As an agency nurse or locum healthcare professional, you may come across the term ‘framework’ on a regular basis. Frameworks are an important aspect of how many recruitment agencies operate and can affect the work you undertake and the amount of pay you receive. But what is a framework and how can frameworks benefit you as a temporary worker?
Frameworks for the supply of temporary staff were developed to provide a list of vetted and compliant agencies to the NHS. This process ensures a safe supply of staff who have been correctly audited by a framework body and provides assurances to NHS clients that agencies can supply staff of high quality and at a competitive price.
To be a ‘framework supplier’, agencies have to apply through a tender process and provide information about their organisation. Such information includes policies and procedures, an ability to supply the quality and quantity of candidates required and robust processes to meet the needs of framework customers.
There are a number of UK frameworks run by different organisations. These include:
Each framework operates its own set of compliance standards and auditing processes. These procedures are very similar, however, there are slight differences in the requirement of each framework.
Agencies are not restricted to the number of frameworks they can operate under.
There are also regional procurement hubs that operate their own preferred agency list from their chosen framework. This is essentially like a smaller framework operating under a much larger framework, with examples including London and the East of England.
For healthcare professionals, the main benefit of choosing an NHS framework agency, over a non-framework agency is that they are able to offer a larger volume and variety of jobs including lines of work with a much greater notice period. Temporary workers also have the security of working for a fully vetted agency and can operate with the knowledge that the agency cannot charge the NHS extortionate commission fees, as these are fixed by the framework.
For NHS clients, once a recruitment agency is placed on the framework they can expect:
NHS framework agencies are typically awarded preferred status (often called master vendor or tier one status) amongst NHS trusts. This typically means that the agency is given access to shifts before tier 2 or tier 3 and non-framework agencies.
We choose to be a framework supplier because it reassures our nurses, doctors and allied health professionals that we deliver high-quality services and enables us to build solid, long-lasting relationships. It also helps to guarantee a wide variety of work in numerous locations and specialties across the UK.
At Medacs Healthcare, we are proud to be the only agency to be part of every NHS framework across England, Scotland and Wales. This is a stance we have maintained since the inception of frameworks in 1998.
As a framework champion, we have strived to build a reputable framework locum agency that works hand in hand with NHS trusts and healthcare professionals alike to support them and their changing needs.
Learn more about how frameworks affect agency nursing pay rates, or check out our agency nurse and locum doctor finance series.
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