Education procurement framework

If you are on the framework and have a query about how it operates please contact the Crown Commercial Services directly.

REC members put questions to the CCS in autumn 2018. Please see the questions and the answers from CCS below.

Question

Answer

Take up

How many schools have downloaded the agency selection tool as evidence of uptake/How many schools have thus far signed to the CCS Education Framework?

Schools do not have to download the Agency Selection Tool.  The tool was sent to c19,000 schools when the framework went live. It has since been sent to an additional 2,800 schools following almost 800 requests for the tool from schools and MATs.

 

How many schools have so far used agencies through the framework?

Until we receive the first MI report, we are unable to gauge the full use of the framework.

 

On what evidence do you “anticipate the majority of schools will be using the CCS Framework”?

We are aware that the framework has generated significant interest from schools, and believe the framework fills a gap in the market for schools to use to recruit workers compliantly and cost-effectively.  Supported by the DfE and a full marketing campaign, the framework has been marketed to over 21,000 schools since go-live.

 

Feedback from schools

The schools we have spoken to say they like that we are on the framework but wish to work with us on the same terms as before. How do we respond?

The school can choose which terms they want to use, however, you must offer the framework terms first before offering any other terms.  Please contact the Supply Teacher inbox supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk with the names of any schools who are choosing to use alternative terms and their reasons why so that we can understand the buying behaviour further and use feedback to improve the deal.

 

Do we have to report information regarding any off framework booking or just information for schools who have booked on the framework previously?

If a school decides to book off framework after being informed by a supplier that they are on the framework and of the terms of supply with a framework supplier, agencies need to inform the CCS Supply Teachers Workforce Team via the Supply Teacher inbox (including the school's name and the reason they chose not to use the agreement) so that CCS can use the feedback to improve the framework.  On-framework spend is to be recorded on the MISO data submissions.

 

Schools are not interested, they want to stick to what they know, do we have to report this to CCS as part of the agreement on being on the framework?

 

It is important that this is reported so that CCS can use any feedback to improve the framework.

Rates

Can we offer the framework terms alongside the off framework terms at same time?

The school can choose which terms they want to use, however, you must offer the framework terms first before offering any other terms.

 

If you are a framework supplier do you have to offer these terms to a school at least in the first instance?

Yes, it is a requirement of the framework that suppliers make schools aware that they are on the framework and of the framework terms before offering any other terms. 

 

So are you saying we have to offer framework rates first even though it’s not mandated?

Yes, it is a requirement of the framework that suppliers make schools aware that they are on the framework and of the framework terms before offering any other terms.  The DfE has reserved the right to mandate the framework in future.

 

Does CCS and DfE have a target spend reduction per annum and is that a reduction in agency margin or day rates paid to teachers?

CCS and DfE have internal targets for savings delivered through the framework.  As teacher pay rates are not dictated by the framework, teacher pay is not included within any savings methodology. 

 

At what point can you change your pricing mark up on the framework?

The mark up submitted as part of the tender exercise is the maximum that may be charged.  You may formally reduce your mark up at any point; please contact the Supply Teacher inbox supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk so that we can reflect the reduced mark ups within the Agency Selection Tool. 

 

As per paragraph 3.1 of Framework Schedule 3 (Framework Prices) mark ups are fixed for the first two years.  This schedule outlines the process should you wish to adjust your rates after this initial period.

 

Office locations

Can we add additional office locations to the agency selection tool?

Yes, please advise CCS of any changes to your branch network, whether they be office openings or closures.

 

Is CCS aware you do not need to have an office location near a school to be able to supply a school?

Yes.  The terms of the agreement state that as part of the accreditation standards all suppliers on the deal must conduct face-to-face interviews and in person document checks on workers, in line with both statutory and policy guidance around pre-employment and safeguarding checks.  We specified that suppliers have physical branches to provide schools assurance that these checks have been conducted in a real environment, not a virtual one.  By using physical locations of offices, we can enable direct award to suppliers, whilst also supporting the localism agenda.

 

How will you educate schools on how to use tools so as not to exclude workers outside search location? Missing out on candidates?

Demonstrations of the Agency Selection tool have been provided to the School Engagement Team and Schools Buying Hubs and we will be running events with schools to fully explain how to use it.  Schools will be able to choose from a number of suppliers and increase the geographical scope of their search, which will provide a larger selection of agencies with available candidates.

 

Do you not feel that your promotion of localism as a barrier to access to jobs for people who use agencies not in the search radius of the school?

 

Schools may increase the distance of the search radius to include suppliers that may offer local workers.

Forms

“Worker Request Form” - what happens if school calls at 8.30 and books for the day but doesn’t complete form?

The completion of the Worker Request form by the school is not mandatory but can assist schools in communicating requirements to suppliers.  Schools can still use traditional methods of contact to book in with suppliers.  The completion of the Worker Compliance Checklist by the supplier is mandatory, however; you can amend the format but the content must be given to a school.

 

Does a school have to supply a Temporary Worker Request Form every time they have a requirement?

No.  The completion of the Worker Request form by the school is not mandatory but can assist schools in communicating requirements to suppliers.  Schools can still use traditional methods of contact to book in with suppliers.  The completion of the Worker Compliance Checklist by the supplier is mandatory, however; you can amend the format but the content must be given to a school.

 

How do you anticipate the “short order” form being implemented and used? The form isn’t particularly school or user friendly!

The short order form creates the contract between the school and the supplier, and only needs to be completed once when supplying for the first time. The short order form has been updated to make it easier to complete and is available to download from our website.

The Short Order Form may be completed by the supplier on behalf of the school and sent to the school for them to sign.

 

What forms do schools need to use to get maths teacher now? Opposed to call email as they do now

The short order form only needs to be completed once when supplying for the first time, to create the contract between a school and the supplier.  Schools can still use traditional methods and all contact details for suppliers are available on the Agency Selection Tool, so it is down to the school on how they want to communicate.

 

Compliance

Will CCS be auditing suppliers?

Yes.  CCS has the right to audit suppliers within the terms of Framework Agreement to ensure compliance.

 

Are all workers supplied by framework  required to be registered with DBS Update Service?

No.  If a worker is not registered with the DBS update service, a DBS check will need to be conducted by the supplier.  The specification will be updated to reflect this shortly.

 

Conduct Regulations require 2 references including one from last employer. Will CCS align reference requirements to this?

 

CCS requires references for the past two years of employment.

At present we get all our Applicants to sign a DBS agreement at point of recruitment is there a time frame of how often this should be updated.

 

All workers need to have confirmed they have either signed up to the DBS update service or have had a DBS check conducted within the last 12 months.

Policing

How will the CCS deal with agencies who incorrectly market the framework as a mandated service?

We are not aware of any agency marketing the framework as a mandated service.  We provide clear guidance to both customers and suppliers regarding use of the framework.

 

Will CCS police call-off practices. For example, where local authorities attempt to distort competition using ‘frameworks within frameworks’?

 

Yes.  We will provide support to customers to follow the correct call-off procedure.

Lot 2 & 3

Why have Lot 2 suppliers and mark-ups been included in the award tool when Lot 2 was stated as being by mini-competition only?

We needed a way to communicate to schools what the current pricing submissions from lot 2 suppliers were; we have told interested parties to contact CCS for advice and support on how to run a further competition.

 

As Lot 3 was intended to operate through mini-competition - how was it justified to proceed with an award to just one suitable supplier rather than to abandon?

 

We received one compliant bid for lot 3, and rather than leave schools without a Neutral Vendor option, decided to proceed to award to the one supplier, which is permissible under the Procurement Contract Regulations.

 

Operating off framework

Can a school opt to have certain workers supplied under framework whilst others are supplied off framework?

Yes, a school is not obligated to use the framework, however suppliers must inform the supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk inbox so that CCS can use the feedback to improve the framework.

 

Can we offer the framework terms alongside the off framework terms at same time?

The school can choose which terms they want to use, however, you must offer the framework terms first before offering any other terms.

 

What if the same teacher is more expensive through a framework agency than through a non framework agency...

Suppliers must offer framework terms before offering any other terms to schools.  It is for a school to decide which terms are more advantageous for them to use, as, for example, the temp-to-perm transfer in the framework may be particularly attractive for them to use.

 

Transfers

In a market where as an agency I am under increasing pressure to find quality candidates from a decreasing labour pool, why would I promote the free transfer?

DfE partnered with CCS to set up this agreement to provide a quality, value for money service to schools.  We are aware that schools have found temp-to-perm fees to be a barrier when looking to recruit supply teachers into permanent roles and ensuring stability for schools.  We do recognise the impact this would have on framework suppliers, so the 12 week minimum period (with at least 4 weeks notice) of temporary work allows suppliers to recover costs of recruiting and supplying that temporary teacher.  It is unknown how many schools and workers will want to utilise this option.

 

Can a temp to perm system be sustainable when a worker can work only a couple of hours a week and then be a free agent after 12 weeks?

It is unknown how many schools and workers will want to utilise this option.  We will monitor take up throughout the term of the framework to judge impact and inform future strategy.

 

Given limitations on TTP fees, how will CCS work with REC, DfE, suppliers etc. to prevent a rise in uptake of tax avoidance schemes through ‘agency hopping’?

 

CCS will investigate any claims of tax avoidance schemes being used.  For the sake of clarity, all workers provided through the agreement are subject to PAYE tax paid, whether that is directly through an agency, through an umbrella company, or as a limited company contractor inside IR35 paid via the Off Payroll Rules in the Public Sector.

 

General questions

How is the 1% management charge being spent/used?

The management charge is to enable CCS to cover costs associated with the running and award of the procurement, and ongoing stakeholder relationship, marketing, and contract management activities. This includes supplier and contract management at both school and DfE levels, reporting, and promotion at customer events.

 

Is there a % target adoption of the 19,000 schools?

CCS and DfE have internal targets that are not for external publication.

 

Is CCS uplift on full charge rate or margin only and with/without VAT?

The CCS levy is charged on the full billing rate before VAT is applied.

 

What is the likelihood that the framework will be mandated?

There are currently no plans to mandate the framework, however DfE reserves the right to mandate the framework via a policy decision.

 

When the first data is reported in November will you be sharing headline facts with the PSL? E.g how many schools used the framework in the first month.

 

As with all frameworks, we share as much data with our suppliers as we can while maintaining commercial confidentiality.

Have you considered that this could drive teacher pay down?

The question of teacher pay was reviewed both before the tender launch and during the clarification stages.  Teacher pay was intentionally kept out of the pricing submissions to allow them to be set locally in conjunction with the school, and down to supply and demand.

 

Will the CCS or DfE be providing tools to educate schools on their obligations as contracting authorities under the Public Contracts Regulations?

CCS has launched the framework with guidance for customers and will continue for the life of the framework promoting compliance with PCR through a variety of media, including webinars.

 

More statements than questions but feel free to respond if you want

Really disappointed by the lack of focus on the quality staff. My own children deserve the best teachers not necessarily the cheapest

We trust schools to recruit quality supply teachers that meet the high standards expected of the profession. Teacher pay was purposely kept out of scope of the agreement to enable schools to recruit quality staff at a cost they deem reasonable.  CCS has partnered with the DfE to create this framework and offer schools the option to view agency mark ups and select the best option for their needs. Suppliers on the deal must conduct consistent, rigorous background screening checks in line with statutory guidance such as Keeping Children Safe in Education, to support schools with discharging their statutory obligations around keeping children safe.

 

Schools want a personal relationship with their agency and don’t want another layer to go through to get cover. They also only want one cost for budget purposes.

The framework facilitates direct contact between schools and agencies and saves time in discussing commercial matters. One of the DfE objectives of the framework is that it does not impose additional work on schools. The short order form only needs to be completed once when supplying for the first time so traditional relationships may continue.

 

Public money, our money has been spent on this project. Why the lack of transparency?

This framework was set up after considerable consultation with schools, agencies and interested bodies. It has been clearly promoted and advertised transparently under OJEU regulations.  We expect the benefits to the public sector to be much higher than the costs of creating and managing the framework.

 

The use of “mark-up” could prove to be a very costly mistake to schools. Pay goes up, charge goes up, margin increases.

The use of mark ups was used to support transparency of charges through the agreement.  Schools are responsible for controlling / managing worker pay locally as they understand the specific variables that will drive the cost, such as worker experience, location, subject, responsibility, urgency of need, length of assignment etc.

 

This is not always the “greatest deal” for schools, more expensive candidates will cost a school more money due to the % margin

The mark up amount for a supplier is the maximum that may be charged.  Whilst there are a range of mark ups available under the deal, we trust schools to make a commercial decision that offers them value for money, and take up measures such as temp-to-perm transfer.

 

 

Back to top
Award winning services AEA award logoAssociation Excellence Awards 2017MemCom 2017 Awards