Recruiters should examine contracts they hold with the NHS to check if they allow the service to cut payments to agencies, experts have advised.
This week, Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, told the Health Select Committee that the NHS needed to end its use of framework temporary staffing and to reduce the amounts it paid for framework staffing with recruitment agencies.
Chris Tutton, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, told Recruiter that, while the NHS may look at changing rates when it came to renegotiating rates with framework recruiters in the future, existing framework agreements may already contain provisions that enable the NHS to vary the rate it pays to agencies.
“They [recruiters] should be checking their contracts for framework agreements they have signed up to see what pricing levels are fixed at and whether there are any mechanisms for adjusting prices for temporary labour,” he added.
Ian Makgill, managing director of Spend Network, a consultancy specialising in public sector procurement and contracts, agreed that there were occasions when prices could be changed after a contract has been entered into, but only if a contract explicitly allowed this.
He said: “If you are contracted to provide the service at this price for three, four or five years, then that is the price at which you are contracted.”
Makgill added that in most cases prices were not set at the framework stage but in the mini-competition phase, when individual NHS trusts asked a number of agencies to compete to deliver the service. “Prices will probably be finalised at the mini-competition phase,” he said.