Report of Director of HR and EDI
Rachael Morris, HR Business Lead (People), presented the report and stated the following:
· The council has been in a contract with a managed service provider for number of years in order to support the appropriate compliance and governance of agency spend and in order to source the appropriate periphery resource to bolster the core workforce in some of the council’s key services to ensure their delivery is maintained and sustainable.
· The council has been using Executive agencies and niche agencies for the engagement of senior interim workers and those requiring specialist skills, at an additional cost to the organisation over and above the managed service provider.
· The current managed service provider is not able to source agencies at this level of skill or expertise due to the contractual implications NCC previously put in place in the original tender.
· The council was in a significantly different place in 2018 when the most recent contract was awarded and it would be appropriate for us to increase the value of the contract to cover off this spend, and bring it into one place.
· The current contract expires in August 2022, and there is an option to extend for a short period while we procure a new contract.
· The contract would be for 5 years (on a 3+1+1 basis) at an approximate cost of £6,000,000 per year (£30,000,000 total).
In response to a comment from members, Ms Morris stated that the use of agency workers was only considered once HR and Heads of Service had discussed whether there were other options available.
(1) to grant authority to procure a managed service provider for the supply of agency workers for a period of 3+1+1 years with a value of up to £6,000,000 per annum (£30,000,000 total value over the contract lifespan);
(2) to delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Finance and Resources to award the contract to the successful provider;
(3) to grant authority to extend the current contract by up to three months from August 2022, up to a value of £750,000, in order for the tendering exercise to take place.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To approve a procurement process to commence in order for the council to gain best value through the supply of agency workers for critical roles across the council.
(2) An extension to the existing contract allows appropriate resource and time to procure the contract, with the current expiration due in August 2022. The extension will be under the terms of the current ESPO framework.
Other options considered
(1) Not renewing the contract and ceasing the usage of agency resource. This option is not recommended from a compliance and financial perspective. Agency resource should always be used as a last resort but there is always likely to be need for agency cover in some of our high risk and statutory services, and those services with recruitment & retention challenges. It is for this reason that a corporate contract should be in place to manage and monitor usage and spend across the organisation.
(2) Due to the challenges with sourcing agency workers, the executive interim market and the specialist skills set, we have recently had challenges through the current managed service provider contract. We have explored procuring via a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) but on the advice of procurement colleagues this option was discounted on the basis that this would produce challenges with governance and it would be unrealistic with current resources to manage these contracts.