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11th Sep, 2022

Claire Seeley
Claire Seeley
Job Title
Business Development Executive

Since its formation in 2018, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has played an important role in helping the education sector improve quality and save money when procuring temporary and supply staff.

Within the education sector, the CCS framework continues to be of growing importance. Utilised by the Department for Education (DfE) to help shape policies around temporary workforce, the framework is backed for multi academy trust (MATS), local authorities (LAs) and schools to enhance their temporary, fixed-term teacher and non-teaching staff recruitment solutions.

But while plenty of schools are beginning to sign up to it, there is a stark contrast between signing up to the framework and actually getting the most out of it.

What is the CCS framework?

In education, the CCS framework is the only DfE-backed framework for temporary staff in schools, designed to be used by MATs, LAs and schools to procure and hire temporary staff.

This framework helps to provide greater transparency of costs to help control supply teacher spend in schools, as well as introduce consistent terms and conditions across the sector and establish a reliable approach to both safeguarding and compliance measures.

An updated framework was launched in July 2022, and the most notable difference is that schools are quoted a margin by suppliers for their services, rather than an hourly or daily charge rate that is fixed. This change has been welcomed by many – particularly in a candidate-short market – as it helps agencies pay a fair and competitive rate to candidates and gives schools the peace of mind that the cost to the supplier remains the same.

There are three lots in total included within the framework, with Reed being an established supplier on:

Lot 1: preferred supplier list (PSL)

Most commonly used by schools and trusts starting out their procurement journey with recruitment, PSL provides an approved list of agencies, giving more control over supply spend, compliance and enabling schools to build relationships with trusted partners.

Lot 2: managed services (MSP)

A more committed solution that provides a long-term partnership, MSP is best suited at trust or local authority level, or by individual schools with a significant need to bring in supply staff.

The supplier running the service will take ownership of all recruitment, giving schools a single point of contact. The supplier would then cascade requirements through a supply chain of qualified and relevant providers.

Within the new iteration of the CCS framework, this lot has been split into two parts (2.1 and 2.2). This is designed to facilitate the different needs of clients based upon the size of the requirement, and ultimately ensure that providers can deliver on the right service.

Having provided MAT and LA level services, Reed is delighted to be appointed on both parts of Lot 2, highlighting our continued commitment to being a fair, compliant and efficient recruitment agency.

Lessons from the preferred supplier list (lot 1)

I’ve been in education recruitment since 2012 and recently there has been a shift in the sector, particularly as academies have formed and MATs have expanded. Schools have new communities around them, and with that comes the opportunity to organise a single solution for the betterment of all schools when it comes to staffing and retention.

Having worked closely with schools and trusts using the CCS framework since it formed in 2018, we have learnt the following from the PSL lot:

It’s more productive when in partnership

Partnering with an agency to help with your recruitment needs can lead to better productivity. Having a firm grasp of the expected requirements can enable you to better plan your workforce and make sure that your agency relationship isn’t just transactional but adding value to your school community.

Once you’ve identified the desired outcome of your temporary recruitment needs, begin to explore what the providers can do to make your needs a reality.

It ensures full coverage

Some agencies are national, while others are more localised, meaning the approach will vary. Always make sure that you have the right coverage within your PSL.

Reed offers national coverage to our clients and will provide a breakdown of local offices and team members who can enhance your temporary solutions.

Lessons from managed service providers (lot 2)

If you are looking to make significant savings on your agency supply, there are plenty of lessons that our clients have learnt from MSP, most particularly the art of implementing a managed service solution.

Here are the following lessons we’ve learnt from being a vendor of the CCS lot 2:

Take the time to get it right

A manged service is a more complex recruitment solution and is excellent for those with higher needs for temporary staff. As such, you will be best suited to work closely with an agency to help you fully understand the service, how it benefits you and how you can begin to get the most out of it.

It’s a long-term plan

The MSP lot is a long-term investment, so be patient with it and you’ll reap the rewards soon enough.

Here at Reed, we’ve seen cost savings of up to 10% for our MSP clients. However, expect to build towards this in the second year of the service and onwards.

It’s a true partnership

MSP is a service that is built on trust, collaboration and understanding. When entering the agreement, make sure each party knows their roles and the desired outcome – you’ll need temporary recruitment solutions that are bespoke to your needs.

Our success at Reed, as a managed service provider in the sector, has come from working collaboratively with our clients and being seen effectively as an extension of their own team. Make sure that you work openly, honestly and with constructive feedback throughout, while focusing on always having an open line of communication.

The future of the framework

The way schools and MATs work with recruiters is changing, especially during the well-documented teacher shortage we are currently experiencing. School recruitment difficulties are now expanding to affect support staff roles, meaning working with a trusted and accredited supplier has never been more important.

It’s vital to consider that, within procurement regulations, any public body spending over £184,000 on a service over four years needs to procure that service compliantly. Make sure that you reflect upon your own agency usage, particularly if you are a MAT, as you may be closer to that line than first thought.

The CCS framework is now a proven, effective solution for schools, MATs and LAs. As it moves into an exciting next iteration, utilising it to its full potential will allow your school to benefit from a tailored, industry-specific solution for years to come.

What’s next?

Reed’s Education specialist business development team offer free consultations for our clients, including exploring PSL and MSP options through the CCS framework.

To have an open conversation regarding recruitment solutions through the CCS and with Reed, get in touch to find out more.