Birmingham City Council (BCC) set out to revolutionise their children’s social care services by engaging with a recruitment partner to deliver quality agency staff, whilst also increasing retention rates and smoothing the transition of temporary staff into permanent roles.
The previous agency process was not designed to specifically engage children’s social workers and as such did not directly address the issues faced by the largest local authority in Europe. BCC wanted to address unfilled positions, too few quality candidates, diluted relationship management and the ability to respond to urgent and emerging priorities.
Engaging a master vendor
With financial and executive backing, BCC tendered for a master vendor partner to provide a more appropriate solution. The authority’s objectives included:
- Retention and recruitment of quality staff
- Reducing agency spend
- Control and visibility over temporary staffing and fill rates
- Centralised booking of agency staff
- To engage in a partnership with a specialist social care recruiter
After careful consideration, HCL were awarded the contract for the following reasons:
- Demonstrable track record with BCC
- In-depth understanding of the market (ten years experience)
- Innovative technological capabilities (including mobile application development)
- Common values (collaboration, excellence, innovation, integrity and sustainability)
- Training programme for all agency staff (including guest speakers from the sector)
- Industry leading compliance standards
Birmingham City Council recognises the important role agency workers play in maintaining staffing levels and thus supporting better outcomes for children in the community. HCL’s Social Care Service is a very good example of how to manage these staffing needs between a supplier and a local authority and we take part in our innovative partnership which is unique in the sector. HCL’s support has been excellent.
Yvette Waide, Assistant Director, Birmingham City Council Children’s Services Department
HCL managed the implementation of the contract capturing all processes. The team consisted of disciplines including project management, IT, customer services and recruitment operations, working hand in hand with BCC’s team. Our highly experienced team who were integral in ensuring the implementation process had minimal impact to existing children’s agency workers and as such minimal disruption to the ongoing service have implemented master vendor contracts for five similar clients within the last two years in addition to the 14 clients in the pipeline in 2016.
As a specialist provider of children’s social workers, HCL were fully equipped to support the council in meeting service transfer deadlines and ensure no reductions in service performance. Within six weeks of initial award HCL had fully integrated the Master Vendor solution into Birmingham City Council children’s services.
Despite this challenging timeframe, the HCL team has achieved the following results to date:
- 92% fill rates achieved on all vacancies
- Projected savings on agency spend in excess of £1.5m, over the course of the contract
- Dedicated HCL team of 30 working towards BCC requirements
- Agency compliance has been enforced by our technology solution
- Bespoke reporting tools provide the council with comprehensive management information on a monthly basis
- Implemented full automation of process from vacancy requisition through to consolidated invoicing
- Launched first of its kind, mobile application to improve staff engagement and retention
- Staff receive access to a comprehensive training schedule including guest speakers
- Initiated temporary to permanent transition programme