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Some things you have a tendency to overlook when deciding to work for a framework & non-framework agencies


“From 19 October 2015, trusts subject to the agency spending rule will have to secure nursing agency staff via framework agreements that have been approved by Monitor and TDA.” (source – New rules to address agency staffing spend | NOE CPC)

A lot of times, when you try to compare framework to non-framework agencies, you tend to simplify the analysis – “How much does X agency pay?” and just pick the agency which offers more money.

To some degree, it’s not a bad logic, but, generally, once you get to scratch the surface, you might find some differences with greater impact than just the salary.

The differences can be split into:

  • Jobs don’t get cancelled as often – it looks simple enough: an agency posts a job, good salary, close to you, and the timing is perfect. You make plans, you buy train tickets, you prepare to work. A few hours later, you get a call informing you that the shift has been cancelled. This could happen to both framework and non-framework agencies, but generally, it happens less for framework agencies.
  • If a job gets cancelled, you have more options to choose from. OK, cancelling jobs happens to framework agencies, also (though to a smaller degree), but you have more options to pick from.
  • More jobs available – this looks like simple & straightforward, but there are some things you might not have considered about this:
  • You’ll get shifts faster than anyone else – framework agencies tend to be preferred, rather than non-framework agencies.
  • More shifts – you’ll also have more options to pick from.
  • More hospitals/locations to pick from – more jobs also translates into more diverse options for work.
  • Lines of work – when you compare work, you tend just to focus on daily shifts. But lines of work can truly turn the balance for framework agencies. In lines of work, a nurse could work between 1 week to 6 months (or more) in a certain shift, in a certain location. You get all the advantages of having a full-time job (constant work, not needing to change the place of work so often), and the pay advantage of having part-time jobs. Best of both worlds, most likely to happen with jobs from framework agencies (they’ll likely much rather be preferred for this kind of jobs).
  • The future is more certain for framework agencies – joining an agency takes time. The quickest time to join one, with all the documents prepared beforehand is generally around two weeks, but it can take up to three months for the process to complete. Framework agencies, in the future, will likely be more and more the preferred provider for nursing jobs (an article on the matter – Think your Job with an Off-Framework Agency is Secure? Hunt Set to Tackle Waste in NHS via measures on Expensive Staffing Agencies).
  • It’s harder to be approved, and, paradoxically, that’s good – in a framework agency, it will take longer to be approved for work. There will be more compliance factor to be considered, you’ll likely need more training. On the long term, though, you might find that your CV will look much more professional, you will look better to future employers. Also, for revalidation purposes, you will likely go through an easier process.

Disclosure: Nursing Personnel is a framework agency.

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