits. With the help of AWS I’ve been able to support myself financially while gaining experience as a teacher. Not only did they help me find temporary work, but they also built the foundations for me to gain a full-time role at Northern Education Trust’s Freebrough Academy.

Reducing the administrative burden

The managed service doesn’t just mean cashable savings for the trust. The use of technology to streamline the recruitment process has also helped them reduce the administrative burden: 

before managed service agreement under managed service agreement
invoices Each agency would invoice each academy separately, resulting in up to 100 invoices a week for some academies. Invoices for all workers supplied by AWS and the supply chain are issued on a single invoice. 
timesheets Hiring managers needed to log into numerous different systems to approve timesheets.  Hiring managers only need to log into one system to approve all timesheets regardless of agency. 
management information  The trust and its academies had to create their own solution to collect data, often resulting in less detailed information that was difficult to navigate.  Detailed data all in one place giving full visibility of agency spend and greater opportunity for strategies to be put in place to reduce spend. 

As the contract matures, AWS will work with the trust to continually improve the service and identify ways to further streamline the recruitment process. 

Katie concludes:

We would recommend any trust consider a managed service – it offers support, transparency and very competitive rates.

Can we help you?

To find out more about how a managed service could help your school or trust with your temporary recruitment needs, why not book a free 1:1 session with our commercial team?

Simply email the team at supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk providing the following information:

  • school name
  • your name
  • email address
  • telephone number
  • details of any preferred dates and times for the session

We will get back to you to arrange a convenient time for the 1:1 session, as well as discuss the best virtual platform to host the meeting on.

You can also find out more about the framework by: