Procurement of a Vendor Neutral
Temporary Staffing Solution
In 2006 a group of 14 local authorities in the East It is estimated that the combined spend of the initial
Midlands formed a collaborative partnership to procure group of authorities who elected to participate in the
a temporary staffing solution. contract is in the region of £4million per annum.
The authorities sought to minimise the effort and time To date, three authorities have implemented the new
involved in the procurement of temporary staff, whilst arrangements, with another seven to follow in June,
also maximising the potential service delivery options July and August 07. The remainder will follow
and cost savings by aggregating demand and thereafter. Early indications show direct (cashable)
introducing some common processes. The solution savings of between 5% – 7% of temporary staffing
also had to meet their diverse staffing requirements and spend being achieved. Indirect (non-cashable) savings
deliver service improvements and efficiency savings. of approximately 6% are also on target, delivering
combined savings of approximately 11% of total
ESPO was engaged to assist the authorities in the temporary staffing spend.
procurement process, with input and support provided
by the East Midlands Centre of Excellence. The
contract will support the Gershon agenda by
contributing towards a wide range of cashable and
non cashable efficiency savings.
This contract is open to other eligible UK public sector requirement at the same time and have equal chance
bodies and since the contract has gone live, there has to submit suitable candidates. The performance of the
been confirmed interest from a further six Authorities in agencies participating in this process will be closely
the Midlands. With increased participation this contract monitored and scored against pre-determined criteria
has the potential to generate millions of pounds of and after 3 months a tiered supplier list will develop.
efficiency savings nationally.
Subsequent temporary worker requirements will be
communicated tier by tier, with those suppliers placed
higher in the tiers being given the chance to fill the post
With the assistance of the EMCE the participating before it is communicated further down the supply
authorities appraised a range of service delivery chain. Agencies are incentivised to meet quality and
options. Choosing the right contract was essential if the cost criteria in order to protect their place in the tiers
partnership were to fully exploit potential service and secure the greatest opportunity to provide
improvements and efficiency savings. It was concluded temporary workers to the Council.
that a model based upon a Vendor Neutral approach
was most likely to deliver these benefits whilst ensuring
adequate geographic and skill set coverage.
Benefits to the Councils
Councils using the contract are expected to achieve
The Vendor Neutral Service Model the following benefits:
Cost savings (Cashable and Non Cashable)
In the context of a temporary staffing solution a Vendor
Improvements to the recruitment process,
Neutral managed service provider sits between the
including improved efficiency
Council and the agencies that it uses to manage its
temporary worker requirements, effectively providing a Improved compliance with legislative and policy
single point of contact for all hiring managers whatever requirements
their temporary worker need. The managed service Improved accuracy in the provision of management
provider is not only responsible for handling and information.
communicating temporary staffing requirements, but
also managing and reporting back on agency
performance. They will collect and analyse usage and
Lower agency worker rates and overall spend
Cashable savings will include the following:
spend data in order to provide management information
to the Council.
1. Improved supplier relationships leading to lower
Under the Vendor Neutral model of service delivery, the agency margins
managed service provider will not provide temporary 2. Regular benchmarking of rates by the managed
workers directly. Instead, suppliers (vendors) of service provider
temporary workers engage with the managed service 3. Standardisation and correct application of
provider to become an approved supplier to the overtime payments and statutory contributions
Council. Those meeting the managed service (such as NI, Working Time Directive) by the
providersʼ minimum standards in terms of business agencies
suitability will be able to compete equally against others 4. Clarity of terms, e.g. in respect of ʻtemp to
in the locality to supply temporary workers to Council permʼ fees which become standardised
departments, irrespective of their size or reputation. A reduction/elimination of unapproved spend by
hiring managers through the application of tighter
All existing suppliers of temporary staff to the councils controls and improved channels of communication.
were invited to participate in the new arrangements,
thereafter; all parties interested in supplying to the
Council will be referred directly to the managed service Key improvements to the recruitment process will
Improvements to the recruitment process
provider. The vendor neutral model encourages include:
participation by the local supply base including SMEs A single point of contact for the provision of all
and BMEs, and if required can interface with Job types of temporary worker
Centre Plus, therefore helping to support any
Availability of the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a
regeneration and sustainability initiatives that may exist.
week, 365 days a year
The managed service provider uses a web-based Streamlining of the ordering process through the
electronic system to communicate temporary staffing use of a web-based electronic tool - backed up with
requirements to the Councilʼs list of potential suppliers, a telephone ordering service
providing access to e-Procurement in line with Pre-screening of CVs to remove unsuitable
Communities and Local Government recommendations. candidates
All approved suppliers will receive notification of the
Improved supplier compliance with legislative and
Selecting a supplier
The managed service provider will work with the A voluntary OJEU notice inviting expressions of interest
Council and agencies to manage risk and liability issues from suitably experienced organisations was placed in
more effectively and pro-actively by: May 2006. 35 tenders were sent out to prospective
Ensuring that all agencies meet minimum bidders, with a total of 9 bids returned. A detailed and
requirements in terms of insurances and legislative thorough evaluation of the bids was completed by a
requirements panel comprising officers of 5 of the participating
Requiring agencies to sign up to contracts with the Councils and ESPO resulting in a shortlist of two
managed service provider that mirror the terms potential providers.
agreed with the Council.
Monitoring the agencies performance against Both firms were invited to make a presentation to the
panel and officers from the participating authorities. A
contract and Council policy requirements.
decision over the contract award was not forthcoming
Auditing the agencies compliance with contract and until a best and final offer process had been completed.
legislative requirements on both a scheduled and The final decision of the panel was to recommend the
ad-hoc basis award of the contract to Comensura on account of their
Preventing agencies and candidates that fail to bid meeting most closely with the requirements of the
meet requirements from supplying/ being placed specification, backed up by the firmʼs strong track
with the participating authority in future record of managing similar contracts for other Local
Monitoring and where necessary restricting the Authority clients.
longevity of temporary placements.
Improved accuracy in the provision of management
The Comensura Offer
information TThe service will operate on the basis of agencies
The managed service provider is responsible for invoicing Comensura for payment, and Comensura
compiling all management information relating to providing the Council with a single weekly invoice for all
temporary worker usage and agency performance. This temporary workers procured.
More intelligent and effective workforce planning Comensura will recover their costs partly by
through data and trend analysis transactional fee, fixed for the duration of the contract,
and partly by profit (gain) share. The gain share
Assistance with the calculation of savings for
element is to incentivise Comensura to negotiate
Gershon reporting reductions in margins from the supplying agencies on
Improved diversity and ethnicity monitoring behalf of the Council.
Assessment of contract performance in relation to
sustainability issues. This will work as follows:
Non – cashable savings will be delivered through Comensura will apply an agreed charge to all
the following: temporary worker bookings that they arrange on
A single point of contact for all temporary worker behalf of the Council.
requirements Comensura guarantee to save the Councils using
1. Less officer time spent on the telephone the contract a minimum of 2% on their current
sourcing agencies temporary worker spend.
2. Less officer time spent on the phone handling Should Comensura save more than 5% of current
ʻcold callsʼ from agencies. total annual temporary worker spend, savings over
The automation of the temporary worker ordering, that amount will be subject to a ʻgain shareʼ
time-sheeting and invoice process, including between Comensura and the Council.
1. The use of on-line ordering systems Any gain share due to Comensura will be paid at
2. Pre-screening of candidates by the system/ and the point of ordering a temporary worker (i.e. any
or the managed service provider gain share payment due to Comensura will be
3. A reduction in the use of paper timesheets added to the total charge payable for a temporary
4. The introduction of a single consolidated worker).
weekly invoice for the participating authority,
backed up by details of departmental spend A methodology has been agreed for calculating the
and other management information. baseline against which savings will be determined: In
5. Better informed decision making through simple terms, a data gathering exercise conducted
improved availability and accuracy of jointly by Comensura, the Council and existing
management information. suppliers will provide a picture of the current temporary
worker rates paid by the authority.
Comensura will analyse the current rates and calculate ESPO will maintain overall responsibility for the contract
the existing mark up paid by the Council for each skill and shall access all management information for the
set of temporary worker. This will include the agency purposes of managing the contract. Participating
margin, NI and Working Time Directive contributions Councils will be responsible for holding their own
(the rate of pay due to the temporary worker is regular contract reviews with the service provider and
excluded from the calculation of savings). managing locally any performance issues or
As part of the new contract, Comensura will work to
reduce the mark up for each skill set by negotiating Repeated instances of non-conformance or poor
better rates from the agencies, and ensuring the correct performance can be escalated to ESPO who will aim to
application of NI and WTD contributions. Their booking resolve such issues with the service provider on behalf
fee will be taken into account and included into the of the Council. The overall performance of the service
overall post-contract mark up. provider against contract requirements will form the
basis of an overarching contract review between ESPO,
The difference between the pre-contract mark up and the participating Councils and the service provider, to
the post-contract mark up will effectively become the be held annually.
For information on how to join the contract contact
Contract details and implementation requirements Lisa Tutt at ESPO.
The contract for the Vendor Neutral Temporary Staffing
Solution commenced on 1st January 2007, for an initial
Collaborative partners (to date):
3 year term, with the potential to extend the contract for Bassetlaw District Council
a further 2 years. Boston Borough Council
City of Lincoln Council (Implemented)
Those wishing to use the contract will be required to East Lindsey District Council
sign up to the terms of the contract which have been Erewash Borough Council
agreed as part of the procurement process. Harborough District Council
Lincolnshire County Council (Implemented)
Comensura can implement the system as required, with Mansfield District Council
processes based around local authority procurement Melton Borough Council
objectives, systems and culture. The average South Kesteven District Council
implementation process is estimated to take in the Newark and Sherwood District Council
region of 45 working days. As part of the process, East Northamptonshire Council
Comensura will assist with project management, Rutland County Council
business process integration, change management, West Lindsey District Council. (Implemented)
technology configuration and integration (including into
e-HR and e-procurement systems as well as financial
systems), and training for staff, staffing partners and
existing temporary workers.
L isa Tu t t
Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)
tel: 0116 265 7933
quoting: ESPO Contract 653LND
A n dr e w F o s t e r
Assistant Director (Procurement)
East Midlands Centre of Excellence
tel: 07921 491 698