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Temporary and permanent recruitment


Health and care


  • Sourced eight candidates in one week

  • Reed is the National Probation Service’s agency of choice

  • Facilitated training for candidates

The challenge

Our health and care recruitment experts have worked with the National Probation Service to source ongoing support worker cover since November 2018.

The National Probation Service is a statutory criminal justice service, which supervises high-risk offenders released into the community. Their priority is to protect the public by the effective rehabilitation of the offenders. This includes tackling the causes of their behaviour and enabling them to turn their lives around. Support workers in this service must be resilient given that they are working with offenders who often have a violent past or are substance abusers.

In March 2019, we were approached by the client to find eight cover support workers in the North West, which later changed to two permanent positions and six temporary workers. They needed cover for 24 hour shifts over a week, across their four approved premises hostels. Reed’s specialist health and care consultants also had to supply medication and anti-ligature training to employees before cover could begin.

Phil Lawrenson, a Service Manager for the National Probation Service highlights how easy the process was: “I told Sam that we needed two full-time members of staff out of the eight she sourced for the area, to cover waking nights. We already had rates agreed, so the process was very easy. Sam asked what the key attributes were, when we would like them to start, and for a copy of the outstanding rota. She then said she would send CVs over straight away and would call me the following day to discuss. It was a quick and efficient service.”

Other agencies did not deliver the quality of candidates that Reed deliver. A completely different kettle of fish. We would not use another agency.

Phil Lawrenson

Service Manager at the National Probation Service

The solution

The National Probation Service asked us to find suitable candidates with previous hostel and conflict management experience due to the working environment, therefore the candidates put forward needed to meet these criteria.

When given the brief by the client, Samantha Hughes, Reed Business Manager, knew the importance of asking the right questions. She said, “I asked lots of questions to make sure that I knew exactly what the client was looking for. I then looked through our existing candidate database to see if any had the desired attributes. I arranged training for anti-ligature so that all candidates were at a high standard.

“Initially, I read the job description against each candidate CV. I interviewed and screened all the candidates myself to make sure they were the perfect fit for the unit and client.”

Pauline Murray was one of the successful candidates who is now working at the National Probation Service as a Support Worker. When talking about her experience of the process, she said: “I had only just been signed off but found work straight away. The consultant called me daily to offer shifts and updates with the probation role. She called me on my first day and has maintained contact since. Without a doubt I would use Reed again and would recommend them.”

With a flexible approach, our specialist consultant worked fast. She found the perfect candidates for the role even before the requirement was officially given. When asked about the timescale of this brief, Phil Lawrenson, a Service Manager for the National Probation Service said: “We had an additional need for an ongoing support worker cover position, with desired time frame of two weeks – but the process only took one week.”

All candidates were trained prior to the cover, so they were ready to go and start work immediately in shadowed shifts.

The results

Reed is now the National Probation Service’s recruiter of choice across the UK. In comparison to other recruitment agencies the service has worked with, the client Phil Lawrenson said: “They were nowhere near as professional. Other agencies did not deliver the quality of candidates that Reed deliver. A completely different kettle of fish. We would not use another agency.”

The positive, open relationship that has been fostered between us and the service means our expert consultant is able to fully understand their needs. This in turn allows us to take a hands-on approach when any cover is requested, and combined with excellent communication, find cover effectively and efficiently.

If you are looking for your next hire, contact one of our specialist health & care recruitment consultants today.