GHP October 2015

ghp October 2015 | 21 More importantly, the knowledge across the recruit- ment sector in ensuring agency workers are compliant with the required recruitment standards and that clinical workers are fit to practise is variable. The differences in the capability of individuals being supplied through agencies can be high. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as a high number workers from overseas, lack of focus during the recruitment process on assessing clinical skills and experience, lack of continuing professional devel- opment. All of these have an impact on the quality of care being provided. Typically risks are always associated with sourcing workers from a third party and the following reasons may go some way to demonstrate why an assurance programme is required to educate and promote compliance. Current demand for suitably qualified and experienced staff outstrips the number of workers available and competition across the recruitment sector to recruit workers is fierce. Pressures from clients to fill an assignment may force individuals to deliberately circumvent requirements, because: • timescales for recruiting agency workers can often be tight resulting in pressure to overlook some pre-employment screening measures; • income from agency work can be irregular, which can be a motive for financial gain; • an agency worker’s loyalty may not necessarily be to the employing organisation and their commit- ment to following recruitment standards may be diminished; • an agency worker may work for a number of competitor agencies; • assignments can be renewed or extended to the point where a contractor can work in an organisation for many years, often with little or no re-screening. What do agencies need to do? All parties involved in drafting policies and implement- ing procedures need to have an understanding of the NHS standards required. Embedding a culture of compliance where the rea- sons for performing NHS checks are fully understood and respected. Develop robust systems where recruiters cannot circumvent NHS employment check standards. Invest in supporting agency workers to access training and professional development opportunities and perform good quality appraisals. Work with framework managers to provide a sustaina- ble temporary staffing solutions. The perception that all agencies are the same within the NHS is strong. An agency that can demonstrate it is rigidly following the NHS standards will be held in higher regard than an agency that does not. Duncan Kennedy is director of Audit Ready which is a specialist advisory and training service for health- care recruitment companies across the UK. Duncan supports organisations to achieve compliance with the many employment checks required by their clients. regulation & policy