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What is a ‘Framework Agency’?

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NHS

From the 19th October 2015 NHS trusts throughout the UK will be forced to secure agency staff, should they require it, via a pre-approved network of agencies – ‘Framework Agencies’. 

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Dubbed ‘Framework Agencies’, they have all subscribed to a framework agreement – a set of rules and guidelines set out by the government. You should seek advise from your agency to see if they have subscribed to the new guidance.

Agencies are being assessed to join the Framework on an individual basis by Monitor and the Trust Development Authority and membership to the framework will be constantly reviewed to ensure high standards and compliance to the criteria.

RELATED: HUNT ANNOUNCED END TO ‘RIP OFF’ AGENCY NURSES.

In 2014/15, NHS providers spent £3.3 billion on temporary staff the primary aim of the framework is to reduce this spend. Monitor / TDA have established maximum agency budgets for each individual trust. The secondary aim of the framework is to bring greater transparency and clearer rules forward in the use of agency or temporary staff.

You can view the new rules regarding the use of agency staff for NHS trusts but the most important points are as follows;

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  • Trusts must not exceed the maximum rates of pay which are published in their framework agreements.
  • Hourly price-caps are provisional and unpublished  they will remain under negotiation for the next few months and are expected to be formally set in April of 2016.
  • While maximum rates should not be exceeded, they equally do not have to be paid and trusts should use their resources wisely. Trusts are encouraged to negotiate the best deal they can.
  • Under exceptional circumstances trusts may use non-framework agencies but require prior approval from Monitor / TDA alongside evidence to support their request. They however must still stick to their maximum hourly rate of pay and the following information must be submitted; date, type of nurse, shift, reason for exceptional circumstance, price paid, name of agency and the name of the director who has submitted the request.
  • Trusts must stick to their annual agency spend budget.

It should be noted that these rules are not being enforced upon Foundation Trusts and trusts outside of NHS England – they remain in control of their budget / spend but they are encouraged to comply.

Below is a copy of the criteria set for framework agencies.

Framework Criteria

The rules for the use of agency staff are complex but have evolved under the framework to ensure a competitive market for NHS trusts. The overall aim of the changes is to provide a better standard of care at a better overall cost.

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NHS staff top list of those applying for payday loans

Nursing unions say years of cuts to NHS funding and pay restraint for NHS workers is to blame.

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NHS staff are among those most likely to rely on payday loans, suggests a study.

The payday loans study, which was commissioned by short-term credit broker CashLady, found that NHS staff were significantly more likely to apply for payday loans than workers at any other organisation.

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After NHS workers, supermarket workers at Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, followed by staff at McDonald’s, Morrisons, Royal Mail and finally the British Army.

StepChange, the debt charity, says that the loans, which charge interest of up to 1,325% per year, are not a debt solution and can make your financial situation worse – the charity advises the majority of people to avoid using such services.

Nursing unions say years of cuts to NHS funding and pay restraint for NHS workers is to blame.

Gerry O’Dywer, Employment Relations Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These figures reveal the financial pressure nursing staff are under. Years of pay cuts left them struggling to make ends meet.

“The health service cannot keep losing valuable highly-trained staff because they can’t afford to pay the bills each month. The proposed NHS Pay Deal would give NHS staff the largest pay rise in ten years – it will go some way in helping nursing staff and preventing nurses from leaving the profession.

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“The RCN’s own Lamplight Support Service also provides tailored financial advice and support for nursing staff.”

Sara Gorton, Unisons Head of Health, said; “No-one should be so desperate for money that they have no option but to go cap in hand to unscrupulous lenders, who offer quick and easy money at sky-high rates of interest that can take a lifetime to pay back.

“It’s a terrible state of affairs that NHS workers are so strapped for cash they don’t have enough money to get through the month, and have to go deep into debt trying. It shows how much harm years of government pay restraint has caused.”

NHS employers suffering with debt can contact their union or a national debt charity for advice and assistance.

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RCN starts balloting members over proposed pay deal

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has started to ask its members in England if the union should accept the first “significant pay rise” in 7 years.

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The Royal College of Nursing has started to balloting members over the proposed NHS pay deal.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has started to ask its members in England if the union should accept the first “significant pay rise” in 7 years.

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The negotiations, which concluded in March, came after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt scrapped the 1 percent cap on public sector pay rises following a campaign by the Royal College of Nursing.

All healthcare unions involved in the negotiations, with the exception of GMB, have recommended their members accept the pay deal. However, many have raised concerns over a further sub-inflation rise, changes to unsociable hours payments for ambulance and support staff, removal of agenda for change sick enhancements and changes to the incrementation system.


Can I vote? To be eligible to vote you must hold an active member of the Royal College of Nursing and work for an NHS hospital or community service in England.

Should I vote? Absolutely, a union is only as powerful as its membership. This is a democratic process that involves you and your future.

How should I vote? We cannot tell you how you should vote, you should weigh up your individual circumstances. You can take a look at the proposed Agenda for Change pay scales or use the pay calculator to find out the effect the rise would have on your salary. But, we encourage you to do your own research.

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How to vote: Eligible members will be contacted with an invitation to vote via email.

It says I’m not eligible: You need to contact the RCN Membership Team on 0345 7726 100.

How long do I have to vote? The online poll will run for six weeks – closing on Tuesday 5 June.


Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The serious amount of new money the Government put on the table is a credit to the nursing staff who turned up the heat on Ministers last year. Their strong campaigning meant negotiators could fend off all unpalatable demands to cut holidays or pay for unsocial hours.

“When there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone, voting yes to the best rise in a decade will go some way to making nursing an attractive career again.

“The deal is not a silver bullet to cure all ills nor can it rewrite history. But rejecting it would set back the fight for higher wages by eighteen months or longer and leave people worse off.”

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Rejecting the pay deal is ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’, says RCN Negotiator

“Critics who advocate an aggressive rejection of the deal without a credible alternative approach may be deluded about the effectiveness of such a ‘male’ approach. They are also unrealistic.”

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The Royal College of Nursing’s Chief Negotiator claims that members who wish to aggressively reject the proposed NHS pay deal are ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’.

Josie Irwin, the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) Chief Negotiator during the recent NHS pay discussions claims that members who wish to ‘aggressively reject’ the NHS pay deal are ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’ about the alternatives.

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The RCN worked alongside fourteen other healthcare unions, including Unison, to negotiate the proposed NHS pay deal with the Government – which members are set to vote on later this month.

With gender pay gaps in the headlines and nursing being a predominantly female profession, the NursingStandard article titled, ‘A ‘male’ style of negotiation would not have delivered a better pay deal‘, argues that an all-female team nor a more aggressive ”male’-style’ of negotiating would have changed the outcome of the negotiations and the deal is the ‘best possible’ in the current economic climate.

Whilst many agree the gender of the team is irrelevant, the style and context of negotiations are certainly paramount.

Ms Irwin admits in the article; “It is not the best they [members] hoped for, but they [members] understand it is probably the best they will get.”

Concluding the article with; “Critics who advocate an aggressive rejection of the deal without a credible alternative approach may be deluded about the effectiveness of such a ‘male’ approach. They are also unrealistic.”

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The RCN warns that if members reject the offer, it is likely that pay recommendations would be made by the NHS Pay Review Body and as the £4.2 billion of extra funding agreed by the Treasury would no longer be available, the offer could revert to the 1% of previous years.

Many, including its own members, have raised concerns over the sub-inflation deal and the union has been heavily criticised on social media for its pro-deal agenda.

A spokesperson for the RCN said: “We make no apology for defending this hard-won deal in very strong terms. Every single member of the RCN will see their pay rise by considerably more than in recent years and that should not be forgotten.”

You can view the proposed changes to the agenda for change pay scales.

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