Agency workers and temporary staff in general are a widely used resource within the NHS and can play a vital role in helping NHS organisations to plan and manage fluctuations in demand, as well as covering for periods of short term workforce shortage.
Temporary staff and agency workers in particular can prove an expensive resource for the NHS and as a result trusts are looking at options to reduce their temporary staffing costs. To help you do this, the NHS Employers organisation developed resources to help employers reduce agency costs.
We have produced a series of how to guides to help employers manage specific aspects of agency usage as well as identifying five high impact actions which have helped NHS organisations to manage their temporary workforce. Our resources also include top tips and case studies from NHS organisations who have worked to reduce their agency spend.
Price caps and wage rates
NHS Improvement has published consolidated guidance on the procurement of agency staff. From 1 April 2016 all trusts in scope of the rules are required to:
- comply with a ceiling set for their total agency expenditure
- procure all agency staff at rates set at or below the price caps
- use approved frameworks to procure all agency staff.
Maximum hourly wage rates for agency workers will apply from 1 July 2016 and are set at a level similar to those of substantive staff.
Ambulance trusts and ambulance foundation trusts are required to comply with the expenditure ceiling and use approved framework agreements from 1 April 2016, and apply the price caps and maximum wage rates from 1 July 2016.
The price caps do not apply to substantive/permanent staff, bank staff or staff employed on a fixed-term contract.
Download the consolidated guidance which contains links to the list of approved frameworks agreements, and tables setting out the hourly price caps and wage rates for medics, dentists and Agenda for Change staff.
Further information on the agency rules can be found on the GOV.UK website.