Important point: Currently there are no plans to mandate schools to use the CCS supply teachers framework. Schools will be able to secure supply teachers from wherever they wish, however the CCS and DfE will be actively promoting the benefits of the framework through an intensive communications and marketing strategy.
The CCS and DfE anticipate the benefits of using the framework will be sufficiently attractive to drive uptake from schools.
For schools that choose to use this agreement, only those suppliers that have successfully gone through the procurement process and been awarded a place on the framework will be permitted to supply.
The good news for Teachers and Auxiliary staff is that your pay will be out of the scope of the procurement. Statutory costs will be subject to a standardised calculation. The framework agreement will only focus on the agency’s commission element of the charge rate.
The good news for agencies signed up to the framework agreement is that you will not be restricted on worker pay and will therefore not lose workers to non-framework agencies due to pay rate negotiation. The CCS will not be defining a cap on worker pay.
Framework prices will be the maximum that may be charged under the agreement, and agencies must adhere to the fees/margin that they submit.
Another piece of good news is that the CCS anticipates that all positions supplied under this procurement will be inside IR35. Supplying agencies will be able to pay workers either via an umbrella company, via PAYE on their own payroll, or via a limited company inside IR35 (where NI and tax is paid before the remainder is sent to the limited company).
The CCS’s proposed approach will require successful suppliers to hold certification demonstrating appropriate recruitment standards for the education sector (a number of agencies already do demonstrate recruitment standards by holding the REC’s Quality Mark). If an agency is currently unaccredited they will need to investigate the ability to demonstrate these standards
with the relevant industry bodies to determine what is right for them. It takes an average of 3 months to gain certification. Suppliers will need to hold one of the approved certificated standards before being able to supply through the agreement, and certification will need to be maintained throughout the lifetime of the agreement. This will be subject to audit. The standards currently acceptable are the REC Audited Certificate, APSCo’s Compliance+, or Standards in Recruitment offering.
Agencies must make a commercial decision as to whether to bid for a place on the framework, however once the procurement exercise has been completed and suppliers appointed, there will be no opportunity for new suppliers to join the CCS supply teachers agreement. (RMTA finds this a little unfair as smaller agencies that perhaps haven’t the means or the funds currently to tender could be in a position to tender in the future). Non-framework agencies will however be able to supply through an approved managed service provider. RMTA is unsure as to what this actually means – an intermediary? Schools on the other hand will be able to join as a customer and use this framework at any point during its lifetime.
It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded for an initial period of 2 years, with 2 options to extend by a further 12 months, up to a maximum of 4 years.
It is not yet known how many suppliers will be awarded a place on the framework and no decisions have been taken as yet in respect of turnover thresholds for agency suppliers. This information will be confirmed in the OJEU Contract Notice and tender documents.
The CCS has confirmed that all suppliers, irrespective of size will be treated equally, and they recognise the significant delivery capability of SMEs in this sector. They will therefore be taking the “SME journey for bidding” into consideration at every step of development of the procurement exercise and are committed to SME inclusion and participation on the framework. Other CCS frameworks feature a large SME provision and it is anticipated that this one will follow suit.
RMTA has also been made aware that a number of agencies have been approached by Government Procurement Specialists (GPS) seeking to help agencies win a place on the framework agreement. This is a particularly difficult time for Supply Teaching Agencies and therefore Supply Teachers in general (scarcity of work, negotiated pay etc.) The government has made many cuts in funding from Early Years through to SEN provision that the Supply Teaching industry is not as buoyant as in previous years, therefore for an agency to front up the cost of a tender process through a GPS could run into the tens of thousands which is just not feasible for many. The other issue of course, is that agencies do not have the time or the skills in-house to deal with a government tender. The agencies we have contacted are purely focused on business retention & the winning of new business.
The CCS & DfE believe that the framework agreement is not just about achieving cost savings. The CCS states that the primary objectives of this framework agreement will be to:
- establish standardised model terms and conditions with a Code of Conduct;
- create a consistent approach to safeguarding and compliance across the sector;
- introduce transparency of cost to more effectively support schools’ control and management of supply teacher spend; and
- produce best practice guidance.
RMTA believes one of the most important points of this framework agreement for agencies is that it is NOT MANDATORY. Schools generally have a good relationship with their supply agencies & we believe will want to keep those existing relationships. So it’s not all doom and gloom!
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