In November, the CCS is planning to publish a tender opportunity for a totally new national framework for provision of supply teachers. The CCS and DfE have conducted a pre-market engagement exercise which provides some useful insights into how they anticipate the framework will operate. Here are the key elements that we believe will be of interest to potential recruitment agency suppliers:
- Unlike similar frameworks for the NHS, there are no plans to mandate schools to use this 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.
- Worker pay will be out of the scope of the procurement and statutory costs will be subject to a standardised calculation. The framework will only focus on the agency commission element of the charge rate. This means that framework agencies will not be restricted on worker pay and will therefore not lose workers to non-framework agencies due to pay rates. Equally 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 suppliers must adhere to the fees/margin that they submit.
- 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. It is recommended that interested (but currently unaccredited) suppliers investigate 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. Non-framework agencies will however be able to supply through an approved managed service provider. 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.
- This exercise 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.
Full details on how to tender will be included within the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document once the Contract Notice is published in the OJEU (anticipated November 2017). The CCS Supply Teachers Contract Notice (which will be issued via Contracts Finder and Tenders Electronic Daily, and also available on the Supply Teachers webpage) will provide details on how to register interest via the eSourcing suite. There is a CCS Supply Teacher’s web page which provides the full Q&A document (from which this information was drawn), a range of other resources and the latest information on timescales relating to this procurement which can be found at: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/node/6895.
We are receiving a number of calls relating to the forthcoming CCS Supply Teachers Framework, and have several agencies who have already booked to use our services. If you’re interested in professional help and guidance with this tender, why not give us a call on 01688 400319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. We have limited resources so it’s a case of first come first served!