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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 14 December, 2015

Report of the Leader

Renewal of Agency Staff Contract

Purpose of the Report

  1. To obtain the consent of Cabinet to a short-term extension of the Council's existing agency contract pending conclusion of a tendering exercise as part of the National Procurement Service (NPS) All Wales Framework agreement and to seek approval to the selection of a new Agency Staff supplier by means of the All Wales Agency Framework Agreement.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet approve a three month extension to the existing agency contract with Randstad for a period from 31st January 2016 to 30th April 2016.
  2. That Cabinet approve the progression and conclusion of a further collaborative procurement arrangement in accordance with the NPS All Wales Framework Agency Agreement for the provision of agency staff.
  3. That Cabinet give delegated authority to the Head of Human Resources in consultation with the Leader, Head of Legal Services and Head of Finance to enter into an agreement with the successful supplier (following the conclusion of the procurement exercise covered in recommendation 2) and in relation to the supply of agency staff not within the scope of recommendation 4.
  4. That Cabinet give delegated authority to the Head of Human Resources in consultation with the Leader, Director of Social Services, Head of Legal Services and the Head of Finance to progress a mini competition tendering exercise for the procurement of a supplier for residential care home staff as a separate contract.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To allow sufficient time for a managed and detailed tendering approach to the renewal of the contract in accordance with the compliant National Procurement Service Framework and European Union and UK procurement requirements.
  2. To reflect Welsh Government collaboration expectations and to realise anticipated increased administrative efficiencies, cost and associated benefits through a collaborative procurement approach.
  3. As above.
  4. To ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to support services within residential care homes and fulfil our statutory obligations.

Background

  1. The current contract for the supply of agency staff was implemented in January 2014 following a mini competition between two providers. The tendering process was conducted under a Framework Agreement which was commissioned and administered by the former Welsh Purchasing Consortium.
  2. The Framework Agreement has since transferred to the control of the National Procurement Service (NPS) and has been recently retendered and awarded in compliance with EU and UK Procurement regulations.
  3. Members will be aware that in 2014 Randstad was successful in securing the contract with the Vale of Glamorgan and currently provides over 70% of our agency staff under a Master Vendor relationship.
  4. Under this arrangement Randstad is committed to supplying over 70% of their own staff and the remainder being filled by their tier suppliers (other agencies registered with Randstad). An alternative to the Master Vendor arrangement would have been a Neutral Vendor arrangement where the supplier has no directly employed staff and all the agency staff are sourced from the agencies list of tiered suppliers.
  5. The existing contract under the Framework Agreement with Randstad expires on the 31st January 2016 and in its place the NPS has, as indicated above undertaken a new procurement exercise on behalf of the Welsh Public Services for the provision of agency staff (excluding Schools - see paragraph 11).
  6. The outcome of the NPS procurement exercise is that six agencies, including the Council's existing supplier, have been identified as potential contenders for the provision of agency staff.
  7. The agencies who were successful as part of the NPS Agency Framework Agreement are Hays, Pertemps and Randstad which all fall in the category of Master Vendor and Comensura, Matrix and De Poel Management Services within the category of Neutral Vendor. These two categories are referred to as 'lots'.
  8. NPS shortlisted the recommended suppliers based on the criteria of Commercial (60%) and Technical (40%). As part of the progression of a mini competition exercise there is the requirement under the Framework to use the same criteria (with a variance of + or - 10%).
  9. Each of the agencies have been asked to tender for the provision of staffing under the following headings:

Professional;

Management;

Technical & Admin;

Social Care;

ICT;

Construction Trades & Operatives; and

Education Support Staff (this also includes Supply Teachers).

  1. There is a separate agreement under the NPS Framework Agreement for School Teaching Staff which has been awarded to New Directions as the only supplier. Individual schools have the ability to use this agreement and also retain the option to use alternative agencies.
  2. Currently the following Councils are engaged in a collaboration under the terms of the NPS Framework Agreement to procure the support of an organisation to assist with the supply of agency staff as follows :-

Pembroke;

Carmarthen;

Bridgend;

Newport;

Torfaen; and

Monmouth.

  1. The Vale of Glamorgan has been invited to join this collaboration to secure a new agency provider and to increase the potential for 'economies of scale' savings.
  2. If this report were approved and on the basis of current projections, any potential new contract would cover an initial two year period, which would take effect on 1st May 2016 and would run until 30th April 2018. There is also an option available to the Council to extend the contract for a further year up to 30th April 2019.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Throughout the duration of the current contract the main area of concern has been around the provision of Residential Care Home staff. However, across the Council there have been some other difficult to fill positions which have resulted in other agencies being used in line with the agreement.
  2. There are a number of options available to the Council to procure the service going forward. These are set out as follows:
  3. The Council can use the Framework Agreement to procure an agency provider based on both lots (i.e. the Master Vendor and Neutral Vendor models) of the Agreement and then using a mini competition approach to choose between the six providers.
  4. The Council can use the Framework Agreement to procure an agency provider (as above) but choosing, in advance a specific type of service provider (i.e. either the Master Vendor model or the Neutral Vendor model). In this scenario the mini competition would be conducted between the three suppliers within the chosen 'lot'.
  5. The Council can use the Framework Agreement (as per paragraph 17 above) but conduct the selection process on a collaborative basis with the Councils listed at paragraph 12 above and as facilitated by the National Procurement Service.
  6. In the event that the Vale of Glamorgan were to join the collaboration, the Council would retain the option of running a separate mini competition for any sensitive/specialist areas should the need arise.
  7. An alternative to proceeding as set out above would be to progress on the basis of a direct award which would incorporate a price comparison of the maximum rates for the categories of staff required. In order to make a direct award it would be necessary for the Council to evidence best value.
  8. The project group has considered the options above and consider the most appropriate approach would be to join the NPS led collaborative approach for most staff groups (as set out in paragraph 19) but to run a separate but concurrent mini competition for the supply of residential care home agency staff.
  9. The above approach would help ensure the Council can continue to demonstrate best value in relation to the supply of agency staff and with the possibility of securing additional 'economies of scale' savings as a result of pursuing the collaborative approach.
  10. The above approach would require consideration (in collaboration) of all six potential providers and in both lots (i.e. Master Vendor and Neutral Vendor). It is felt appropriate at this stage not to discount either option.
  11. The NPS recommended default option favours a mini competition of all agency providers successful in the Framework.
  12. The proposal to run a separate mini-competition for residential care home staff reflects the particular challenges and concerns in relation to securing such staff and the need for the Council to mitigate such concerns in any future arrangements. The exercise will, if approved be conducted using the NPS Agency Framework.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The annual spend on the provision of agency staff under the existing Agency contract was in excess of £4m (Feb 2014 - Feb 2015). The split between residential care staff and other agency staff is approximately 5%/95%.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council will be required to enter into a contractual user agreement in accordance with the NPS Framework agreement which sets out the Terms and Conditions against which individual orders will be placed for the provision of agency staff under the provisions of the new contract.
  2. In relation to the proposed extension of the contract, it is generally accepted that call off contracts may continue beyond the framework agreement to which they relate, particularly where the extension proposed is short. The contract with Randstad was procured under the terms of a Framework Agreement dated 1st February 2012 with Cardiff as the Lead Authority. That Framework was the subject of an OJEU notice and was procured on the basis that the Framework could be accessed by all Welsh Public Sector bodies.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There will be opportunities for SME's and Local Companies to engage with Randstad and any new Agency provider to supply temporary agency staff under the temporary extension and the new Agency contract.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The utilisation of this framework agreement will ensure the management of the Council's money efficiently and effectively in order to maximise its ability to achieve service aims and the service objective of providing sound financial management.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer:

A L Unsworth, Operational Manager

Officers Consulted

Head of Finance

Head of Adult Services

Operational Manager -Financial Services

Operational Manager - Procurement

Lawyer - Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director

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